Friday, June 12, 2009

Liz Berg - Galesburg Civic Art Center

Three hours by car from my home to Galesburg, IL. My purpose was specific, to see “in person” the art of Liz Berg. I’ve probably been following her blog since it’s inception. I should go look that up. What really got me showing up to read her BLOG every day was her month long retreat opportunity at the Texas Creativity Center, two years ago. Virginia Spiegel, another artist who’s work I particularly appreciate was there at the same time. Liz was so faithful in documenting her experience there that I was hooked. When the opportunity to see “in person”, some of the work she had produced during that time arrived I put it on my calendar and encouraged my friend, Sara to come with me. Yesterday we left at 10, arriving at the Gallery location 3hrs, 45 minutes later.

I had never been to Galesburg before, at least not in recent memory, so was not sure what to expect. I did remember that it was the birthplace of Carl Sandburg. The picture on the website is visually appealing and we found it easily enough. Just around the block is free parking with no time restrictions, a major plus. This “walk through” plaza to main street was a major surprise.

The first thing I saw was this amazing sculpture by Barry Tinsley. A few years ago I did a research paper on Louise Nevelson, so I recognized the material used. Close inspection confirmed that The Shield of Akhilleus in this lovely plaza, was in fact produced from core ten steel.

Liz worked tirelessly when she returned from that time in Texas to finish and quilt all of the work she created using both discharge and painting process. She calls the series Life Circles. It really amazed me how much life and movement she was able to generate with the removal process. Generally we artists create our work with additive techniques, like applying paints or dyes, sometimes removing some of those also, but then add more. These pieces have extremely complex imagery and prove that technique is important but the skill with which it develops is the test of an accomplished artist. The majority of Liz’s work in this exhibit is non-objective and what I tend to describe as contemporary/modern in style. The ceramic work by Mary Schuymea is functional and/or representational and conveys a similar contemporary style

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