This year I’ve decided to work harder at networking and getting out and about in the local arts scene. Since I’ve been working every First Friday at the PA Guild Gallery in Lancaster, I was using that as an excuse not to go out, after all I can’t go out on First Fridays if I’m working them.
So last week I went to the opening of the Franklin & Marshall Faculty Exhibition. It was a little bit different going seeing the work of professors who teach art at a school known for producing diplomats and politicians. Far from being art with social commentary, however, it was full of traditional works. There was even an icon painter and a Dutch master type memento mori still life by Michael Clapper (which I loved.)
The other pieces that I was drawn to in this exhibition was the large scale drawing/mixed media piece, Cambodia, by Linda Cunningham; the two scrap yard paintings by Kevin Brady (it was the snow and texture that drew me in); and the photos by Richard Kent that reminded me of the subjects I used to photograph – dilapidated man made structures in nature. I was also interested in the idea of the coffee grounds paintings, but I didn’t really like the juxtaposition of the geometric and brightly colored forms with the gritty brown.
The other exhibition I visited was at the Lancaster campus of HACC. This featured sci-fi illustrations and astronomical landscapes by Mitchell Davidson Bentley. All of his work is produced digitally and it was interesting to hear him speak about how the programs work. What I found most interesting though was his discussion of his journey and how he pursued a humanities degree rather than a fine arts degree. He talked about how he became interested in this particular subject matter and how people have had science fiction stories throughout time. He mentioned the ancient Greeks having stories of visiting the moon and fighting spider people and how the stories of the constellations became the stories of the gods.
I liked the astronomical landscapes more than the book and magazine covers, mostly because I’m not drawn to scantily clad women, but that is the industry standard. I also am not sold on computer rendered humans, but the landscapes were really wonderful and imaginative. I do think that it’s interesting to hear artists (or musicians, or authors) speak about their process and motivations even if you aren’t necessarily drawn to their particular style or subject matter. It’s always good to expose yourself to new ideas.