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Art News

Three new shows


Moberg Gallery opened an exhibit of the works of Gary Kelley, TJ Moberg, Derrick Breidenthal and Midwest Pressed. Kelley’s paintings usually hang around with historical figures of American history, Greek mythology world art, agriculture, blues and jazz. At exhibitions, people work hard to identify all the famous people in some of his group portraits. One painting in the new show is of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and is paired with a Biblical quotation about Methuselah, who also lived more than 900 years.

“Keith Richards (Methuselah)” by Gary Kelley – 30” x 22” pastel on Stonehenge paper.

“Keith Richards (Methuselah)” by Gary Kelley – 30” x 22” pastel on Stonehenge paper.

Moberg, who owns the gallery, continues his move from sculpture and figurative works to abstract paintings. He shows new paintings made, in his fashion, with paint skins and latex. Breidenthal portrays what he calls “the habitat of rural settings.” He uses negative space and severe space, color and light as characters. His landscapes have a Turnersque quality, emphasizing the grandeur of sheltering skies and the relative smallness of cities.

Midwest Pressed is the name given to collaborations of Aaron Wilson and Tim Dooley. Both are professors of art at the University of Northern Iowa and are primarily known for using printmaking in an experimental fashion that includes sculptural applications and installations that emphasize a painterly approach. They show some colorful screen prints on rice paper and an installation that incorporates screen prints into a sound system.

The gallery has completed moving its print shop into a space next door to the showroom. This virtually doubles the number of art works that can be displayed at the same time. They have also installed a video projector on the roof, currently showing an abstract video by Mathew Kluber on the east wall of the ADIO building. The current exhibition will be up through Nov. 28.

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Olson-Larsen Galleries recently opened a new show featuring John Beckelman, Kim Hutchison and Thomas Jewell-Vitale. Beckelman, an art professor at Coe College, fires clay vessels in a salted atmosphere at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not try this at home. He believes his method reveals “the elemental character and expressive potential of clay — in all its varied physical states.” A Beckelman exhibition is like walking through an archeological museum that covers a thousand years of history.

Hutchison is a mixed media artist who tries to create “something meaningful from that which has been discarded.” She builds her abstract, emotion-driven compositions by securing materials to raw canvas, linen, paper or wood before layering acrylic paint to enhance the texture and patterns of selected fabrics.

Jewell-Vitale, an art professor at Loras College, makes oil, acrylic and wax paintings that try to walk the murky land between abstraction and representation. His latest works appear to depict more subjective matter than earlier works. They look like their inspirations might have been aerial, or satellite photos of different topographies. This show also plays through Nov. 28.

To celebrate the acquisition of Helen Frankenthaler’s breakthrough color woodblock print, “East and Beyond, 1973,” the Des Moines Art Center opened an exhibition contextualizing that print. It includes four works on paper by Frankenthaler, as well as 23 works on paper and ceramics by American and Japanese artists who were active during the 1950s to 1980s. The collective works reveal how distinctly different printmaking traditions influenced one another. Western artists such as Sam Francis, Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, David Hockney and Robert Motherwell, as well as American ceramists Gertrud and Otto Natzler, Glenn Nelson and William Wyman, are included with Japanese Modernists Fumiaki Fukita, Hideo Hagiwara, Shoichi Ida, Masuo Ikeda, Hoshi Joichi, Haku Maki, Tetsuya Noda, Koshiro Onchi, Takumi Shinagawa, Hiroyuki Tajima and Ansei Uchima in this examination of intermingled destinies. The show also includes one work not by a contemporary of Frankenthaler — a color woodblock print by 19th-century Japanese printmaker Ikeda Eisen. This show will on display through Jan. 17. CV

Jim Duncan is a freelance writer who has penned nine different columns for Cityview and its sister publications beginning in 1987.


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