This month you can see the works of LHUP’s Art Faculty at the Station Gallery near Downtown Lock Haven. Professors Jason Bronner, Ray Heffner, and Vance McCoy opened the gallery on Friday to a sizable crowd.
Jason Bronner’s collection of paintings are actually re-imaginings of paintings seen on Greek and Roman pottery. Formally, they are frescoes and are painted on plaster. The paintings have been distressed to give the illusion of age and displacement; the rough edges of the works suggest that they have been ripped from the wall of an ancient building. Bronner says that the inspiration for the work was a recent visit to Italy where some of the surviving frescoes of Pompeii can be seen. Bright teals, salmons, and deep purples give the paintings a contemporary edge, suggesting whimsical modern interpretations of the classical myths and designs. One of the works depicts Hercules coaxing the three-headed Cerberus but the scene is splashed over with thick paint and polka-dot pattern that recalls Lichtenstein. The paintings also play with mark-making. Viewers can see the artist’s process in the marks left behind the subject of the painting and the unintended marks give the paintings a historical resonance.
Vance McCoy’s pottery and wooden sculptures fit nicely with the painted works, though they evoke a different period. The vessels are glazed partially with reflective glaze, and partially with a matte forest green which gives them a strong tactile quality and suggests durability. A unique piece at the gallery is McCoy’s “Slab Construction Teapot”. The teapot is geometric, but also highly animated. It gives the viewer the impression that it could walk away on it’s four legs at any moment. The piece is sturdy and practical and has more character than one would normally assign to a teapot. The wooden sculptures are also highly-animated. Called “Mechanisms” they are geometric pieces that evoke finely balanced machinery. Three of the works are painted brightly and feature arching metal rods. McCoy says that his goal with these sculptures was to create a three-dimensional Kandinsky. Two other “Mechanism” pieces contain found objects and resemble the post-industrial monoliths that Pennsylvanians are accustomed to seeing in old rail-yards and along highways. These sculptures have a darker demeanor, connoting hard labor and repetition of movement.
Ray Heffner has brought his atmospheric sketches to the gallery. The sketches depict dream-like architecture in charcoal. Most of the sketches show structures that are reminiscent of gothic cathedrals. The expansive, dusky interiors are illuminated by window light. The mark-making is rough, and suggests industry and city-planning. Two of the pieces are colorful pastel works of similar subjects. The muted primary colors bring to light the fact that these drawings are studies in composition and balance. Bridge-like structures and tunnels also appear in the work, along with a few dark figures. Heffner says that most of his work is figurative, and that this collection is a departure, but a few figures have managed to find their way in. Some of these forms appear in boats headed for an unknown destination. Though the sketches recall architectural drawings, they are not rendered from life, and came directly from the mind of the artist.
The show will on display until November 8.