New Exhibit Challenges Conventional Understanding of Landscape Art

By KATE SNYDER 

Community Arts Center

If you are expecting rolling hillsides and picturesque vistas at the Arts Center’s new landscape exhibit, you may be surprised when you walk in the door. 

“Lush No. 3” by Kaylee Dalton

“This year’s exhibit is definitely the most contemporary landscape exhibit we’ve had,” says Creative Director Brandon Long. “I’m thrilled to see artists challenging the traditional definitions of landscape to bring fresh new perspectives to the genre. It’s exactly what we’ve been trying to encourage over the past seven years with the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape exhibit.”

Long says that many of the pieces of artwork in the juried exhibition present abstract or even imaginary landscapes. Artist Sara Slee Brown of Iowa City, Iowa combines digital imagery with collage to explore the idea that multiple realities exist simultaneously. In her piece, she created an imaginary diner overlooking a creek. 

Brown says, “I use objects, buildings or landscapes that are traditional and familiar. Juxtaposing them in an improbable manner creates a new perspective of reality.”

Several artists in the show address the impact of human interaction with the natural world. Justin Barfield of South Bend, Indiana, focuses his artwork on the aftermath of failed systems. 

“Most of what I am directly responding to relates to the physical changes located in postindustrial landscapes. These landscapes are deserted factories, abandoned homes, devastated environments, and decaying material.” Barfield applies rust to paper, combining fragility and weight to capture the substantial presence of the sites he represents.

Horizon: Contemporary Landscape is a juried exhibition that draws entries from across the country. This year’s exhibit features artwork by 24 artists from 13 states, including local artists Daniel Kirchner and J. Robert Gundy, Jr. 

The exhibit juror was Kensuke Yamada, visiting assistant professor of art at Centre College. In explaining his approach to selecting pieces, Yamada says he picked artwork that had depth and layers, both in technique and in meaning. 

“I was drawn to pieces that depicted the overall pattern and rhythm of a landscape rather than emphasizing individual objects within the scene,” he says.

Many of his selections are mixed media works, such as “Lush No. 3” by Kaylee Dalton of Elkhart, Indiana. Her piece combines elements of drawing, collage, and encaustic wax into a whimsical interpretation of a garden landscape. Dalton’s piece won second place in the exhibit. 

Yamada says, “This was one of the first pieces I accepted into the show. The piece has a very gentle touch, but the composition is gutsy.”

“Genesis” by Lynette Haggbloom

While most of the artwork is grounded in the earth, artist Lynette Haggbloom of Bowling Green uses fused glass to create sculptures that bring to mind the landscapes of outer space. 

“Thin pieces of silver are layered with glass powders and frit onto reactive glass,” says Haggbloom. “An intricate fusing process in a high-firing kiln is used to coalesce the silver and glass. My landscapes are geared toward one’s imagination of our galaxy.”

Also on exhibit at the Community Arts Center is the annual collaborative show by the Gathering Artists, a long-standing artist society in Danville. Each year, the members of the group undertake a collaborative exhibit focused around a shared theme. Past exhibits have explored water, barns, and a ‘limited palette’ of pink and green. This year’s theme is “infinity.”

 Group leader Pat Williams says, “This year, we decided to make our exhibit into a sort of puzzle. Each artist could produce any kind of art in any medium, but the piece of art needed to contain a hidden symbol that viewers could look for. The infinity symbol was chosen both for its meaning and because it could easily be hidden in many types of art.”

The members of the Gathering Artists say that the collaborative exhibit is a chance to get to know the other members of the group better and an opportunity to challenge themselves to reach beyond their artistic comfort zones and try new things.

The opening reception for the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape and Infinity exhibits will be 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8. The reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

On Exhibit: September 5 through November 10. Opening reception for both shows Friday, September 8, 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Exhibit Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11am to 7pm. Saturdays 10am to 5pm. Suggested donation $5.

Horizon: Contemporary Landscape (Grand Hall)– the 8th annual juried landscape exhibition.

Infinity (Farmers National Bank Gallery)– a collaboration by the Gathering Artists, Danville’s longest-standing artist society.

COMING UP

Kids Clay Workshop: Pinch Pot Sculpture

Thursdays, 4pm to 5pm | September 14 & 21

Grades K-5 | $35

During this two-day workshop, students will create several pinch pot sculptures using additive and subtractive methods of sculpting. 

Adult Clay Workshop: Woven Ceramic Baskets

Tuesdays, 7pm to 9pm

September 12 and 19 | $50

In this two-day workshop, students will learn the basics of hand building, extruding, and weaving clay to create a bread basket. Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Starry Night Studio: Friendly Scarecrow

Sunday, September 17 | 2pm to 4pm

$28 per person

This whimsical scarecrow and his feathered friend will be the perfect addition to your fall home decor. No previous experience is required – an instructor will guide you, step-by-step, from blank canvas to finished masterpiece. Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Lunch with the Arts: Steel Appeal

Wednesday, September 20 | 12pm to 1pm | $5 at the door

The Steel Appeal steel drum academy will present an exciting musical experience that will feature music from around the world.

Art Around the World (Mexico)

Wednesdays, 4pm to 5pm | September 27 to October 25

Grades 3-5 | $40

In this mixed-media art class, students will observe and discuss artwork from Mexico and create original art using similar ideas, themes, and art processes. 

7-Up Percussion Class

Saturdays, 1:30pm to 2:30pm

September 30 to November 4 | $60 per person (with family discount available)

Feel the rhythm in this intergenerational drum circle for musicians ages 7 and up. Class is led by Lydia DiMartino Ellis with special guest drummers each week! Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Night at the Museum

September 29-30 | 6:30pm to 8:30am | $40

Grab your sleeping bag and get ready for a fun-filled sleepover at the Community Arts Center. Kids in grades 2-6 will enjoy art-making activities, explore the galleries by flashlight, and go on an art scavenger hunt.