Tuesday, September 25, 2018


      I am very pleased to be participating in a group exhibition at the Prairie Arts Center in North Platte, NE. This show is featured for the entire month of September, and is being held in conjunction with Rail Days 2018.  North Platte is home to Baily Yard, the worlds largest rail classification yard. It is someplace that I have always wanted to visit, and it is gratifying that my art is on display here.

     I want to thank DeeAnn Tatum for the pictures below, and for alerting me to the exhibition. She just happened to post a call from the Prairie Arts Center for railroad art, and I just happened to come across it. The train images I submitted were part of my Recent Works exhibition this past February. It is interesting that they have had so much exposure, as I had never really intended to show them. In my Recent Works show, I included a few train sketches and explained that these are the images I use to warm up my art skills, experiment with new ideas, and just get  an image down. For me, the train images are particularly helpful when working through a creative block.

      I don't really believe they are "finished works." However, I had very positive reviews on them and the reactions have been surprising. When I saw the call for art, I knew I had just the thing. The serendipity of it all is fun. It also serves as a lesson for finding your niche. No matter what type of art you are working on, and no matter how you accept or reject the image you have created, somebody somewhere will respond and connect with what you have made. This is part of what makes art so incredible!

My two paintings on display in North Platte, NE. Courtesy of DeeAnn Tatum.

An additional image, with my works behind the layout. Courtesy of DeeAnn Tatum.

      I was recently given the postcard pictured below for Stephan Wiesmore, an artist and an opening of his in LA earlier this year. Much of the contemporary art that I have seen of late is similar to this in that it doesn't depict anything and is non-representational.

Postcard for artist Stephen Wiesmore

      It is noteworthy to me that this is the type of imagery that seems to be taking off lately. In June I commented about a show in Lafayette, LA that was also dealing with non-representational compositions. Recently a call went out for art to be loaned locally to an office for display, and when I responded with my art I was told that they were looking for images that focused on shape and color, and more non-representational depictions. My work was not accepted.

      There is nothing wrong with non-representational art. However, part of me can't help but wonder if this is a reaction to the times we are living in. I think about the art produced when I was in art school 20 years ago. Much of what I recall was representational art and the works from the Sensations show come to mind. These works caused a lot of controversy, and as I think about the representational artworks that are recognized as significant to art history, many of them also caused controversy in their day. Creating controversial representational art might be a bit much for the current climate of popular culture, where everything seems to  cause controversy. It is hard to avoid controversy unless you deal in shapes, color, or some other element that does not depict a person or object.

     As a librarian, I have glanced into this topic, and it does appear that non-representational art is being talked about a little more than it used to be. However, there's more information about where art has gone in the past, than where it is going currently. There's an interesting article from the Huffington Post that addresses some of these ideas. It talks about how artists all want to push the avant garde including the use of non-representational subject matter.  But it doesn't explain everything, and I think that this is a topic worth thinking more about.


Veg said...

Wow! Great blog, very thoughtful. Lots for me to think about, too. I'm going to start looking at art around me more, with an informed perspective.

Unknown said...

Thanks .... Happy to help!

Brian K. said...

Interesting reflection and insightful. Much to think about.