Monday, April 14, 2008
Graphica at the Butler Art Center
We’ve all heard—a picture is worth a thousand words—but for truly effective graphics the reciprocal can also be true. If the words and the images are mutually dependent then the combined effect will be greater than the sum of the individual parts. This is the case and the underlying theme at “Graphica”, the current show at the Art Center in Butler. Several years ago one of the guilds at the PCA hosted a similar exhibit—words and images—the Butler holds up very well in comparison.
The exhibitors in Butler range from high school students to seasoned professionals, the works from photographs and paintings to computer graphic design. Since the message and the media are so completely integrated in this type of show, I took special notice of those pieces that had an important and relevant theme and conveyed it in bold manner.
Louise Pappageorge’s “Flawed Logic” is a collage piece and makes a statement on many levels. The subtext--that society sets unrealistic goals for young girls in the standard that it sets for physical appearance. The use of glossy fashion magazines as a source for visual material only tends to reinforce this premise. The woman’s face, composed in a jigsaw puzzle effect is sadly reminiscent of the work of the plastic surgeon. And the captions further reveal the tragically unattainable ideal. “Think Before You Drink” is an advocacy poster by Joanie Wilson. The psychedelic imagery has the aura of the impaired perception brought on by alcohol. This is carried through in the style of type and even the bottle brings to mind the Absolut campaign.
Bill Perry is an accomplished watercolorist and a regular exhibitor at the Art Center. His Operation Iraqi Freedom trilogy grewout of his habit of working while watching news reports. The images he saw on the small screen gradually worked their way into his paintings. “The Combatants” is a multicultural montage
that takes us back several years and helps us reflect on the aftermath of those events. David (Bowman X) Wintermute has several pieces in the show that blend ideas of ethics and aesthetics with modern technology. His portrait of Ludwig Wittgenstein includes the quote: “The facts that the elements of a picture are related to one another in a determinate way represents that things are related to one another in the same way.” I hadn’t been to the Art Center for almost a year and I was impressed by the changes they’ve made. The physical changes—remodeling and improvements to the exhibition space were immediately recognizable. More importantly, the quality of the art and the professionalism of the organization represent great strides forward. As artists we all contribute and support our culture and society. I believe “Graphica” is an important step for the Butler Arts Center in acknowledging a creative art climate through education, exhibition and promotion of freedom of expression.