More than just a way: Quad City Wood Turners Club and Jeff Stevenson at Quad City International Airport through December

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David Johnson “Missing Pieces #7”David Johnson’s vase is missing large chunks.

This vase is on display at the Quad City Arts exhibit currently on display at the Quad City International Airport. Missing piece #7 Although symmetrical, there are cavities that appear to have been formed naturally by the growth and decay of the tree. The jagged, random edges reflect the speckled rings of the wood grain, but Johnson has varnished the entire surface, making it look both broken and new at the same time. This vase is not suitable for its ostensible purpose and seems to question the relationship between craft, aesthetics, and functionality. This is a work that makes excellent use of the material wood.

The show, which runs through December, features two works: a selection from the Quad Cities Wood Turners Club and a mixed media piece by Jeff Stevenson. While wood turners use a relatively limited technique of working with wood in a functional context, Stevenson uses a wide range of media, from magazines to encaustics. His two components of the exhibition are different, but both push the boundaries of technique. The best woodwork (such as Johnson’s vases) has visual and technical depth, and Stevenson’s strongest works, even though diverse, are thematically and visually coagulated. Matter threatens chaos.

When choosing a craft technique such as wood turning, an artist strives for a different goal than a pure “fine artist” such as a painter or sculptor. The emphasis on technique and skill is the same, but different rules of aesthetics apply. Their work may be evocative, referential, or communicative, but it is always viewed through a functional lens.

Many of the Turners developed distinctive styles that repeated silhouettes, wood types, or textural approaches. Lindell Anthony, for example, has three of her architecturally inspired ships on display. The three containers have symmetrical knobs and bulging lids, influenced by the domes and spiers atop buildings in the Middle East and Russia. Bill McKitty’s wares also pay homage to artisans from other cultures. All of his works are dyed or inlaid with bands of repeating geometric shapes and lines surrounding the center of the pot, with thin bands near his mouth and feet. This use of repeating stripes is reminiscent of the linear decoration of ancient Greek pottery and the shapes around Native American vases. These works demonstrate how crafts, often with ancient roots, can preserve and revitalize the aesthetics of other cultures.

Gene Vincent

The other works on display are not reference works or works of art, but demonstrate a deep understanding of contemporary design. round but square For example, Gene Vincent’s work combines craftsmanship, functionality, and style. The bottom of this bowl is round, but its edges are flat and flare into a precise square. Vincent cleverly uses wood as a medium by incorporating the straight, linear grain of the wood into the perfectly square top of the bowl. This piece may not be as “artsy” as the others, but it offers a more sophisticated design feel.

Steve Sinner and Joe Mayage, “Hickory Vase”The most interesting pieces in the show embrace the unique aspects of wood, such as color, grain, and organic imperfections, making them an integral part of the form. Most of her 30-odd ships in this show have demonstrated this technique to some extent, but only a quarter of hers are fully successful. First impressions of Steve Sinner and Joe Meirhaeghe hickory vase It’s a function of its size (about 2 feet tall) and seemingly perfect symmetry. But the large, dark shapes of the wood grain really draw the viewer in. These clumps contrast with the light wood in the center of the vase and with the medium tones of the wavy bands of wood grain. Artists recreated this dark color by dyeing the top and bottom of the vase a similar color. This work shows that turning techniques, surface decoration, and initial selection of materials are equally important for the success of wooden vessels.

Jeff Stevenson’s relatively chaotic art creates a sharp contrast with the smooth, elegant outlines of the tree shapes. His mixed media two-dimensional works include materials such as oil, charcoal, pencil, collage, assemblage, paint and his markers. Stevenson explores the use of found materials, symbolic imagery, and non-representational surface treatments while addressing social issues and personal stories. These diverse materials and his visual style give his paintings visual pop, and the series of images provides many references and ideas for the viewer. However, some of his works cross the line into chaos.

Stevenson’s powerful work is titled “Half Oil Painting, Half Assembly.” respect. On the left side of the image is a realistic upper body portrait of a man standing with his arms lightly crossed over his chest and his hand on his collarbone. Although he appears naked, he is wearing a backwards baseball cap and has a large tattoo on his arm depicting the word “Respect.” This man’s goatee, sideburns, hat, and tattoos all mark him as a modern man who fits into a slightly alternative “tough guy” culture. However, his gentle expression and upward gaze give an impression of calm and piety. To the right of the piece is an assemblage containing magazines, silver plates, and Victorian children’s illustrations. While the magazine may refer to the man’s supposed interests, the cooking and illustrations suggest a softer, more homely side. The objects were chosen wisely, with clear social relevance and an interesting relationship to the oil painting. respect It gives rise to multiple related interpretations, such as the conflict between self and social image, the conflict between masculinity and respectability, and the conflict between desire and responsibility.

Jeff Stevenson

chemistry The strong unity of color, shape, and texture is initially appealing. The old paper folded into concentric circles and rectangles on the left matches the faded cover of an old chemistry textbook on the top right. The shape of the plate in the upper left matches the picture of two men in the oval frame in the lower right. The light and warm wooden frame tightens the whole thing. The piece is conceptually interesting, as viewers notice that the two men’s faces are only millimeters apart, their eyes seemingly closed, and it appears they are about to kiss. I notice. Despite approaching intimate moments, the men are not depicted as flowery or emotional, and the images seem more clinical than erotic. The word “Chemistry” in bold above the tampered textbook (title changed) chemistry and you to Chemistry: me and you) mentions romantic chemistry along with scientific fields. The link between science and homosexuality seems to hint at the debate over whether sexual orientation is a choice or an innate quality, and perhaps the age of textbooks reflects how knowledge and attitudes change over time. It probably reflects what you are doing.

Jeff Stevenson

In these works, Stevenson’s choice and treatment of media strongly aligns with the theme. Other works, particularly his small-scale mixed media pieces for LP covers, are full of fascinating visual textures and motifs that design him, but they seem conceptually meandering. These are certainly visually dynamic – radial explosions of collaged lines of text. fruitsFor example, organically collaged shapes. inheritance – However, it is difficult to establish connections between some of the drawn objects. Although cryptic or nonspecific images can function as works of art when used within a well-established visual or conceptual framework, some of Stevenson’s work has a distinct The absence of a theme only frustrated this viewer. I’d like to see him develop a visual style that more consistently complements his ideas about modern culture.

Michelle Garrison is a mixed media artist who teaches art and design at Geneseo Middle School and J.D. Darnell High School. She can be reached at

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