Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lambert and Blankenstein show at Bryant's

Bryant Galleries in Jackson is not a place that one would likely happen upon if searching for art galleries.  It is hidden in a non-descript shopping center off of Lakeland Drive.  But then again nowhere in Jackson is a hotbed of an art market.  The largest concentration of galleries in Jackson is in Fondren, and I believe that there are only about five.  Jackson isn't known for its art offerings which is why I was interested in doing this blog... to attempt to have one more opportunity for artists' work to be viewed.  So Bryant's may not be the easiest to find, but it is definitely worth the search.  They have a very unique offering of some Mississippi artists and some international artists, and they appear to be very particular about the quality of work that they show.  It's a large space, but divided nicely into more intimate areas.  

Hanging right now is a duo show of separate work by husband and wife David Lambert and Vidal Blankenstein.  David actually runs the gallery.  It's interesting to see their work hanging together because living together they must influence each other.  They both work in acrylic on panels, but their approaches are quite different.  David is also showing some of his airplane sculptures which were included in the Invitational at the Mississippi Museum of Art this year.  The Invitational show just came down so I hope you didn't miss it.  There was a long article in the national magazine, Art in America, about the Invitational written by guest curator Peter Plagens that was less than flattering but just short of condescending.  His arrogant and pompous tone did no credit to the work, but the work didn't need him.  It was obviously art of a high caliber that can stand on its own.  

When I first saw David's planes in a show at Belhaven they struck me by their witty concept and construction, and yet they were so simply assembled with disregard for attempted craftsmanship.  I was pleased to see that this visual language carries over into his paintings as well.  The consistency gives credit to the work.  David told me that he had not painted in awhile because his focus has been on the airplanes.  He looked through some old sketches and found some designs that appealed to him that he developed into paintings.  Many of the sketches are displayed next to the final pieces.  

Vidal's psychological images are much more layered and painterly.  There are recurring symbols of trees and birds and hands and ladders and almond shaped patches that seem to transition between leaves and the all seeing eye.  Vidal is a graphic designer, but I think that it is interesting that David's work is the more graphic, illustrational, and cartoon influenced work.  I think that artists who have full time jobs aside from their art often produce work that is a contrasting response to what they do all day.  Either way, it's just great that they are reserving the energy to produce the work.  

Man in Striped Shirt (Lambert)

Soup and Grits (Lambert)

War (Lambert)

Planes (Lambert)

Sanctuary (Blankenstein)

Where are you going? (Blankenstein)

Morning (Blankenstein)

Open (Blankenstein)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kelso at Fischer

I get excited when December rolls around every year.  It's not because of the cooler weather or because of the upcoming Christmas Holiday.  I had grown tired of the mass materialistic holiday until four years ago when my wife and I had our first child.  There is a renewed sense of magic seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child.  No, the reason I get excited when December comes around is that I know there will be a show of Richard Kelso's work hanging in Jackson that month.  It is an annual event to look forward to and it is hanging right now at Fischer Galleries in Fondren.  Kelso was mentioned in my last post about color theory and the influences of Henry Hensche.  

Richard Kelso is a landscape painter.  He has produced an incalculable number of landscape paintings through the years.  You might think that this would cause someone to become stagnate in his work, producing Bob Ross like symbols for trees that are comfortable and familiar, but I continue to be amazed at the experimentation and variety he shows.  And the work is simply gorgeous.  Anyone can appreciate the beauty of the scenes in his work,  but if you are a painter you will marvel at the way he uses paint.  Every stroke is deliberate, and every color of every stroke looks as though it were mixed uniquely for that one spot.  His colors are never chalky or muddy but rich from the vibrant sunlit treetops to the deepest shadows.  Kelso holds to a standard of quality that is both inspiring and daunting to me as a painter.  

There actually are two paintings in the show that are not landscapes.  Many times in his shows there will be a small selection of paintings of his studio or things in his studio.  I always love these pieces but not only because of their masterful execution.  If you ever visit Kelso's studio which is above Hal and Mal's you will recognize the light.  There is a single window that he paints by, and from what I've seen he never uses artificial light.  The cold indirect light that comes through the window casts soft warm shadows, and he absolutely nails the atmosphere that it creates.  

My one disappointment in the show is that there are no drawings.  Drawings are so sincere and personal feeling, and Kelso's Constable-esque pieces are like little treasures.  Maybe I've been a good boy this year and Santa will bring me one.  

Autumn Glory


Green House on Hwy. 22

November Mist

Pond at Mr. Palmer's


Studio Corner