by Bob Bahr, PV Arts Council member
It's always fun to ponder what an artist is saying with her or his art. Is that a horse from a cave painting? Is that guitar exploding into bright colors a celebration of…what? Who are these squirrels bearing gifts?
It's fun, but possibly doomed. Artists often don't want to say, or don't completely know why, they chose this motif or that material. The show currently on view at the R. G. Endres Gallery, in the Prairie Village Municipal Offices, offers plenty of chances for the visitor to contemplate the vision three very different artists present.
Amanda McCollum prints her digital art on 9 1/2" x 9 1/2" canvases, offering portholes into her vision of charismatic animals, handsome humans, and Art Deco flourishes. The saturated colors of vibrant flower blossoms hint at the mood or personality of models bathed in colored light in some pieces. Birds, in other pieces, suggest peace, predation, prettiness. Squirrels bear gifts of nosegays, foxes and wolves lounge in beauty. The effect is old, new, modern as a digital device and classic as a Tiffany window.
Heather L. Lowe muddies the waters separating abstract art and representational painting,
turning a wolf into a flurry of colorful confetti, confronting the viewer with a white canvas with
vertical slashes and smears that are quite possibly birds on a wire. An imposing trio of large
canvases seems utterly abstract until one notes the suggestions of water ripples in one piece, and
the unmistakable triangles of sailboats bent in the wind.
Janice Schoultz Mudd paints with acrylics, but affixes every manner of things onto the surfaces of her paintings. Sometimes these elements, ranging from a smashed bottlecap to small crescents of rubber, from wires to molds of the textures of who-knows-what, are meant to depict something; other times, they are merely the right element to enhance Mudd's compositions. Coastlines and harbors emerge, street blocks are suggested, ancient boats/dragons offer dangers in her map world. Each piece offers much food for thought.
So feed your mind. It's easy to visit the exhibition -- it's a mere stroll through the municipal building on Mission Road. The show featuring these three artists will be on view until March 1.
Bob Bahr is a member of the Prairie Village Arts Council. He has written about visual art for several national magazines. He lives with his family in Prairie Village and paints a variety of subjects. He wishes there were a NYC-style bodega in the Shops.