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Annual Group Show at the Piano Factory

I love the conjunctions and effects in the diversity of a group art show, when I am reminded that artists can wield color, form, and subject matter to catch my eyes in so many different ways. At the Gallery at the Piano Factory, I experienced that pleasurable inner conflict of being tempted to get closer to the next artist on the wall, while wanting to stay rooted in front of the work before me.

In one corner, Paul Goodnight’s giclee print Ham and Egg Sandwich presents a striking woman in a gown and boots, mistily seen in a swirl of color through which sharp red-orange and turquoise burst. Her chicken and pig companions result from a conversation the artist had with his inspiration, John Biggers, who told Goodnight he would look at his work if and when Goodnight was truly committed to his art. As Biggers explained to him, with ham and eggs, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.

Nearby, entirely different but equally evocative, hang Arni Cheatham’s photographs of trees dripping with Spanish moss, their draped lushness both luxurious and haunting. Also lush and haunting is Milton Derr’s painting Another Birthday, in which the muscled central figure stands amid tropical colors and overhanging areas of blackness. The figure, an artist at work, is both powerful and vulnerable, his strength showing because his body is open and exposed.

The riotous colors of James de Crescentis’s paintings, which feature figurative and abstract forms, seem to demand communication with the viewer. Not feeling like reserved studies of color or surface, they seem to shout messages. They contrast with Jeffrey J. White’s paintings of square and round pueblo structures in Taos; containing warm clay colors and strong blues, these works’ unpopulated buildings offer the empty peace of geometry. The two artists’ proximity allows each to emphasize the other’s style.

Jorge Drosten’s Tattooed Man, with its fantastic flora and the joy of its figure with the decorated skin, also makes an interesting connection to Ken Beck’s nearby teddy bear portraits, with their somber fantasy atmosphere and unexpected depth of character.

Many other eye-catching works are also on view. The Annual Group Show at the Gallery at the Piano Factory, 791 Tremont Street, is open through September 30.

Piano Factory 2012 Annual Group Show

"2012 Annual Group Show" is on view until September 30 at The Piano Factory.  All images are courtesy of the artist.

About Author

Lin A. Nulman is an Adjunct Professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College and has worked in the theater for many years. Her poetry has appeared in Black Water Review, Tanka Splendor, and the anthology Regrets Only: Contemporary Poets on the Theme of Regret, among others. Lin has studied eighteenth century theater history and culture, with a focus on the meanings of material objects.

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