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Worth the climb: Upstairs exhibits at CAC not to be missed

By KATE SNYDER 

Community Arts Center

Visitors to the Arts Center should always venture to the second floor. The marble stairs can be a bit intimidating, but it’s well worth the effort to explore the upstairs galleries.

The Farmers National Bank Gallery on the second floor currently features artwork by four artists from Louisville. While the downstairs exhibit — ReInterpret: Contemporary Landscapes by Billy Hertz — features vivid aerial landscapes, the upstairs exhibit presents an eclectic collection of mixed media contemporary artwork, including paintings, assemblage and ceramic works.

The four artists featured in the upstairs gallery are all represented by Galerie Hertz in Louisville.

Kayla Bischoff is a contemporary painter, whose artwork is characterized by surreal arrays of whimsical figures, often distorted to semi-abstraction with psychological undertones.

Bischoff says “Initially, my paintings appear light-hearted; by overlapping and cluttering the surface with detailed disorder, I invite the viewer to peer closer as the abstracted figures within experience some inner trepidation.”  

Looking at these works, the viewer gets a sense of being in a crowd and experiences all the dynamics that come along with it.  As with most great art, different viewers will see different things. Extroverts are likely to see a party, while introverts may see an overwhelming mass of emotions.

Lisa Simon is a painter and ceramics artist. Her ceramic work in the show reflects her desire to depict contrast and interaction between disparate elements.

Lisa Simon

“As a mother, my studio practice has had to adapt to chaos,” says Simon, “and in doing so, I rarely can anticipate what an image or object will look like until I am finished.”

She notes that her ceramic artwork, which incorporates techniques of slip-casting and stamping, engages this chaos.

“I am interested in the beauty of flaw rather than flawless beauty.”  Simon’s method of casting doll faces in ceramics not only evokes memories of childhood toys, but also creates a sense of responsibility to shelter and protect the subject, much like a young girl might care for her doll.  By giving her work a face (or many faces), Simon transforms her pieces from pottery vessels to what seem like personified entities.

Jim Doiron

Jim Doiron’s artwork is about the effects of nature on man-made materials and achieving those effects through the hands of an artist. Replicating natural processes, his artwork looks like layers of aged deterioration, but it’s fresh and new from his studio.  Doiron’s work can look just like an old cracked sidewalk, or a crackled, peeling, hand-painted sign that might be decades old.  Not only is the work visually appealing, but the process to recreate the aging of materials is carried out so well that one can’t help but wonder, “How’d he do that?”

Brad Devlin creates art out of found, salvaged, and repurposed objects and materials.

“Acquiring or finding the materials is a vital part of the process,” says Devlin. “It elicits exploration of place, excess, waste, and time. I gravitate toward materials that show distress, weather, or the effects of time.”  

Brad Devlin

Devlin’s most recent series of found-object assemblages are inspired by the American flag, with stars and stripes created from a variety of materials. Roofing tin, plexiglass and numbers that look to be salvaged from some sort of retail environment all find a home in Devlin’s recreations of “Old Glory.”  Devlin is as comfortable using recycled automobile upholstery or strips of repurposed aluminum as most artists are using a traditional paint and brush.

IF YOU GO

“ReInterpret: Contemporary Landscapes” by Billy Hertz, will be up through April 29. The exhibit also features artwork by Kayla Bischoff, Lisa Simon, Jim Doiron and Brad Devlin, and is open regular business hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday for a suggested donation of $5.

COMING UP

• Starry Night Studio: Hummingbird, 7-9 p.m. April 11, $28. Register online. 

• Spring Break Camp, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 3-7, $50/day or $200/week Register online.

• Beginner Ballroom Dance, 6 p.m. Thursdays, $10/class, no registration required. Classes for dancers of all abilities, partners not required.

• Open Jam @ the Arts Center, 7-9 p.m. the second and fourth Fridays of each month (April 14, 28), $5 suggested donation for musicians.