It’s easy to get lost in the new 2008 Winter Exhibit at the Perlow-Stephens Gallery on Broadway—lost in the worlds of nine local and regional artists, each with an original approach to telling a story. This is a show best taken in when you have time to spend—or in multiple visits, exploring one world at a time.
As you come in, walk around the stark, monochromatic ceramic sculptures of Jacob Burmood. As abstract and minimalist as they are (think Joan Miró, Brancusi), the young Springfield native’s white works, such as “Undulating” and “Liquid Embrace,” truly are “calm yet dynamic,” as he describes them—even warm.
I brought my son, a budding artist of 11, along for his take on the new exhibit. “A lot of paintings of nature and natural things,” Will observed. He said some might see Clare Molloy’s large pastel in the window as “just a barn,” but we agreed there was something pulling us through the barn’s open doors into the vast, haunting sky beyond.
After examining local artist Joel Sager’s new paintings, Will declared, “Now with these, there’s a hidden meaning in every one.” In the most narrative series he has done to date, Sager evokes a mysterious saga in which each moody work—the priest, the child’s hand, a bare mattress against torn wallpaper, the nude “Mary Magaline”—also has its own story to tell.
Across the gallery are the new watercolor and oil landscapes of Columbia artist John Fennell, a professor in the University of Missouri School of Journalism. The recent Milwaukee transplant’s fascination with our rolling hills and mighty river shows in the rich colors of the mid-Missouri seasons. Fennell will be PS:Gallery’s featured guest artist during the next quarterly Artrageous Friday gallery crawl, Jan. 25. You can watch him create watercolor sketches from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
One more world that called to me was the vibrant one full of kaleidoscope-like, large-format “digital paintings” by Dre Merello, also of Columbia. Once you get past the “How did she do that?” stage (it involves eye-droppers of food coloring, photography and “tessellation”), you just pick one and float away, peacefully staring into inner space.