Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vignette @ C. Emerson FIne Arts Gallery

Gallery view, early opening night.
Lori Johns'  "Vignette"  show at her C. Emerson gallery is an ambitious undertaking, involving a dozen artists in various styles, media and narratives. Kim Anderson, Nancy Cervenka, Chalet Comelas, Rocky Grimes, Kyle Huges-Odgers, Daniel Mrgan, Austin Nelson,  Patricia Lois Nuss, Kim Radatz, John Revisky, Carrie Vail and Chris Valle.

Among other definitions, a vignette is a brief description.

Kyle Huges-Ogders, "A Fast Encounter"

Kyle Huges-Odgers is an artist from Perth, Australia, one equally at home doing street art in the form of large murals or paintings like "A Fast Encounter". He has a very contemporary style of the kind often seen in Juxtapoze magazine with hints of Futurism, based on personal narratives.

Here we can see a slightly creepy, bleary-eyed, unhappy-looking female figure with impossibly thin wrists and hands emerging or making her way through a conglomerate of geometric and abstract patterns populated mainly by isosceles triangles and a diamond-shaped grid with points (connections?) .  [Link]

Daniel Mrgan, "Headache"

 Daniel Mrgan, whose work has been reviewed here before, burns his images onto wood, and in this case, paints parts of them. [Disclosure time: I own one of his works]. "Headache" is from his "Sick Days" series, which had to do with his childhood ailments and the treatments he received back in Croatia, some from his Drs, others of the folk variety. This work focuses on the headache itself, something we've all experienced at one time or another.  [Link]

Chris Valle, "A Body for Everyone"

 In medieval times, painters often included complex stories from the Bible in one frame, like a comic book without the frames. "A Body for Everyone" is similar, except since we don't all know the narrative, one can start anywhere and make their own way (and sequence) around the work. The style is metaphorical for the flood of images we are bombarded with every day through electronic media, wherein the viewer is passive, and unless media-savvy and aware, largely walled off from what later becomes one's consciousness. 

 This work focuses on body image, the fashionable, gym-rat idealized bodies used to push insecurity, desire, and an endless parade of products to fix those delusionary designer deficits. Those idealized forms are integrated here from many sources, including many ads as can be seen in the detail at left.

Kim Anderson, "Fountain"

Kim Anderson's work is inspired and informed by decaying 8mm movie frames. They have a tension between their cinematic origins and painted forms. "Fountain" is one of those in-between moments that ends up in memory, yet remain mysterious and literally soft-focus to us. This is a fluid, transitional composition, the kind of non-spectacular or decisive moment that is often found in movie stills and sometimes in dreams. Decontextualized, this becomes a fictional narrative, but like so many things having to do with family, one most of us share. [Link]

Carrie Vail, "Dreams and Bones"

 I first ran into Carrie Vail and her work in November of 2010, and reviewed it here [Link]. Then I saw a strong painting by her, of silverware, at The Bricks. On the left is Ms. Vail with her work "Dreams and Bones". There's a lot of house forms in this, a repeating motif in several of her paintings, one that is about people, family, and foreclosures. In the narrow upper quadrant are several, larger hearts. There's a large letter, a "W" in a warm, stylized script. Definitely not the ex-president. To the right of it is a compass rose enclosed by a larger one, at the top of which is a fleur-du-lis, a symbol of the Royal House of France. It is a very personal narrative, which is not a puzzle for the viewer to figure out, but a work that keeps its secrets, and does so in plain view, generating energies as an object of contemplation.  [Link]

Kim Radatz, "Letters to My Lover (Bleeding Out)"

 Kim Radatz' "Letters to My Lover (Bleeding Out)" is a mixed media work consisting of thirteen handmade, individually-sized envelopes, some open, some sewed shut, in some, the brief "letters" are visible and can be read by the viewer. From the envelopes, blood-red string dangles in varying lengths. Ms. Radatz, as an artist, is acutely aware of the emotional, social, formal, etc. quanta of space and its boundaries. Whether in the form of houses, dresses, eggs, numbers, stones, envelopes and the seemingly ever-present strings dangling, she explores and works with the potentials of formal elements in her work thoroughly and incisively. Conceptually, there's more rapid development, variety and evolution of themes, most of which focus around women's issues.


On the left is one of the letters in which the message can be read. Note the elaborate stitching, how it becomes a sub-frame for the letter peeping out of the envelope. The narrative, in this case "Deep down the fire still lives", is everyone's narrative. Passion doesn't switch on and off to match situations. It lingers, sometimes bitter, others sweet, often bittersweet. The fragments, lacking in context, easily are recontextualized within the viewer. On the right we see a letter that is frantically stitched closed, one whose contents can't be read, but the way it guards its secrets, its vulnerability, tells us everything we need to know.

Nancy Cervenka, "Joe's Pilgrimage"

Nancy Cervenka's photograph, "Joe's Pilgrimage", is an enigmatic, mysterious work. A man sits on red rock, probably out West, in a comtemplative pose, while another figure, a doll in the foreground, clutches a cloth bag to its chest, with an intense look, as if on a secret mission or private ritual.

 Congratulations to all the artists and to CEFA owner and curator Lori Johns for a wonderful show wrapped around a fresh theme.

C.Emerson Fine Arts, 909 Central Avenue, through Sept. 3. 727.898.6068


  1. thanks for the post, Luis. I felt like I was there.

  2. You two are welcome. Kim, with your work on the wall, it felt like you were there in spirit.