Visual Arts

Gallery Hop exemplifies progression of changes in art world

Did you know that, not too long ago, horses were thought to have all four legs extended outwards at full gallop? This stretched-out pose was common in artworks (and can be seen by Googling Alfred Pinkham Ryder's eerie work The Race Track), but artists and the equine industry argued about its absolute truthfulness in depicting a horse's movements. Then, in 1878, pioneering English photographer Eadweard Muybridge captured a horse in full gallop using motion-capture photography techniques. It showed that all four horse hooves do indeed leave the ground, but they're tucked under the body. Known as The Horse in Motion, Muybridge's photographs changed the visual expression of the horse, conforming the active painted image to photography's frozen moment.

That's an interesting story, but it also proves a useful point. From canvas and paint to LCD screens and pixels, the evolution of the image has changed from Muybridge's day — even from that of the start of our own lifetimes — and, in fact, is constantly changing. However, as some things change, it all remains the same: a running horse is a running horse (of course, of course) and technology's influence on art doesn't make a work more “correct,” but it prompts our visual vocabulary to be current and up to date with today's mind-set. For example, we might be enchanted with Victorian ideas of love, but that period doesn't exactly provide a visual equivalent for being getting dumped over the phone.

For Friday's Gallery Hop, the last one of the calendar year, moving from gallery to gallery will be active participation in the evolution of the image, allowing us to update our view of ourselves and the world, one picture at a time.

Laurie S. Bottoms Gallery at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning: Mixed-media artist Ron Davis describes himself on his MySpace page as “a digital collagist = this is computer art.” However, the medium isn't the message of his colorful amalgamations of images — it's a conveyance of attitude.

Davis' exhibit, titled under his pseudonym upfromsumdirt, brings together ideas of race and ancestry with contemporary notions of expectations and conscious ability.

“Much of our contemporary work imitates what's been already said/done/did/etc.,” he writes. “Do we still believe in messages in our art? Have we lost the ability to inspire each other into new directions?” Through his surrealistic giclée prints, Davis prompts questions of black identity within an ever-expanding notion of art outside the box.

Gallerie Soleil: As a painter, Lexington artist Lennon Michalski uses a traditional medium to express contemporary outlooks on that eternal problem: emotional battles.

For the exhibit Loss of Control: A Fortunate Beginning, Michalski writes: “I am interested in displaying the build-up of aggression in a relationship when two people discover their personal interests and agendas are at odds with one another.”

His work provides literal and emotional metaphors of modern strife through amusing, though slightly disturbing, figural images and abstracted shapes. Together, they combine to display an emotionally charged power struggle, one that is battled out in highly colorful, overlarge expressions of the post-millennial personality.

Gloria Singletary Gallery at the Living Arts and Science Center: Established in the 1930s, Lexington's Creative Camera Club is one of the oldest photography clubs in the country and has seen a particularly strong resurgence in membership with the advent of digital photography. The group hosts monthly competitions, but its annual show features the year's standout photographs.

This year's Creative Camera Club's 38th Annual Print Competition and Exhibition consists of more than 120 works by the club's members, from flora and fauna, portraits and still-lifes to sports and creative abstract works.

Noteworthy this year is a “wild card” category of micro/macro photography.

“We wanted to tie into the themed exhibition, Our Small World, in the LASC Learning Room,” says former club president John Snell, who was a best-in-show winner in the competition.

In these extreme close-up shots of the small world of insects and flowers, the exhibit revitalizes our sense of space and existence, providing an ever-expanding viewpoint of our place in the world.

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