Artists Coop explores human form in joint exhibit

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September 12th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Three artists examine the human form in BARE: naked truth opening at the Artists Cooperative Gallery tomorrow. The Reader’s Sally Deskins has this review.

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A year ago, Artists Cooperative Gallery member Travis Apel proposed curating a show on the theme of the human figure.

“Flow” by Lori Elliott-Bartle.

The idea was atypical for the gallery that usually features concurrent solo exhibitions, but three artists showed interest. So, in the following twelve months, Apel along with painters Dar Vande Voort and Lori Elliott-Bartle intensely created new work for BARE: naked truth.

The resulting exhibit shows various approaches to the longstanding theme in art history stylistically and philosophically.

Painter Elliott-Bartle utilized the nude form to explore universal themes of loss, grief, change, fear, love, comfort, intimacy and joy. In “Flow,” a large oil painting of a woman alone holding a towel over her front, with her hair covering her eyes and stagnant pursed lips, a feeling of isolation and vulnerability is emitted. Elliott-Bartle also plunged into her own vulnerabilities with a series of self-portraits.

Dar Vande Voort, known for her paintings utilizing tiny puzzle pieces for texture, approached the theme surrealistically, with haunting abstract figures in dreamlike atmospheres like a dark, smoky, overflowing cocktail glass. In “The Peeler and the Piece,” an acrylic painting, a lone, shapely hyper realistic carrot-peeler lies next to a seemingly wooden tiny puzzle piece, perhaps referring to our ever-perfecting yet shrinking human selves.

“The Peeler and the Piece” by Dar Vande Voort.

Travis Apel uses the human figure as a metaphor; the body as a means to an end—the body as a vehicle driven by a separate entity. Many of his steel works take on deeper psychological intent. For example in “Patri-Dish,” an abstract sculpture featuring round discs being held together by cylindrical pieces coming together in a sort of spider-like form. According to the artist, the composition depicts a subject inside a laboratory petri dish containing orders given by a dark overlooking figure. An abstract caricature of a patriarch, the piece is meant to express criticism of how Apel views institutions founded by men that subjugate people worldwide.

Along with the trio of artists’ work, the exhibit will also include new pieces created by various Cooperative member artists related to the nude theme. The featured artists will host a live demonstration Sept. 19 and Drink n Draw Sept. 20.

BARE: naked truth opens Sept. 13 at the Artists Cooperative Gallery in the Old Market and runs through Sept. 29.

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