There’s everything from fanciful cityscapes to winged felt pigs to a 7-foot stuffed dragon in “Wit & Whimsy,” the new exhibit which opens at Confluence Gallery this weekend.
The art is as stimulating and thought-provoking as it is whimsical. The show features humor, splendor and trenchant social commentary by some 35 local and regional artists.
Curator Gale Tucker sees art as having “a healthy dose of absurdity at its roots.” So she encouraged artists to find the fun and fanciful in themselves. That fun and fanciful can include art that’s quirky, a little bit naughty, or that has childlike wonder, she said in her invitation to the artists.
“I really like the secret that you find in somebody’s art. It’s like a private joke between the artist and the audience,” Tucker said.
Animals are a common theme. Leslie Ahrens’ oil painting “In Mother Nature’s Lap” is a tribute to the interconnectedness of the animal world, with an owl and quail, bighorn sheep, deer, raccoon and bear.
Then there are paintings of hares, an evocative sea-nymph with goldfish, and a mobile of pigs and hummingbirds. There’s even a mosaic tribute entitled “In Dog We Trust” by Jennifer Carroll, who is showing several playful pieces.
Some artists look at the larger world and our place in it. In “Landscape with VanGogh’s Ear,” Twisp painter Jeff Winslow depicts colorful abstract buildings that almost meld into the mountains behind them.
Painter Nick Ciancibelli skewers contemporary life with group portraits of disassociated people waiting at an airport gate, watching a tennis match, or connected to their electronic devices.
“Sometimes even the most serious works can have a hidden something. You feel like you’ve discovered a bit about the artist,” Tucker said.
Since this is the gallery’s holiday show, there are many opportunities to find gifts and one-of-a-kind ornaments.
Tucker invites all viewers to brighten the short days at the exhibit. “I have welcomed everything from the unexpected surprises tucked away in plain sight to the darkly comic in hopes that everyone finds a laugh on our walls during this holiday season. I hope YOU come away cheered,” she said.
Generosity of a Seed
The Community Gallery at Confluence features “The Generosity of a Seed,” an artistic tribute to the spark of life by painter Cindy Ruprecht.
“I started my seed-saving journey with more serious intent this year, by taking a nine-month seed-saving class,” Ruprecht said. As an artist, she was entranced by the exquisite twists and turns of the seeds and the beautiful ways nature protects this tiny bit of biodiversity.
So Ruprecht decided to make the seed the spotlight of her art. The paintings highlight the intricate variety of color and form of seeds, pods and kernels.