Saturday, March 22, 2014


 Vance Wingate
Fleshy Gems #14 2012
graphite, acrylic and oil on mdf board
Member 1989-91 re-post of my article

500X celebrates their 35 years with a clean and concise curation of thirty past member artists. Over the years, past member celebrations and juried shows tended to be cram packed with art. Though this style of exhibiting art has its charm, I found this offering by 500X a very refreshing change.

The title of the show, Creative Differences, suggests that the works were quite distinct from one another, but I did see a few works tapping into similar sensibilities. Tom Orr and Paul Booker comes to mind. Paul Booker instantly captured my attention as you walk into the space. Classic Booker installation, but as always, beautiful and mesmerizing as the little pinned mylar climbs up the wall like a vine. I have always seen these pieces as a collection of drawings that happen to grow into an installation. Orr also creates an installation sculpture, but Orr’s work plays tricks on your eyes as you walk past the piece. Both artists play with transparency and layering to create engaging visual effects.

Booker, Orr, and Vance Wingate all employ minimal style in their work. Wingate had five 12 inch square paintings, each appropriately titled Fleshy Gems and a number. These paintings appear to be on the edge of still lifes and abstraction. The rock like objects in the composition take on a fleshy quality. I like the grouping in this show, but I can image each work would stand alone as a lone gem. Matthew Clark also offered a more standard minimal approach at first glance, but his lines go off script and the shapes don’t quite follow your standard geometric shapes.

Another riff from this style of clean ordered artwork was Diane Sikes and her boxed up chaos. The packages were fun little mixes of minimal and organic. Speeding Ticket by Simeen Farhet was also organic in nature, but her cool color palette and sharp carved lines made the work feel related to Booker’s installation. Farhet showed a small piece, displayed in a tough spot to show work in the gallery. Yet, it was the first object I was enticed to get a closer look.

Several artists in the show took on the minimalist approach, but in direct contrast, there were plenty of maximalist as well. Charlotte Smith filled her canvas with ever increasing growth of circles. Once you find yourself looking very close at each detail of her work, you have to tear yourself away in order not to get lost in the image. Greg Metz also piled on the objects to create sculpture on a surfboard and outrigging. Though the piece looks unbalanced and awkward, Metz is full on tongue-in-cheek with his composition while still sliding a bit of social commentary.

So many more worth mentioning, but you will just have to go see the show to find your favorite. This is the last weekend to see the artists I mentioned and Frances Bagley, Iris Bechtol, Christine Bisetto, Jim Burton, Michel Demanche, Celia Eberle, Thomas Feulmer, Randall Garrett, Susan kae Grant, Scott Hilton, Mary Iron Eyes, Dottie Love, Natalie Macellaio, Robert McAn, Nic Nicosia, Kerry Pacillio, Lesli Robertson, Tom Sale, Charlotte Smith, Don Taylor, John Taylor, Tiffany Wolf, and Anthony Wright. for more images.

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