Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oak Park Art League

Though I've lived nearby for 30 years, I've never joined the Oak Park Art League. Maybe it's the elfin-cutsiness of its charming building that keeps me away -- but more likely it's my obsession with drawing the model -- so I ride the train down to the Palette and Chisel Academy four times a week.

Mike Vest

But my friend, Mike, is a member of both venerable art associations, and he persuaded me to visit the current OPAL Artist Member exhibit.

That didn't take much persuading because I like art exhibits and I like my neighborhood.

Mike had two pieces in the show. The above, entitled something like 'Dying Warrior" is the one I like. (I'm not sure about that title -- but it's just something Mike made up after he had studied it from a model down at the Palette and Chisel)

It's my favorite piece in this show - but I've given up on distinguishing personal from critical opinions -- because I doubt that I'm able to. I know Mike, so things that he makes are going to interest me as a way of seeing him.

Which is also one of the enticements of joining an art club: to know the people and see them in their work -- something you can't do with anything on display in an art museum.

Kathy Hirsh

Here's another member of the Palette and Chisel. I don't know her -- but she does share that membership's interest in observational art -- and as a medical illustator, she has practiced that daily for many years.

She's one of the artists in this show that I wouldn't be surprised to find in one of the Chicago galleries that I visit every Saturday.

(BTW - Here's a recent artist-member show from the Palette and Chisel for comparative purposes)

Peggy Dee

Here's another artist who works from life (or, perhaps photographs she's taken)-- and who also demonstrates a life long study of visual art. (she currently teaches art at a community college)

I like the unhappy, problematic feeling of her figure -- because so much of the art in this show is so upbeat.

Ted Strandt

This is a very interesting artist --- a self-taught stone carver

-- kind of.

That is -- he taught himself to carve figures -- but his family has been carving stone for many generations, and he has a business making cemetery monuments.

The strong and simple quality reminds me of Inuit or Finnish sculpture

Tom Palazzolo

Here's the best known artist in the room. He's been making short documentary films, photographs, and paintings since the 1960's.

Above are a few of the photographs he took in the 60's -- featuring a woman with a serious degenerative mental disorder. Recently he commissioned an Oak Park sculptor, Michel Santaguilanni, to model a posthumous terra cotta bust of her.

It's not really a subject that fascinates me -- and I'm not comfortable with photographs of people falling apart. Eventually that happens to most of us -- and I sure wouldn't want to see anyone in my family (including myself) photographically documented in that condition.

But the photos do seem to be date-stamped from another era - and the sculpture makes the woman feel more alive.

Marcia Palazzolo

Marcia is Tom's wife -- and I'm always fascinated by artist couples.

She seems to be more of a German Expressionist - c. 1910

Fran Sampson

Here's a collage depicting a notoriuos Central American dictator.

I guess that's kind of a cliche -- but every exhibit needs some political art.

Anthony Aboreno

This whimsical furniture goes perfectly with the ambience of the Oak Park Art League building -- it ought to be permanently installed.

Stephen Smith

This tribute to Mark Rothko won First Prize -- but I don't understand why -- other than that the blueness of the ribbon complements the colors of the painting so well.

And here's the rest of the show - or at least some of it.


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