By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter
“The Critical Eye: Life Looks On in Repose” is an exhibit currently available to view at the Kenai Fine Arts Center, and is as much a project in the making as it is a visual arts showing.
“The Critical Eye” is a kind of sub-club of the Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus Art Student League and is dedicated to enhancing the arts education the members are receiving at the college. A written explanation of the process and purpose of the exhibit says, “In keeping with our mission to promote greater critical thinking and understanding of fine art, the Critical Eye members self-coordinated, created, juried and displayed the show.”
It also declares that the theme of the show relates to the quote, “… as we struggle to make sense of things, life looks on in repose.”
Many of the pieces do seem thoughtful and self-aware. I find myself most impressed with the black-and-white photography (much of which, by the way, is actual silver-tone processed from the recently revived darkroom).
There is one that, although it feels like student work, the subject matter and the overall design and effect are highly enticing. Called “Pin Stripe Fence,” Kennaty Kerley has caught the magical effect of pinstripes of light coming through a heavy wooden fence onto sensual drifts of snow.
Although the image is not very abstract (which might have been wonderful to try to achieve with the subject matter), the simple arrangement of elements and poetic and highly defined lines make it quite a lyrical piece. Another inviting work from the same artist is “Spirals,” and it has a more brazen composition that excites me.
Todd Marshall-Closson has a number of black-and-white portraiture pieces that are worth the trip to Kenai, alone.
Other entries that particularly caught my attention were “Nedra,” a mixed media piece by Nicole Lopez, a sweet little oil painting by Sam Merry titled “Humming Birds,” digital art called “Timeless,” by Clayton Hillhouse, and a really dynamic mixed-media painting by Todd Marshall-Closson entitled “Keep His Hands Off.” It is void of much color and is mostly textural with a perfect balance of photo collage and loose painting. A much less powerful, but nonetheless lovely rendition of a path in the woods, “My Way Home,” by Brandi Henry-Kerley, has a quaint and playful rhythm about it.
The exhibit is up for the remainder of the month, at which time the Peninsula Art Guild will be accepting entries for the Juried Art Exhibit. The juror this year is acclaimed mixed-media artist Sheila Wyne. Entries are accepted March 1 and 2 at the center, in Old Town Kenai.
Zirrus VanDevere is a local mixed-media artist and owns Art Works gallery in Soldotna. She has bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and education.