By Jim Duncan
"Deeper into Movies II,"
by Matthew Kluber at DM Art Center.
Three new exhibitions in Des Moines examine
color from different points of view. Less (color)
is more in Steven Vail Fine Arts current exhibition
"Selective Color in Printmaking."
Curator Breianna Cochrane talked about the show's
"Barnett Newman, a color field painter,
came under fire when the National Gallery of
Canada bought one of his works for $1.8 million
in 1989. A nearly monochromatic piece of blue
and red, it was mocked for its simplicity and
extravagant cost, to the point where it was
slashed with a knife by an angry viewer. Without
innovations like that, the path to selective
color might never have been explored."
The Vail show, which explores minimal uses of
color, has drawn attention from the New York
City art media and includes works of such pathfinders
from five different countries, some with big
names: Rita Ackermann, Kamrooz Aram, Carlos
Amorales, Donald Baechler, José Bedia, Ross
Bleckner, Robert Cottingham, Eric Fischl, Wayne
Gonzales, Antony Gormley, Beverly Semmes, Josh
Smith, Pat Steir and Donald Sultan. They demonstrate
how restrained use of just black, white, gray
and the primary colors can have major dramatic
impact in reductive art. Using a variety of
print media, their works communicate more through
texture, pattern and balance, avoiding the use
of color as their primary expressive tool.
"The simplicity inherent in primary colors
is often reflected in the pieces themselves,"
Less (volume) is also more as the Des Moines
Art Center's "Iowa Artists 2011" continues
with just two works by Matt Corones- large-scale
"stained glass" windows in the museum's
lobby and Pei wing. These were each built with
three patterns, based on photographs of flowers,
and digitally-created patterns influenced by
Middle Eastern decoration and by "Matisse
Camouflage," — brightly colored riffs on
the Modernist master's cut-paper collages. Each
pattern was printed on large sheets of transparency
film, which were then layered on top of one
other and adhered to the glass. The effect is
anything but minimal color wise — it dazzles
entire rooms. These windows will be on exhibit
through Oct. 2.
In a separate exhibit under the "Iowa Artists
2011" umbrella, Matthew Kluber presents
a series of abstract "paintings" that
also reference Barnett Newman. They profess
an additional debt to the color studies of Joseph
Albers, in which one color changes by its association
or proximity with another. Kluber fuses color,
line, digital formations and projected light
to create dramatic visual spaces with more of
an embrace of new technologies than the works
at Vail. His exhibition continues through Oct.
2. Corones and Kluber will both speak at the
museum on Sept. 1.
Road trips to two Iowa art museums offer far
more traditional experiences. Mason City's MacNider
Art Museum is exhibiting 40 original photogravure
prints by Edward S. Curtis, through Oct. 29.
That selection provides an overview of Curtis's
legendary "The North American Indian Collection."
Famous images like "Geronimo" and
"Cañon de Chelly — Navaho" mix it
up with lesser known but equally intriguing
images like "Bear Bull — Blackfoot"
and "Wichita Grass-House." Cedar Rapids
Museum of Art is preparing for a Sept. 3 opening
of its exclusive showing of "An American
Masterpiece: Charles Wilson Peale's George Washington."
Commissioned by John Hancock, this was Peale's
first portrait of Washington to portray him
as commander in chief of the Continental Army.
America's daddy will hang around until New Year's
Notes: Ames artist Peter Goché's "Water
Hutch," has been on exhibit this summer
in Omaha's Bemis Center for Contemporary Art…
Moberg Framing plans a September opening of
the their new shop on Ingersoll… Frank Hansen
will auction several of his paintings at The
Mansion Sept. 24 in a "Paint It Black"
event. Any painting that does not receive a
minimum bid will be painted black and recycled.
The Snacks will play. CV