The parking lot inspired creativity from the get-go at the reception for the 41st Juried Exhibition at the Lyndon House Arts Center on Thursday night. Visitors were trying to squeeze their cars anywhere they could, inventing parking spaces in their frenzy to make it to this beloved annual event.
Inside, attendees were well rewarded for their struggle, as the show delivers some fine work.
“Best show ever,” collector Valerie Aldridge proclaimed. She went on to describe the exhibit, which was curated by Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, as “challenging, diverse and atypical.”
About Reynolds, LHAC Program Supervisor Didi Dunphy said, “He gave us a different style of show. Not only did he give the works a great deal of consideration, as all jurors should do, he paired things, grouping things together.”
Dunphy also praised the diversity of the show. “From rag rugs to laser cutting, gold leaf to hyper realistic drawings, there is a great breadth of techniques and materials.”
ATHICA founder and former director Lizzie Zucker Saltz agreed. “I think the method of hanging in groupings suggested by the juror made a huge difference in the digestibility of a large show, and thus the enjoyment of the show.”
It was indeed a pleasurable show to view, in spite of its intimidating size.
A grouping of clean and minimal geometric works anchored one corner with their youthful energy. Merit Award winner Jennifer Kirkpatrick offered up three pieces whose delicate precision seemed manufactured of metal, belying their humble materials of masonite and house paint. Her “Leaning Grate” is a lesson in trompe l’oeil. It is also real eye candy, as are works by Tyler Wolff Leslie, Rusty Wallace, Taylor Shaw and Jon Vogt. Vogt’s “Untitled (Stripe Series 9),” a screen print collage, seems to glow from within and bagged the Arts Center Choice Award.
Upstairs, large-scale paintings by Ronald F. Jackson, Nathan Carlson, June Ball and others take a more sensuous and organic approach to abstraction. Jackson’s “Costa Rican Banyan,” comprised of four oils on canvas, shares a rich sense of warmth and life, as well as a painterly approach, with Evan Blackwell’s “Introspection.”
Photography abounds and isn’t just plunked together, but appears throughout the exhibit. One section progresses from a grouping of industrial-like scenes to far more abstract compositions redolent of the photograph work of minimalist painter Ellsworth Kelly. Don Keleman’s “Still Life with Coke” received an honorable mention and initially appears to be an abstract composition of pure lines and shapes. Eventually the circles emerge as trash can lids and the “subject,” an empty coke bottle, reveals itself.
Works by Merit Prize winning photographer Mo Costello are found among groupings of larger and more contemporary photographic works. They are narrative, telling us a story that isn’t obvious, but is compelling. From waiting black dogs holed up in an aging Lincoln to a naked mother holding her son afloat in a body of water, they make us wonder. Like many of the works in this year’s fine juried show, they are intriguing.
Lyndon House Arts Center’s 41st Juried Exhibition will be on view through May 7. For more information, go to athensclarkecounty.com/lyndonhouse. Program supervisor Didi Dunphy will lead a gallery talk on April 7 at 6 pm.
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