Beyond the Parochial, at Featherstone
The current show at the Featherstone Center for the Arts brings together inventive abstract art and images in an impressive display that departs from paintings of Island sheep and sailboats. The exhibit, curated by Richard Limber and Nancy Kingsley, is entitled "Something Else Again: Beyond the Parochial."
Mr. Limber says that he and Ms. Kingsley have co-curated this show for three of the past four years. In the past, the show was called "Far Out Art," but earlier this year its name was changed. Each of the curators invited a number of artists to join the show, the remainder of the show's 22 artists submitting their work.
Mr. Limber is happy with the way the show came together. All the artists made their own selection of work. Because most brought smaller pieces, there was enough room to avoid over-crowding the walls and allow the displays a more spacious feeling. Most of the artists contributed only one or two pieces, so that no one voice or style dominates.
Although the show's visual imagery is far-flung, local landscapes still find their place. Just inside the door hang a pair of provocative black-and-white photos by Nicole Mercier. In one of them, a close-up, a young woman lies face down in shallow water, while in the other, a hand and a foot dangle in the same water. "Those pictures are underneath the culvert in Herring Creek," Mr. Limber explains. He says that he asked Ms. Mercier to participate in the show because of her original approach to landscape photography.
The show's imagery reaches beyond the Island. Bob Kimberly contributed photos and video montages of New York City. The video montages are part of a multi-media show which Mr. Limber says was planned for the exhibit's opening, but which couldn't be shown because of the weather that night. Instead, the videos play on a small-screen TV in the back corner of the exhibit.
Reaching further afield, Brian Jolley contributed two colorful collages of images from India, one of matchbooks, the other of photographs.
"I found one matchbox and was fascinated by its lack of commercialism," he says. "It didn't say Ray's Tires or Cafe Moxie - it just had a picture of a raven. Then I found all the others - Onion, Bike, Rocket, etc. - never anything commercial. I couldn't figure out how to present these, and didn't just want a bowl of them or stack of them laying around. So, living in Chennai (formerly Madras), India, I sewed them into what I called tapestries."
His other piece, entitled "Kalakshetra Laundry," grew from there. "The matchbox pieces led to the idea to sew my negatives together," Mr. Jolley says. "So I shot four formats of film and sewed them together as well. What you see there is a silver gelatin contact print, done in the darkroom. The images were from a laundry that was walking distance from our apartment."
A few steps further along the wall hangs one of Mr. Limber's own works, a dramatic pastel depiction of the front page of The Wall Street Journal featuring an image of a woman on the street in Iran. "I don't normally read The Wall Street Journal," he explains, "but that woman is an iconic image of the street protests in Iran."
Other pieces reach into history. Marshall Pratt contributed a set of photography block prints entitled "The American Crisis." Variously modified images of a man in old western garb are set alongside and behind a newspaper article from the same era. Keri McLeod's book collage, "Transcendent," is set on art deco pages with a romantic image in blue across the binding from a string of shells and an insect wing.
Mr. Limber chose Timothy Maley as a participant in the show after seeing one of his sculptures at a friend's house and hearing him on the radio. "I heard him talking on WCAI about finding things at the dump," says Mr. Limber. Mr. Maley's piece, "Goddess of Gossip," is a three-dimensional collage of found materials. "I made it from the front piece of an Electrolux vacuum cleaner which I bought at a yard sale for 25 cents," he says. "The lady couldn't understand what I wanted it for because the vacuum cleaner didn't work. I put it on a Japanese tea serving tray, and put on some costume jewelry and fake hair, then a tongue was a rubber body part from a kid's costume catalog."
The collages and photographs sit among abstract paintings in various palates and styles. Most of the abstact work in the exhibit, including a few small sculptures, is painted in bright and pastel colors, contributing to the liveliness of the show.
"Something Else Again," offers an escape from the mundane in a cross-section of art that spans the globe, both visually and conceptually.
The gallery at Featherstone Center for the Arts is open daily from 12 noon-4 pm. Something Else Again will be on display until November 18.