By Ash Saraga
WORCESTER – In the early days of February, the ARTSWorcester gallery in downtown Worcester opened its doors to the Eighth Annual Juried Colleges of Worcester Consortium Art Exhibit. This show is a unique blend of paint, sculpture and photography by a number of young artists studying at schools around the city.
The collection is an eclectic presentation of pieces from rising artists. As you begin to tour the gallery, you notice a raw and edgy recurring theme found in each piece that you can only really find in works by younger artists. The feeling that you’re seeing a career in action, as it really begins to take off is extraordinary, as it allows you to appreciate the beautiful artwork to an even fuller extent.
“Fear,” by artist Victoria Grogan, is a seemingly simplistic piece at first glance, but a second look reveals an immense detailing in Grogan’s use of color and brush stroke as a pair of wide, hazel eyes strike out at you, startled. The mixture of colors found in the iris is what really drew me to this painting. They are gorgeous blends of brown, blue and green that captivate their audience. Grogan so accurate captures the unmistakable look of fear.
An honorable mention from the show went to Michael Auth’s “Pomegranate 3,” a photography print done with gelatin silver (a black and white, photo development process). Auth rendered a highly detailed photo of the inside of a pomegranate that catches your eye, and keeps it. The intricacy of the seeds and pit will have you exploring the photo for ages, trying to take in every facet.
One of the most clever and resourceful pieces was Brook Gruber’s “Albert.” Using an old hardback novel, Gruber cut out and painted in a gramophone opposite the portrait of a redheaded man, who simply appears to be enjoying the music. There was both great creativity and talent put into this piece, as can be seen in the delicate carving of the gramophone into the pages of the novel.
Marcy Kenney is responsible for the most evocative piece, a digital print called “Touch 1.” Many pieces in the gallery made strong statements, but “Touch 1” uses simplicity to create a strong feeling of connection between artist, model and patron — a kind of human solidarity. It is the image of a man’s hand on a woman’s bare thigh, nothing more. But in capturing a moment, one that is almost universal despite culture or heritage, Kenney is able to touch the heart of every patron who sees her work.
The first place winner of this show was Paul Kinsky, for his algorithmic sculpture “North American Ghost Rhino.” Kinsky developed his own algorithm is order to create a large-scale, rhino’s head mask, made from more than 100 uniquely-shaped triangles. These triangles are made of corrugated plastic, and held together with acrylic clips. Kinsky has since made plans to perfect and publicly release his algorithm online, so that others may use it. The algorithm is capable of making almost any shape with a low enough polygon count — in addition to his Rhino, Kinsky had also used it to make a dolphin and eagle.
The Colleges of Worcester Consortium Art Exhibit will be on display until March 2, and is free and open to the public. Many of the pieces on display are also for sale, making a wonderful addition to any art collection, and a nice contribution to a rising artist. ARTSWorcester’s next show, “T-Minus Worcester to the Moon” — a collection of art celebrating Worcester’s numerous contributions to the Space Race, begins in April.
(The Eighth Annual Juried Colleges of Worcester Consortium Art Exhibit continues through March 2 at ARTSWorcester, 660 Main Street at the Aurora, Worcester, Mass. Call 508-755-5142 for gallery times.)