Friday, January 25, 2013

Bodies in Motion: The Figure As Vehicle exhibition at Mount Dora Center for the Arts

By M.W.Kimmel

Sir Isaac Newton's first law of motion, "A body in motion tends to stay in motion", has been creatively expressed by artists John Carollo & Marsha De Broske, in the exhibit The Figure as Vehicle.  It is described on the web site as "a gallery show of figurative art in both two and three dimensions ... infused with a sense of motion which appears to be captured for a split second".  That is quite an accurate description.  In addition, each piece has the ability to transport you to various moments in time or history or mythology.

The Rapture and Duality by John Carollo
For an artist to capture motion on film takes skill, but to capture it by way of sculpture, painting and mixed media assemblies takes an entirely different type of skill, imagination & ingenuity.  Like a waterfall in frigid winter air John Carollo has frozen moments of fluidity in his watercolor paintings.  And, like the American flag astronauts planted on the moon that appears to be waving in the breeze yet resides in the vacuum of space, his mixed media assemblies display dynamic qualities.  What is most impressive is how he translated the chaotic flow of his water color to his mixed media pieces.  

One of his newest works is Icarus Ascends.  This wind whirled weave of materials soars sun-ward as the light ignites the polychromasia of the hand painted silk and radiates off the polished aluminum to grab your attention as you await his fate.

A complimentary contradiction to John's prismatic works are the monochromatic sculptures of Marsha De Broske.  At first glance you will notice the solid bronze castings on marble foundations that dominate her portfolio.  Moments of self awareness and introspection are figuratively captured with all the qualities of human life.  However, upon closer inspection you begin to wonder if many of the figures are bronze at all.  This is the magic, the little something extra, that Marsha has developed.  Like John, Marsha is innovating new techniques into her skill set.  She combines wire and soft strips of cotton to mold her human forms and finishes them in such a way that they resemble the bronze patina.  It's a remarkable way of perceiving the softness of the cloth and the hardness of bronze in one form.

Marsha really nailed the "Figure as Vehicle" theme with her piece "War".  It truly moved me.  This composition morphs it's subject through a story of terror and destruction in much the same way that a stop motion film is created, by carefully contorting and modifying the figure and capturing each pose for a fraction of a second.  It screams heartache, fear, torture and pain while it disintegrates into eternal silence.

For this particular show, Marsha and John saw an opportunity to utilize the large picture window of the gallery.  They collaborated on a design that showcases both of their talents and visions.  You won't see it here though.  You will have to visit the Mount Dora Center for the Arts, in Mount Dora, where this traveling show has made a stop.  Mount Dora is a sleepy little burg rising from the hillside shores of Lake Dora.  Concentrated within three square blocks of the downtown area are a variety of galleries, shops and dining establishments which make for a wonderful leisurely day trip.  You can see "The Figure as Vehicle" now until March 2nd.