Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Washington University Graduate Program Open Studios

Science continues to report the latest news from the universe: A black hole emits a note 52 octaves below middle c, a star travels 162,000 miles a second. Every day we are tormented with new and incomprehensible details. I have a personal theory which I rely on to deal with the cognitive dissidence from such information. It is an extension of the flat earth society and I call it the "Null Point Universe". It states that if something is unbelievable, then, don't believe it.
I was reminded of this when I met Nick Hutchings at the Lewis Center. He told me his art is inspired by the science of quantum physics and he spent just a minute explaining. I tried to understand but found myself falling back to the safety of the null point. I am attracted to his work on a more basic level. "Nick Hutchings' current work is exploring the connections between the eternal and temporal utilizing the abstract analogies of the tent as a meeting place between them." I like abstract art but feel it richer when there is something identifiable within it. Nick presented a study of nine small paintings, a series, oil on paper, each quite lovely. The subject matter was a tent and each progression in the series abstracted the last. Nick found the midpoint of the series to be most interesting. I agreed. To finish, several larger works were done using this midpoint as a basis.
"Kelda Martensen is a print and book artist whose works on paper address cultural memory and natural wonder through use of architecture, landscape and domestic space." Interestingly enough, her work is inspired by the unknown. "True experience and unexplainable events are my starting off point." She has gained substance through travel and poured it into her work. "Escape from Cape Town" 58 x 145 inches, is a paired set of prints. Collagraph, digital print, monotype, woodblock, collage, graphite drawing. The strong graphic composition is nuanced by subtle use of color. There is one section of collage with particular interest. It is a photoimage of a row of buildings. Somewhat faded, the coloring of each building is a different, soft pastel. Alone, it is very different from the rest but yet fits in so well.
This open studios event for the graduate program is one of the best in town. Some of the artist here will set root and effect the direction of art in Saint Louis for generations to come. I saw a nice painting by Anne Lindberg leaving with new owners and there was many affordable prints for sale. Not to be missed.


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