Kara Rennert, Le Dresseur (foreground) & Le Cirque, ceramic, low fire glaze @ CFEVA‘s The Landscape Within.
The Landscape Within @ The Center for Emerging Visual Artists is a “spotlight exhibit” of art which transports the viewer to worlds within – alien landscapes, thought bubbles & dreamy reveries. The gallery space @ 15th & Locust encapsulates the work of three artists whose work is completely different (sculpture, painting & photography) yet communicates themes of desolation, introspection and confusion like TV channel surfing and somehow a narrative emerges by combining cartoons, war news and commercials. DoN enjoys being alone in the echoeing gallery absorbing the contents in quiet solitude but the art party Thursday evening drew a swell noisy crowd to celebrate the accomplishments of sculptress Kara Rennert, painter Sean O’Neil & photographer James B. Abbott.
Kara Rennert, Rat Princess #1, ceramic, low fire glaze.
Even though Kara Rennert‘s sculptures of mythic women seem to have Kara’s eyes she insists she finds inspiration for the female faces in magazines and online. Each sculpture is one of a kind and not made from molds, if Rennert tries to duplicate a favorite she finds that the new piece is somehow better than the first. DoN commented that the elongated fingers of the figures seem Medieval, Kara explained that the hands are simply more expressive when the fingers are unusually long and perhaps she’s unconsciously obsessed with the sense of touch.
Sean O’Neil, American Dream #2, acrylic on canvas.
Amie Potsic told DoN that when she saw Sean O’Neil‘s paintings she thought, “I wish I’d done that!” O’Neil’s large paintings combine All American memes: home-sweet-home, boys to men, war mongering and altered states. Even though Sean’s style is sort of super-flat, there is no irony or kawaii, in fact some of the paintings are scary. DoN‘s nephew has decided to join the army, he wishes the young man could see war through the eyes of an artist; there surely is glamor in donning a uniform and shooting high powered guns but his world is sure to be turned upside down. Sean shares studio space with cake artist Amy Stevens; DoN wonders if she leaves tasty treats for her studio mate and why he’s not as big as a house.
Sean O’Neil, Meet Your Master, Beautiful Boy & American Dream #2, acrylic on canvas.
James B. Abbott, Peaked Hills Dunes in Winter, toned silver gelatin print.
James B. Abbott is a long time habitue of 3rd Street in Old City but many of the mysterious images in The Landscape Within exhibit are the result of his Dune Shack Residency on Cape Cod. Imagine this: you are driven to a remote salt box shack on the curly peninsula with only well water to drink, an out-house, a few weeks supply of food and your old Graflex Polaroid camera with the goal of doing nothing but attempting to capture the denuded landscape. James told DoN that the extended daylight on the Cape allowed him to work mornings and evenings and nap in the afternoon. The panoramic combo compositions are so evocative of the wintry landscape DoN could almost hear the wicked wind but the single landscape shots with the vestiges of the polaroid negative process along the edges like Space Invaders are simultaneously abstract and editorial. Like many artist, Abbott made a living as a commercial photographer, bending to the whims of editors and clients but is now able to use that experience to produce his own product – great photographs.
James B. Abbott, Beach Forest Pond, Cape Cod National Seashore, toned gelatin silver prints @ CFEVA’s The Landscape Within.
Final thought – art isn’t just for adults. When DoN saw a kid running around he thought, “Uh-Oh!“, there goes Kara Rennert‘s doll-like figures perched on pedestals but it turns out little 5 year old Sophia is a big fan and as she left with mom, Nina, she hollered back to Kara, “I love you!“