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Kaleidoscope 2012 chock full of prize-worthy art

11/29/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Roger Durbin

Kim Moore’s “Twilight, Silvercreek” is on view in Kaleidoscope 2012 at Summit Artspace.
Photo courtesy of Kim Moore
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Jurors Marina Mangubi and John Smolko, who selected and awarded prizes for the Alliance for the Visual Arts’ (AVA) Kaleidoscope 2012, which is on display at Summit Artspace through Dec. 31, had a rare opportunity. The 76 or so pieces that are on view had many among the collection that could vie for first through third place or honorable mentions. The exhibit was open to all current members of the four member organizations of AVA: Akron Society of Artists, Artists of Rubber City, Cuyahoga Valley Art Center and Women’s Art League, according to exhibit officials.

There were several paintings (oils, acrylics, oil and pencil, watercolors and the like), three-dimensional works (ceramics, found object assemblage, alabaster, clay, and, believe it or not, recycled bras), along with blown glass, glassworks, digital photography, fiber, various mixed media, collages, drawings and wood-fired stoneware. Quite an assemblage in and of itself, but the quality and layout of the exhibit make for an exciting and interesting venture for art lovers and the curious.

Among the mixed-work pieces was one by Shirley Ende-Saxe, who received honorable mention for her “The Coordinates Forgone.” She submitted one of her well-known stitch on paper (old newspaper or some other printed text). Her works are always intriguing, but for this show there seemed to be an additional element of the use of deep dark color (in this case shades of blue) that enriched her work. She could easily have moved into higher ranking.

Robert Carpenter’s assemblage pieces from found and purchased materials have been generating notice in juried shows. This time is no exception, for his “Pavilion for Storytelling (Lullabye)” is extremely eye catching. The piece is a take off of a proscenium for a metaphorical drama with an ironic twist. Small flying pigs embedded on the work suggest that artful fancy rather than serious narrative may win the day, much as the blowfish erected on top of the work undercuts ultimate seriousness. It’s a very inviting work to study. It would be nice to see a small show of only his corpus some day to have an extended look at his allegorical and imaginary worlds.

Clarissa Jakobsons’ “Portrait of Aphrodite” is, as the artist said during a conversation, “different faces of a person.” There are three images in different colors, which, the artist asked, “is the real person?” Three people were looking at the work at one time, and each chose differently for various reasons. The work is both evocative, appealing, brilliantly executed and provocative. It’s well worth a look.

Two other works in the exhibit call for attention — James Leslie’s “Put-Im Shore Drift” (a ceramic piece that looks, among other suggestions, like a squid, a shell and what not) and Linda Nye’s “Misty Green,” an impressionistic work in colors that give the piece its name, and one that exudes atmosphere. They call for special attention as well.

Aside from Ende-Saxe, there are three others and their works in the honorable mention category — Marita Bitians and her “Vibrations Under Glass” (photography), Carol Klingel’s “Watching the Shadows Dance” (acrylic) and Susan Mancini’s “Reprieve” (Aquamedia).

Third place overall was awarded to Kimberly Moore for her “Twilight Silvercreek,” a pastel work, with second place going to John Sokal and his mixed work “Crows in the Thicket.”

First place went to John Freiman and his mixed work “Anatomy,” a sculpted large piece of wood.

The public is invited to cast votes for a People’s Choice Award to be announced at First Night® Akron. Summit Artspace is open Thursdays from noon to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Parking is adjacent to the building. Admission is free.


Roger Durbin is professor emeritus of bibliography at The University of Akron and an avid art enthusiast. To contact him, email r.durbin@sbcglobal.net.

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