Volume 93, Issue 27
Tuesday, October 19, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Exhibit shows many Faces of art
©Photo by Sara Martel
By Sara Martel
Walking into the ArtLab in the John Labatt Visual Arts Centre and reading the simple exhibit title written on the wall may lead some to expect a lot less than they are actually about to witness.
With a title like Faces, presumptions almost automatically lean towards portraits or busts. Soon enough, however, it becomes obvious that the sundry artists, whose work makes up the exhibit, did not take such a creatively myopic approach to this year's theme for the annual student generated show.
ArtLab co-ordinator Paola Poletto says it was their intention to leave the theme of the show relatively open to interpretation, hoping to attract a variety of work, as well as a variety of artists, from first-year to graduate level art students. According to Poletto, they attained their goal.
"I think we did get artists from all gamuts. I mean it is a really good experience for them," she suggests. "The theme was really open to interpretation. Some could take it on a metaphorical level or a literal level, others thought of actual images of facade. Then there are those who did self-portraits that are playful and self-reflexive, right to more wacky interpretations that really stretch the idea."
The end result of these differing takes on the theme, is a diverse and intriguing exhibit which challenges viewers to question their own interpretations of what art, images and faces really are.
Lisa Kertz's contribution entitled "Me?" certainly begs such interpretive queries. The work is a passage of writing on brown paper in a simple wooden frame asking the viewer, or reader, to think about the idea of image and self.
Other pieces are more indirect in their requests for interpretation, such as Heidi Gemmell's "Open Eye Inside." This piece offers nothing in way of obvious explanation or images of faces. Instead, the two paintings are simply of indefinite shapes, one painted in vibrant blues, the other in fiery orange tones.
In addition to the more abstract sides of the theme, there are also artists who approached the subject in a more literal sense. The piece entitled "Still Life" by Lorraine Leader is one such work, which includes graphite drawings of six different faces within simple black frames mounted on a white backdrop.
Another interesting work by Heather Reinke, entitled "Faces in Time," is a molding of faces lit by a red light underneath its plaster.
For some, the idea of faces also led to personal representations. Philip A. Arnold's painting "Among those I will never know" is the image of the artist's grandfather in military uniform.
Along this same line of sentimentality is "Baking is fun" by Lily Geraci. The painting, which resembles a '50s flour ad complete with a vinyl chair, chrome flour decanter and red apron as part of the display, is dedicated to the artist's mother.
Of the approximately 40 pieces in Faces, there is rarely an overlap of sentiment or image, leaving viewers with a collective sense of creativity. From the personal to the ubiquitous, the banal to the bizarre, Faces is certainly worth exploration.
Faces is showing in the John Labatt Visual Arts Center ArtLab until the end of October.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999