In Your Face: Humour, Memory & Expression Exhibit
An eclectic exhibition with lino-cuts, photographs, watercolours and stoneware will open at The Art Association on Friday, July 28, with a reception from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. The Barry Spessler Jazz Duo will provide the music for the reception. Artists featured in the exhibition are Douglas A. Anderson of Lititz, Evelyn R. Burton of Harrisburg, Cathy Frey of Williamsport, John Guarnera of Duncannon, and Fred Scruton of Cranesville.
“Making art is my way of understanding, or at least trying to understand, the world around me,” states Douglas Anderson. He says that he gets his inspiration from the news, current events, walking through town and observing people, history, music and literature. He often takes themes that have been depicted in art throughout the centuries and then puts his own twist to those themes. Though he paints and draws, he uses linocuts as a means of expressing himself because of the direct nature of relief prints, and the immediacy of the graphic process. He likes the “simple directness” that linocuts produce.
Evelyn Burton asks, “Who can explain the mysteries of the conscious and subconscious mind?” As wake slips into sleep, she says, “experience becomes ephemeral, unexplainable. Images become sensations and memory becomes impermanent.” Burton explains that the solace of the darkroom allows her to experiment using basic drawing materials and traditional chemical photography. Darkroom photography is a completely hand-made process, unlike digital photography, and requires great patience and persistence. She goes on to say that each negative provides the opportunity to try variations of material and technique, and to take that image as far as the imagination allows.
Cathy Frey, who received her formal training at York Academy of Art and Antonelli Institute of Art and Photography, successfully learned the techniques of the Old Masters. She holds as her favourites Michelangelo, Renoir, Mucha and John Singer Sargent. Her own work covers a wide range of subject matter and genres, including allegorical and contemporary work. She describes her passion as “classic romantic figurative.” As a portrait painter, Frey chooses watercolours over oils for their “lasting value, faster completion and delivery time” for her clients. The luminous transparency of watercolour has kept her respectful of its unforgiving qualities, and she is proud to call herself a “watercolour purist.” All her paintings are completed without the aid of white paint, tapes, slow-drying media or masking fluids.
Ceramicist John Guarnera has a very lengthy, personal connection with clay, and thinks of his work as not being complete until after the final firing. He reminds us that “From fire comes life.” Each stage in the completion of a piece requires sensitivity to the clay, the surface, and the material in use at any particular moment. Guarnera feels that pieces have to do with aesthetics, rather than function. His clay pieces are expressionist, poetic, and ethereal rather than literal. He avers that ceramics is about “mark making, texture, surface and division of space.” His work explores the art of clay, with the simplest of forms, the bowl, a favourite canvas for a multitude of surface treatments. It is his intent to present work that appears “timeless.”
Embracing the “truth is stranger than fiction” tradition of street photography, Fred Scruton’s documentary project celebrates the expressive vitality of mostly self-taught artists working outside the mainstream of contemporary art. Shaped less by the influences of mass-media and the academy, their built-environments and artwork reflect the artists’ own lives, cultural histories and “inner musings.” His photographs combine artificial and natural lighting as well as weather and seasonal considerations in the tradition of the “heightened document.” Scruton, having cultivated long-term relationships with many of the artists, often makes yearly return visits and spends several days at one site. He says that some of the best picture ideas have come from the artists themselves, with specific photographs sometimes planned more than a year in advance.
This diverse exhibition will remain on view at the Art Association of Harrisburg, 21 N. Front St., through August 31. Call 717-236-1432 for more information or visit www.artassocofhbg.com.