This past Saturday I stopped in at two galleries that have been going strong in Atlanta since after I left town in the late 90s; Get This! and Saltworks next door. Saltworks is relocating. The director Brian Holcombe told me he may evolve more of their focus on art fairs and with an online presence. I didn’t take any photos there, but visit the site for more information.
The last day for the Summer Salon group show was featured at Get This!, with six artists’ work on three walls. Lloyd Benjamin was in house to describe one of his visions for the exhibit – to have a view of the smallish works within the gallery space from one vantage point.
Benjamin noted certain parallels in placing say, Atlanta based artist Gyun Hur’s reworked striped found photographs, next to Andy Moon’s densely patterned pieces and mandalas – both have Korean influences. The stripes in Hur’s case may reference her mother’s traditional wedding blanket, noted in her prior installations.
Gyun Hur. Untitled (Diptych). 2010, acrylic on found paper, 20 x 11 inches.
Andy Moon. Untitled. 2010, mixed media on paper, 10 x 10 inches.
Moon has been a professional textile designer and cites the abstract symbolist painter Simon Gouverneur (1934-1990) as an influence.
Many of the works on paper were tacked to the wall, without frames. The lack of mounting did not detract from the thoughtfulness and delicacy of the work that lingered long after my time there. Often, group shows with a surfeit of work allow for little breathing room, but this small exhibit succeeds brilliantly by limiting the space and the number of pieces; the jewel like watercolors, pen and inks and gouaches hold their own.
Dawn Black. Back From the Market. 2012, gouache, watercolor and ink on paper, 19 x 14.25 inches.
Dawn Black. Look What We Found. 2012, gouache, watercolor and ink on paper, 13 x 18 inches.
A few works reminded me of a more surrealist Ben Shahn or Saul Steinberg. In the same tradition of political satire, some of these artists seem to be making a subtle (or not so subtle) point about feminism, society and materialism.
Jill Storthz. Glass Palace. 2007, ink and colored pencil on paper, 22 x 24 inches.
Jill Storthz. Lantern. 2010, ink and colored pencil on paper, 14 x 17 inches.
Harrison Keys. Untitled. 2012, watercolor, pen and pencil on paper, 7 x 10 inches.
As a former printmaker, the standouts for me were the musician and artist Rick Froberg’s black and white etchings. The linework in his Cockroach, Rat, and Scorpion is slightly reminiscent of Arthur Rackham or Don Marquis’s Archy and Mehitabel comic strip. However, Froberg’s etchings offer more acerbic commentary, closer to Daumier or Goya in its darkness and sardonic humor.
Rick Froberg. Cockroach, Rat and Scorpion. 1996, etching, 8.75 x 10.5 inches
Rick Froberg. Untitled. 1996, etching, 8.5 x 10.5 inches
Rick Froberg. Untitled. 1995, etching. (sold)
In contrast to shows that might remind one of Sharon Butler’s article last summer in the Brooklyn Rail in which she discusses the ‘New Casualists’, these artists seem to be going in the opposite direction of abstraction; that of deliberately intricate pattern and constructed symbolism. Whether drawn from personal experience and mythology, or from politically charged ideologies, the work is expressive and detailed.
Get This! features the San Francisco based artist Ben Venom in an opening this coming Saturday, August 25th, his first solo exhibit at the gallery:
“Ben Venom’s practice is one of extreme juxtaposition. The Atlanta native combines the unexpected tradition of handmade crafts and the historical art of quilting with a musical genre that has a rich history in its own right, Heavy Metal.”