A Variety of Palettes at ARTSpace537

by Carrie McGath

Can't Stop Won't Stop, Parker Gindele

The April 9 through May 8, 2010 show at ARTSpace537 in the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue in the Loop features a variety of palettes. There is work from drawing to photography, and a lot more in between. Media including vinyl and encaustic were used to create these truly whimsical pieces that filled this charming gallery.

The work, Nice View: Moscow, by Tom Walther is a definite highlight in its obsessive and captivating rendering using charcoal and chalk. The piece tells a snapshot tale of a sassy lady in her beach day best amid some sort of reconstruction in the scaffolding over a building while a diverse group of everyday people pass. The sassy lady in the foreground holds what appear to be 3-D glasses or a Viewfinder over her eyes; she looks straight through the viewer while a complex story takes place behind her. There is a quality here that time itself is blurred as it illustrates both a past and a present moment. This piece fits nicely into the show despite its difference from the other works. It is a lovingly created piece that keeps its eye on us.

The reverse paintings applied to vinyl by Parker Gindele are earthy and bright in their expression of natural elements. It is interesting to think about nature painted in reverse on a manmade, synthetic fabric like vinyl, lending not only to a texture in these beautiful pieces, but a dimension. The diptych, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop from 2009 is the first thing one sees upon entering the gallery. This piece makes such a visual statement in the admirable ease of its creation. It is elaborate, yet subtle as Gindele’s technique of the reverse painting on vinyl gives the work a sleepy quality that also packs a punch with color. In all of her pieces, the organic quality is captivating in its rawness.

New Day, Joyce Speechley

Joyce Speechley’s drawings at first appear to be photographs with their heightened realism and the intense attention to detail with her subjects. Her work continues the organic flow of the show with its poetic meditation on the nature that is her subject. In New Day the talented hand of the artist is exacting in its photo-realistic representation of water. Here we see reflections that would be very difficult to render with charcoal. The talent of Speechley allows her intent and vision to come out in her beautiful works. In terms of technique alone, I am transfixed, and then I am meditative as a participant in the wondrous world she has indelibly created.

In Brenda G. Thomas’ encaustic pieces, I immediately thought of the work of William Harnett and his trompe l’oeil paintings since her work also comes off of the wall, as if one can not only touch it, but pick it up. The dimension is what draws a viewer in, and many of the viewers in the gallery during the opening were drawn to her work. The encaustic painting is created using hot wax such as beeswax. Thomas adds still more texture and dimension in her use of fabric in her pieces. Make a Wish in particular has a trompe l’oeil quality feeling as though it can come to life. The title tempts the viewer to pick up the wishbone. This is a great example of work that in materials used seems simple, but the combination of the media — the paper, the wax, the fabric — make it immensely engaging and thorough as a work pondering an object.

Strolling, John Gratner

John Grantner’s photography is all about movement thanks to his digital technique of combining color channels. This technique creates new narratives from the original photographs. In playing with color and combinations of color, a true, organic motion results. Strolling is a highlight with Grantner’s work and exemplifies the notion of taking something as simple as a strolling form to another level with color play. Here, one form becomes multiple forms and a movement ensues in its color-punched beauty that grabs a viewer. All of his work deals with one subject that evolves into others through the medium of color. It is a fascinating notion to ponder: color giving not only motion to a figure, but an evolution to it, and Grantner’s work does just that.

This show is a must-see and this is a gallery I will be keeping an eye on for sure. This is a gallery that is democratic in its inclusion of so many artists in one show, giving the works themselves something to talk about; there is an intriguing dialogue happening between each piece in this show. The gallery asks for artists to submit and the shows result, another democratic and very admirable quality to ARTSpace537.

Please visit the ARTSpace537 gallery in the Fine Art Building at 410 South Michigan. Gallery hours are 2:00- 6:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, or call to make an appointment at 312-714-4714. Visit the gallery on the web at http://www.artspace537.com. This show continues till May 8, 2010.