Scrap Exchange and Art Guild Present Excellent Group Shows
The Herald Sun – by Blue Greenberg
"In downtown Durham the Art Guild is hosting its annual members’ show and the work is as diverse as Durham’s population. A members’ show is one of the perks of Guild membership and because the Arts Council building, where they are a big presence, is open seven days a week, each artist has an unbelievable stage.
This year, Catherine Howard, director of Cary Visual Arts, was guest curator; she chose four artists for Merit Awards; the fifth award is a visitor’s choice. As I walked around the gallery I was struck by two things: one was the continued presence of artists who have been working for years and still support their home organization. Names like Katherine Armacost, Jim Kellough, Emily Weinstein, and Freeman Beard stand out because of their continued dedication to their art and their loyalty to the Art Guild. The other thing I enjoy is to see how today’s artists have studied their art ancestors and use them as springboards for their own unique imaginings. Shades of Picasso, Joseph Cornell, and even the Roman sculptors of ancient times have their disciples in this show.
My favorite object is Bryan Allyn’s “53 Million,” a portrait of an African American, on a background of American currency, and presented in an ornate gold frame. The artist comments on the super-rich and how they present themselves, except the subject is not white but a man of color. Allyn’s idea, with his own twist, evokes Kehinde Wiley’s portraits of young black men positioned as heroes in paintings of the past.
I liked David Gallaty’s “Cherry Tree, Duke Gardens”; Joe Coates’ “If you Love Something,” an open bird cage with a golden creature on the top; and two photographs, Mark Jackman’s “Party Animals” and Michael Rosenberg’s “Church, Field and Track.” James Fatata’s “Shaun,” a bust head of a proud man, is one of some excellent 3-D pieces. Among them are Natalie Boorman’s pot, “Blue/Rust Vessel,” Kitty Sherwin’s clay figure that looks like bronze, and Jean Cheely’s glass sushi set.
One of the special things about this exhibit was the number of sold dots. My advice to my students has always been “buy an original from a local artist rather than a reproduction of something famous.” It is the way to begin a collection. Constantly looking at art and local shows is the way to begin. Buy what you like. Get to know the artist, follow him or her. As you look and sometimes buy, you will become more comfortable with your own taste and you will have the added joy of knowing you are helping support the arts."