Buster Levi Gallery is pleased to present Perceived/Constructed a multi media exhibit that focuses on interpretations of reality evident in everyday experiences. This show includes paintings, photography, ready-mades and sculpture by John Allen, Tim D’Acquisto, Grace Kennedy, Bill Kooistra, Ann Provan, Ursula Schneider and Lucille Tortora.

Grace Kennedy’s paintings in this show are from her series Road Kill. The sources for each of these paintings are he roads near Kennedy’s home and studio. They are empty except for the dead animal in the lower foreground of each painting. An all too familiar occurrence in our daily life that is both unexpected and sad in a painting. The season in each is winter and Kennedy’s painterly handling of somber colors, dead trees, and melting snow enhance a feeling of loss and despair. They are not decorative or ‘pretty’ landscapes, but rather works that are intended to force the viewer to notice death and hopefully react to it on an emotional level.

Tim D’Acquisto also paints a subject familiar to him, chairs and tables from a room in his home. The spirit of the work could not be more different. D’Aquisto describes his process; “I (he) began to play with the idea that representative objects are not just static in space, namely tables and chairs and they can be influenced accidental unconscious bumping and shifting their position and so not being noticed by the eye”. The background in the painting may at first look like wallpaper; however, numerous colors and small white chairs appear to float over the tables. Furthermore, rather than creating believable depth and atmosphere as Kennedy does, D’Acquisto flattens all of his objects using light and bright colors into shapes that climb the wall in the background rather than overlap it in depth. Finally, D’Acquisto places real chair in front of the painting so that the contrast of artifice and reality are heightened. 

In his work, John Allen is also involved with everyday subject matter. In this case it is a common garden shovel hanging on a wall, as it would in a garage or storage shed. However, Allen and his wife Susan draped the shovel in cloth that was carefully sewn around it. There is no manipulation of the actual shovel, which is hung as it normally would, but the draping transforms it into an object of contemplation, an artwork that is humorous or a commentary on the potential of the everyday object as an artwork in a way similar to Marcel Duchamp.

Another approach to common experiences is evident in Lucille Tortora’s photographs. In this exhibition, nearly identical photographs of the moon casting a somewhat blurred streak of light over a body of water are assembled into a photomontage consisting of five nearly identical images. As Tortora states; “While I am interested in in the individual photographs, I am more focused on their reconstruction”. The result of her reconstruction is to push the image that clearly references its source toward abstraction.

Bill Kooistra’s “Road/Sky Paintings” translate real experiences into abstract images. In this case, the sky and road are painted on separate panels and then reassembled together. They combine vertical sections of a larger field of vision of the sky and road and to focus on their textural implications: thus the paint handling of the sky is softer than the road. Additionally, each panel has been painted with little attempt to create atmospheric perspective therefore emphasizing the abstract potential of their combination.

Ann Provan’s sculpture explores the relationship between an abstract object and its source in reality further. Provan states; “I am investigating three-dimensional painting where the physical shapes of the sculpture are combined and contrasted with the painted shapes, to create some illusions of form in space and surprises as you walk around the work”. Her geometric painted designs recall the brightly colored signal flags used by ships. As she thought about the work, its general shape suggested the boats people were using as they traveled to Europe from Syria, Africa and the Middle East. Provan states; “I was thinking about them risking their lives to transition to a new life as I worked on this piece. I called this piece Lifeboat, as a meditation on art, transformation, and survival.”

The attempt to capture an experience, in this case observed is the subject of Ursula Schneider’s painting “Visiting Hours.” Schneider describes the painting, as ”… a series of hospital hallways, painted in grey tones including architectural details and objects in the individual spaces. These are stacked vertically on top of one another with a darker band on either side giving the appearance of a filmstrip.” Once again the focus is not on reproducing an exact scene or image, but rather an interpretation of a personal experience or series of experiences juxtaposed together to create an emotional response.

The opening reception will be on Saturday, January 2, 2016, from 6-8pm. The show will run through Sunday, January 31, 2016. Buster Levi Gallery is open on Saturday from 12 pm to 6pm through the month of January.