Strong Exhibit, Durango Herald, April 27, 2007

Jeremy Moore won best of show in the 46th annual
Juried Student Exhibition at the Fort Lewis College Art
Gallery with “Similar Disparity.”

Fort Lewis College art students score hit after hit

I didn’t have high expectations for the juried student exhibition at Fort Lewis College gallery. Student work is often filled with imitation and mimicry, aspirations to be like a favorite artist.

A young artist’s craft is still developing; the aesthetic is only coming into tune. It can be miss after miss with the occasional hit.

Not the 46th annual Juried Student Exhibition. It scored hit after hit with only the occasional misstep.

The painting in this exhibition was strong and clearly inspired by Assistant Professor Kevin Bell. His work is often sparse, exploring tension in the mundane in-between places of the contemporary western American landscape. Bell explores what we have created, not what is necessarily beautiful.

Paintings by Keith Dale, Eirick White, Ami Dore, Krista Mickelson and Jeremy Moore seem influenced by Bell’s work. Dale’s oil paintings “19th Street” and “Arroyo” show images of hauntingly vacant-looking buildings, black asphalt painted with yellow stripes and mobile homes illuminated by a single streetlight.

White’s “The Decision” is a painting of the men’s room, a toilet on one side, a urinal on the other. Dore’s “Waiting Out Your Philistinism” features an oddly illuminated turquoise bucket chair suspended in strong, angular shadows. And Mickelson’s nicely crafted watercolor “Gurt se Dank,” which literally translates as “belt is thanks,” is a painting of a German billboard at a highway intersection with fluffy clouds in the background.

“Best of Show” went to Jeremy Moore for his acrylic-and-oil painting “Similar Disparity,” a painting of a red-headed girl sitting on the transformer box of a power pole at the same level as a raven who is perched on the line. The sky is tangerine and the girl is slouching, staring at the raven whose head is turned in her direction. They watch each other. Moore is a senior, and his work has narrative his drawing skills are strong.

Rebecca Barfoot’s painting style and technique stood out as unique. “Annie Swynnerton & Ellen von Unwerth: The Impasse Between Pleasure and Decadence” is a large oil-and-acrylic mixed-media work of an illuminated Victorian Swynnerton-esque figure surrounded by erotic von Unwerth images.

Strong ceramic and sculptural work appeared in the show. Jessica Davis’ animated and amorphous teapots were awarded the juror’s choice award. Lydon Wilkinson’s “Memories at Peace” is an interesting bowl filled with what appears to be a ceramic sea anemone. Too bad the bowl is cracked; it might have won more than an honorable mention. Wilkinson also won an honorable mention for his cement-and-chain creation, “Unchained Spirit.”

Colin Spear earned honorable mention for his slab-constructed ceramic vessel “Tipping Point,” a leaning house with its roof flapping open. And Joel Morgan won an honorable mention for his untitled sculpture of three wooden cubes made from twisted tree limbs.

Terry Gasdia should have won more than an honorable mention for his bas-relief sculpture in white Colorado Yule marble “Rain Dancers.” This sculpture of what appear to be Hopi rain dancers is a very fine work with lovingly carved details in the feathers, corn and beaded jewelry the dancers wear.

Juror Laurel Vogl has selected and awarded strong and inspiring work by students in a wide range of media. In fact, I believe this is the strongest student show at Fort Lewis this year.

artsjournalist@centurytel.net Leanne Goebel is a freelance writer specializing in the visual arts.

Contents copyright ©, the Durango Herald. All rights reserved.

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