Contemporary art fans sure to enjoy Blackhawk Gallery exhibits
By Lou Fancher
No matter how agile thumbs and fingers become on mobile devices, whole-hand activity will never disappear. Nor will the human desire to make tangible things.
Thank goodness, in other words, for visual art, especially art that extends beyond classical drawing, painting and sculpture to include textile and fiber art, ceramics, pottery, jewelry-making, 3D collage, mosaics and mixed-media sculpture.
Better than therapy — and simultaneously therapeutic — art represents the best in human beings: creativity, courage, curiosity, humor, hopefulness, awe and political stances and free speech delivered through nonviolent means.
That’s why the exhibits that rotate every 10 weeks at the Alamo Danville Artists’ Society’s Blackhawk Gallery, a nonprofit co-op, are valuable. The work of more than 40 members and special invited guest artists offers broad range and upholds diversity in approach, price, artistic background and degree of experimentation.
“Perspectives,” the exhibit through Nov. 26, is curated (as are most of the exhibits) by Debby Koonce, Kerima Swain and Beverly C Turner. Guest artist Roy Atman’s lifelong interest in 3D-making led to a career as a landscape architect and what he calls in exhibit notes, “sculptural aspirations.” Atman’s artistic ambitions have at various times resulted in jewelry, abstract sculptures made with recycled materials, ceramics fashioned into pop culture representations such as his “Big Burger,” “Eskimo Pie” or “Two House Boat.”
Swain said the work that most often excites consumers of art at the gallery is person-dependent. “(It’s) something that speaks to a person or touches the person’s heart and soul deeply or is visually pleasing or stimulating,” she said.
Art with expert, new or unique technique, style, or a political statement also often attracts attention. Marty Jonas, the guest artist featured in “Luminosity,” the show opening Dec. 2, brings tactile talent to a portfolio that includes woven or felted wall art and sculpture; hand and machine embroidery; molecular- or outer-space-like 3D pieces that incorporate metal, glass and fiber; whimsical crocheted balls, boxes and animal-shaped bowling pins; a stunning collection of figures constructed starting with wire or unbelievably from a spool of thread that Jonas wraps, pleats and weaves with added cloth into human forms. A selection of her bold and equally sensitive work is presented with art by a selection of the gallery’s members.
Artists make work in part to leave their mark or establish a legacy. But they also write, dance, sing, act or create visual art to earn a living.
“It is so important these days to provide a broad spectrum because art lovers and collectors are savvy,” said ADAS member Claudette McDermott. “Our economy has been hard-hit over the years. Art galleries’ sales are still trying to recover. We have to work to keep the interest of every client that walks through that door. The Blackhawk Gallery tries to have something for everybody.”
It helps that exhibits often open with free receptions — Luminosity’s is Dec. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. — and include wine and hors d’oeuvre with opportunities to meet the artists. McDermott said exhibits are as much for entertainment as anything else.
“No matter what, (people) know they will have a good experience, gain knowledge or just have a lovely day,” she said.