Abstractions and additions

Four artists show varied works in Hillsboro
by: photo by Chase Allgood,

Four artists whose works range from oil on canvas to sculptured wood are currently exhibiting at the Glenn and Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro.

The exhibit represents a spectrum as broad as art itself.

It has long been my belief that art has two primary functions - to give artists a medium of expression and to generate an emotion in the observer. When the intended message sent by the artist is received by the viewer, then effective communication has been achieved.

According to the Grove Dictionary of Art Online, 'an abstract work of art is a production that creates a highly singular and effectively unprecedented visual experience.' With that in mind, here are my experiences with the four artists' work.

Being more a thinker of the concrete rather than the abstract, John Brodie's work did not convey any particular message to me, but it definitely offers a visual experience.

His central theme of stripes and sharp lines permeates throughout his works where he contrasts vibrant colors with black. He fuses shapes and images into abstract representations of the intimate and natural.

His juxtaposition of shape and color implies a deliberate randomness, suggesting a controlled chaos that is abundant.

His numerous works at the center include 'New Stripe Landscape,' oil on canvas that is muted with a splash of color vibrancy to abstractly represent the changing landscape. 'Turp and Stripes,' turpentine cans with paint, and 'Stripe Totem,' oil on wood, both illustrate vistas and horizons. His work certainly does create a visual experience.

Joe McMurrian's impasto paintings - tangled mixtures of reds and browns with the handful splotch of purple - remind me of far away places and unearthly shapes. Included in this exhibition are 'Triangle 1' and 'Grid and Lock.' Both illustrate his artistic style of thickly applying paint to a canvas so it retains the marks of the brush or palette knife. His bold strokes and use of circular eights suggest infinity and unlimited potential.

Suzanne Ebert's attractive watercolors moved me with the warm and familiar. Watercolor is a challenging medium and she effectively uses it to illustrate finely detailed edges without seepage of her colors on her canvas. Her vibrant use of color suggests the playful and the whimsical, and her particular attention to detail nudges at our remembrances of youth. Her 'Giraffe' collage, effectively combining collage and watercolor in an outspoken visual statement, was particularly energetic. 'The Dakota' departs from her more familiar watercolor style to be crispier and cleaner with more finely defined edges and muted colors.

Jose Beth Smolensky finely sculpts wood into beautiful pieces highlighting the shapes and grains of each particular wood. Smolensky also merges wood sculpture with the more traditional bronze sculpture as in her 'Somber Teen.' She, too, is more abstract than concrete, but the perfection of the wood evokes calm and personal reflection.