Now that I've griped about top 1Now that I've griped about top 10, here are some great ArtPrize pieces to check out (Ed Riojas column)
Published: Thursday, October 06, 2011, 1:03 PM Updated: Thursday, October 06, 2011, 2:21 PM
After causing such a stir over the top 10 ArtPrize finalists, I thought it would be good to highlight several pieces that did not make it into the esteemed group. Some are hidden in plain sight, while others are off the beaten path. Each will add depth to the ArtPrize experience and are worth the trouble of seeking out during the event's waning days.
Kendall College of Art and Designhas two large installations worth noting. Monica Ponce de Leon's “Loose Fit” is an undulating sculpture constructed of PETG plastic that draws visitors into its translucent folds. “Have Sticks Will Travel,” by Jonathan Brilliant, is an amoebic form engulfing half a gallery in coffee stir sticks. Only after exploring the resulting shape can one fully appreciate the fact that the sticks are not glued together – they are woven on site and held in place by tension.
Another installation with a commanding presence is Mark Rumsey's “The Sky is Not Falling.” Folded paper forms cling to a chandelier-hung ceiling of the Women's City Club. I saw it when matronly women were nonchalantly dining below. The Gothic impression of nesting bats is at once elegant and unnerving.
Speaking of Gothic experiences, brave the freight elevator ride to the top floor of 50 Louis Street and check out the vaulted space of Open Concept Gallery. While the collection is a mixed bag, this year's offerings are a decided improvement and include Tom Post's portrait series, “Visionaries and Malcontents.”
Another hidden corner of ArtPrize-dom is Monroe Community Church, which has several pieces of merit but relatively few visitors. James Keul's “The Progress of Man” is an imposing oil seemingly ready-made for the walls of some ivory tower. On a smaller scale, “Precipice of Change,” by Lisa Higby LeFevre, is a monochromatic landscape executed in moody pastel. It is a refreshing example of photo realism pushed close to non-objectivism.
“Blue Skies,” by Tanner Wolfe, pushes photography into a new direction, using parallel, uncut, film transparencies in a linear image. The technical planning behind this small piece is mind-boggling. It is showing in the basement of the Women's City Club.
Photos by Rex Larsen | The Grand Rapids PressDeanna Dunn, and John Kaczorowski, of Kalamazoo, walk through a section of "Loose Fit, " created with PETG plastic by Monica Ponce de Leon, displayed at Kendall College of Art and Design, 17 Fountain Street NW.
There are several bronzes executed with skill, but I keep returning to a portion of the multi-faceted “Illegitimate,” by Timothy Cleary, showing at the G.R.A.M. The smallest, partial-torso of the grouping is the most interesting. Using Shang Dynasty motifs fused with figurative elements, the resulting effect is both ancient and futuristic.
Another intriguing piece is Leslie Bolyard's “Warden of Sorrow/Homage to Hieronymus Bosch,” showing at G.V.S.U.'s Pew Campus. Portions of it are exquisite, especially the marriage of hammered iron and cast stone amid Bosch-inspired surrealism.
Surrealism also plays heavily in “The Architect's Dream,” by Charles Pilkey. It is showing atCathedral Square. A meandering edifice clings to the edge of a sleeping head, flavoring the sculpture with diverse hints of Salvador Dali, Ernst Barlach and Olmec statuary.
Federal Square Building's “The Spot” hosts many pieces worth seeing. I keep returning to Rebecca Green's “It was a mystery to us.” The oil leans heavily toward illustration, but maintains a fine art edge often lacking in commercial disciplines. It is both child-like and sophisticated.
In a surprise move, Peter Sorrell's “Standing for what?” figurative oil has been switched from the chaotic confines of the B.O.B. to the Federal Square Building for safety and better viewing. Be sure to see this work of a modern European master.
“It's A Great Day, Depending On The Outcome,” by Matthew Maniscalco, is showing at the same venue. This large oil makes masterful use of intense warm and cool colors, and playfully incorporates figures and animals without getting sappy.
Beyond the ado surrounding this year's top 10, there is a wealth of talent and craftsmanship to be found within the boundaries of ArtPrize. If you are able to see even half of these great pieces, I guarantee the outcome WILL be a great day.
Ed Riojas is a Press artist and art critic. His own ArtPrize entry, “Owashtanong – The Grand River,” is showing at GreenLion Gallery, 150 E. Fulton Street.