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Craft Shaping Humanity At RAC

Jason Bly (click for larger version)
June 15, 2016
The Regional Arts Commission's (RAC) current exhibition, "The Craft of Art," curated by Nancy Newman Rice, presents six artists of varied expressions and aesthetic sensibility, all skilled in presenting their ideas.

No artist's statement is needed to find meaning in these works. Each communicates truths of humanity in visceral and intellectual expressions that reveal care in their content, composition and manner of execution.

The ideas that shape this exhibition contrast with recent show-me-the-money art. Consider Jeff Koons' balloon dog or Damien Hirst's shark preserved in formaldehyde. Art is not a narcissistic businessman's product of today's decadent times. A true artist is shaped by his or her humanity and often helps shape history — rather than being shaped by it. Authentic art comes from the hand of a creator, and is shaped by the eye of imagination.

Each of the artists in this exhibition combines the hand of creativity with an eye unbound by time.

Jason Bly

Skillfully collaging his collected images, gathered from newspapers and magazines of the 1950s and 60s, Jason Bly looks back through a gothic window to a nostalgic past, and forward to a comic book future.

One frame portrays the not-yet-world of astronauts floating in space, free from the pull of gravity. Another window views early mass media days of black and white television, where children in a school drill hide under their desks as protection from an atomic bomb.

Jerry Wilkerson (click for larger version)

Jerry Wilkerson

Jerry Wilkerson documented a lifetime of transient moments. Without the ever-present phone camera, he wryly captured a visual autobiography of his daily moments — a blackbird sitting on his hamburger lunch, and an open refrigerator filled with local brand names Prairie Farms, KMOX and Busch.

Wilkerson's icons of consumerism offer a close-up anthropological recording of mundane — yet handsome — graphic images and a wink from his twinkling eye.

Brigham Dimick (click for larger version)

Brigham Dimick

Brigham Dimick takes time fast-forward from Renaissance three-point perspective to multiple vanishing points. All aboard his spaceship for a look back to quieter multi-task free days — a time for reading a book while sitting on the limb of a tree — before staring at the glare of a digital screen was even imaginable. With transparencies, translucencies and acrylic paint over fine pencil drawings, the adept hand of the artist opens the viewer's eye to envision.

Jane Birdsall Lander (click for larger version)

Jane Birdsall Lander

Jane Birdsall Lander's sculptural works look back to the future and find rediscovered truths in past narratives, mythologies and symbols. A hand moves out into space, and within that hand, is an eye — as throughout art history, hand and eye appear together — evoking a creator, crafting what the mind's eye sees.

Jeremy Rebus (click for larger version)

Jeremy Rabus

Jeremy Rabus takes the chaos that multifaceted segments of time presents, and he combines those shapes of careening color into a whole – revealing his strength in composition, color, shape and design.

Ken Wood

Ken Wood (click for larger version)

Ken Wood halts the swirling shapes of time with color and texture, forming compositions of serenity.

As with all fine artists, these six demonstrate that having ideas is not enough. Craftsmanship, story-telling and technical skills are pivotal in expressing humanity. The eye and hand go together.

More video interviews with the curator can be found at the Saint Louisan.

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