2012-01-12 / Arts & Entertainment News

CONTEMPO

ArtCenter’s latest show offers a retrospective of recent works
BY SCOTT SIMMONS


Fish Eyez Series - Dolphin by AJ Brockman Fish Eyez Series - Dolphin by AJ Brockman THE LIGHTHOUSE ARTCENTER IS NORTHERN PALM BEACH County’s oldest cultural institution.

But new art is on the agenda for its current show, “Contempo.”

“I think each year we have some of the same artists coming back and doing new and different work,” says Katie Deits, executive director of the Tequesta museum and art school. “It challenges artists to push themselves and create new work. But we also have new artists coming from outside our area and learning about the ‘Contempo’ exhibition.”

“Contempo” features works created in the past two years in a variety of media.

“When we have the call to artists, it’s called ‘Pushing the limit on art.’” Ms. Deits says, adding that the museum looks for art “with an eye toward the unexpected.”


Girl in Rainy Window by Melinda Moore Girl in Rainy Window by Melinda Moore It is all part of the museum’s plan to extend its reach beyond a sleepy smalltown gallery.

“We really do want to have this so it’s more of a regional arts center and where artists can come and meet collectors and collectors can learn what’s on artists’ minds,” Ms. Deits says.

The ArtCenter has been big on career development, too, and is featuring workshops that highlight such basic skills as photographing artwork.

“They help artists be more professional and to make an income from their art,” she says.

And part of that is simply being seen in the best possible light.

“The way they enter competitions is all digital now and they just aren’t up to speed with how digital works,” Ms. Deits says.

One of those instructors has three works in the exhibition.

David Willison, a Tequesta artist, teaches that workshop on photographing artwork. He also creates mixedmedia pieces.


ABOVE: The U.S. Health Prayer System by David Wilison ABOVE: The U.S. Health Prayer System by David Wilison One piece is titled “The U.S. Health Prayer System.”

“It’s a pun for lack of a better word on U.S. healthcare system,” Mr. Willison says. “Our healthcare system is in really rotten shape and the political debate surrounding it hasn’t helped. A prayer may be your best bet. That’s the spirit of the piece.”

The spirit of the piece also involves incorporating a range of techniques.

“It’s a hybrid technique, with digital images in a collage technique,” he says. “The other two are really kind of combination processes that are sort of old and new. I find myself drawing on older techniques and newer technology.”

One artist who works solely in new technologies is AJ Brockman.


LEFT: DAD by Raymond Neubert LEFT: DAD by Raymond Neubert “I wanted to come up with something that would appeal to tropical South Florida... underwater scenes are so overdone (guilty myself) so I wanted to come up with something a little more unique,” he writes in an email.

How is that?

“They are all tropical fish you would find here in South Florida and they are all edible... I went about creating them in Photoshop a lot like a street artist would use a stencil and block and large areas of color,” he writes. “It is called the FishEyez series and they all have reflections of divers in their eyes — sort of the last moment before being photographed or caught.”

Mr. Brockman, who is in his early 20s, makes his living creating largeformat advertising signs for trucks and such. But his art is on a much more intimate scale.

“I love working big! That is one of the benefits of the digital format. I am able to create and my only limitation is how large of a printer is at my disposal. I have a lot of new stuff in the works that will be very big,” he writes. “I am also a big fan of unique mediums including acrylic (what the fish are printed on) and metal.”


ABOVE: Burano, Lack of Convention by Malcolm MacKenzie. RIGHT: Guardian by Karla Walter ABOVE: Burano, Lack of Convention by Malcolm MacKenzie. RIGHT: Guardian by Karla Walter If Mr. Brockman’s contributions to “Contempo” look to the sea, then Karla Walter’s work looks to the birds.

Ms. Walter’s ceramic crows captured attention this fall during a show at Palm Beach State College.

But her attraction to the birds came by accident.

“Someone asked me to make a crow teapot. I said, ‘Let me think about it,’” she says. “Whenever I took a walk with the dogs, the crows would start cawing at me. Then I saw the PBS special ‘Murder of Crows.’”


COURTESY IMAGES COURTESY IMAGES That show documented how the birds mate for life.

But it also showed “just how clever and smart they were. I just started reading about them and came away with the idea that they’re just like humans — probably smarter than humans,” she says.

Her crows are built from a press mold, and fired three times. She carves and paints and individual personalities emerge.

And, apropos of everything, one of the materials used in the birds’ feet is telephone wire.

“We see them on telephone poles on the golf course,” Ms. Walter says. And during a visit to her parents in California, she and her mother saw crows feasting on something unmentionable.

“There were two crows just chowing down on it. I just loved it — nature’s cleanup crew,” she says.

It is that range of media and viewpoints that excites the Art- Center’s Ms. Deits, but visitors won’t need to rush through the museum’s gallery space.

“We’ve left more space around the work than we normally do. We wanted it to be where each piece can be contemplated on its own,” she says.

That leaves room for works like O’Neal Bardin III’s installation.

“It’s a large drawing that is six feet high and it has another drawing on a piece of floating resin on top of the drawing,” she says.

It’s all about offering a forum for artists. So what excites Ms. Deits most about this show?

“I would say it’s the diversity in media and subject matter the artists are working in. There seems to be more drawing, and I think that’s a lot more in art now that you see more drawing and more emphasis on drawing, and not trying to imitate another style but coming through in their own voice.” ¦

>> What: “Contempo” and “ArtyBras” >> When: Through Feb. 11 >> Where: Lighthouse ArtCenter, Gallery Square North, 373 Tequesta Drive, Tequesta. >> Cost: $5; free for members and for children 12 and under. Free admission Saturdays. >> Contact: 746-3101

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