The Rising Arts Writers Program is an initiative created by The Arts Beacon to encourage, mentor, support and post writings by aspiring locals writers. With the intention of fostering critical responses to art and artists in the Valley, the RAW Program creates an opportunity for up and coming writers to comment on their own art scene using the platform of The Arts Beacon website while also being a valuable resource for local artists seeking insights into their practice.
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Commemorating their new space on 215 E Grant Street, Bentley Gallery presents Survey: 12 Artists 3 Dimensions. Curated by Gallery Director John Reyes, this group show features 12 artists who utilize varying techniques in conceptualizing the third dimension. Specifically, Reyes selects works that visually enhance and celebrate the newly renovated gallery space, meanwhile introducing the public to a wide selection of contemporary art.
Bouncing seizures by Charles Arnoldi is a large wall-mounted sculpture with attached stacks of laminated plywood. In utilizing a chainsaw rather than a paintbrush, Arnoldi cuts and reveals layers of painted and unpainted plywood. At first glance these cut marks appear asymmetrical, however, the artist retains balance through the interaction of line, color, and texture. Arnoldi also examines what is underneath and visually exposed. The inherent characteristics of the wood soon fade to the background as the artist uses it to pull attention to the areas he has cut away, using the negative space behind the void to alter and change the visual acuity of the piece.
Dominique Blain also heightens the use of negative space, as seen in the Mirabilia trio. Three sculptures outline the shape of objects indicative of the casualties of war and objects of theft. Each object tells its own story however, the common thread the artist proposes is the fragility of artifacts and the receding history of the cultures who produce them. By layering glass and aluminum around each shape, the issues are encapsulated into an infinity-type reflection, begging the viewer to reflect on the casualties of war and the objects lost as a result. These connections between histories can be no coincidence and also serve as a reminder, considering recent headlines of antiquity destruction in Syria and Iraq.
In Ensconce, Stephanie Blake takes the delicate material of porcelain and through fire and manipulation, twists and turns the medium to project her personal reality. When she was younger, Blake suffered brain damage due to an accidental fall, and underwent physical therapy to regain speech and mobility. By taking a fragile medium such as porcelain, and applying stress and tension, she is able to communicate her story while mimicking body movement as well as hindrances. Blake writes “Through sculpture I can restructure the life I lost intellectually; I still have this isolation in my mind, but I can have conversations with the porcelain as it moves.” Blake’s sculpture encompasses weightless properties, however once connected to her personal history, become simultaneously solid and heavy.
Director John Reyes unifies the exhibition so that each piece stands independent of the others while still obtaining cohesion. The natural flow of the gallery space allows each artwork to be taken into consideration without being influenced by the pieces around it. Survey: 12 Artists 3 Dimensions features artists Jun Kaneko, Charles Arnoldi, Jeremy Thomas, Denise Yaghmourian, Dominique Blain, Woods Davy, Mark Pomilio, Peter Millett, Stephanie Bachiero, Yoram Wolberger and Jonathan Cross. Bentley Gallery gives a strong showcase of represented contemporary artists with thoughtfully chosen pieces to compliment the new space.