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Four perspectives exploring landscape at the Olson-Larsen Galleries

Annual Landscape Show, Olson-Larsen Galleries

June 1, 2012 - July 14, 2012

Annual Landscape Show installation shot 

Review by guest contributor Chad Michael Cox

June 7, 2012

The Annual Landscape Show at Olson-Larsen Galleries, featuring Barbara Fedeler, Bobbie McKibbin, Stuart Klipper, and Eugenie Torgerson, generally steers clear of the traditional Midwest farm and barn scenes. Instead, the viewer is treated to wide open prairies, defining landmarks (a telephone pole in the middle of a bayou, tank cars stopped in a corn field), and a remarkable sense of movement. In particular, Klipper’s photograph, Colorado River From Point Imperial, North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, with a weaving angle enhanced by the river below, gives the viewer a sense of falling off a cliff – so real, in fact, you may find yourself stepping sideways to regain your balance.

Annual Landscape Show installation shot 

Beyond a simple replication of Midwest landscapes, the Olson-Larsen display provides interpretations of color. Standard browns greet the viewer upon entering, but they are quickly swept away by the green pastels of McKibbin’s works which often place the viewer at the bottom of a hill looking upward without the need to see the other side. We are comfortable exploring the details of Lit Lane I, the weightless shadows, or the elevated tree line that seems to be ascending toward the heavens as though the trees have been freed from their roots. From there the viewer moves into the back portion of the gallery where a series of willow charcoal drawings by Fedeler strips away everything we know about prairie landscapes, leaving only the movement of the hills and the undercurrent of shadows. North of Hubbard Hill offers a swirling maelstrom in the distance, slowly altering the rolling topography, everything we’ve seen and taken for granted as we travel along Iowa highways. Finally, the viewer is introduced to Torgerson’s golden hues and remarkable use of material layering. On the Verge of Everything has eight layers of fascinating and varied texture underneath a subtle expanse of sky and earth. Her rich pastels collide at a lowered horizon, highlighting majestic clouds without sacrificing a solid foundation.

The show, which runs through July 14th, offers a worthwhile view of our landscapes. It doesn’t ask questions so much as it offers four perspectives, and in so doing it manages to reveal a fresh layer of earth.

Chad Michael Cox is an award winning author whose work has appeared in numerous publications including: Modern Dickens Project, Sleet Magazine, Splash of Red, and Prick of the Spindle. He is also a photographer, storyteller, and curator proudly associated with, and supporting, local arts and culture organizations in Des Moines, Iowa. His work explores universal languages, focusing on stories we share as a global community, finding beauty within the chaos of our world. To learn more about his work please browse his website at www.cmichaelcox.com or contact him via email at CMichaelCox@q.com