Didn’t Mom tell you not to judge a book by its cover? Did your teacher say that art is about revealing inner reality? Artist Sue Roberts upholds both these maxims in her pointed and funny show “Family of Sorts” currently at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center. (You can click on any image to see an enlargement.)
Attracted to “story” as I am, I was immediately drawn to this show (and gratified to see that artist has just ignored the vilifications which were heaped on visual narrative in my art school days). Beyond the story, though, I was attracted to the painterly excellence applied to the ceramic work. The artist doubles the intent of the work by skillfully adding semi-opaque 2-D layers which amplify the normal 3-D features of the work. In the case of “The Gun Family”, the underpainting and overpainting on the surface gives a subtle and most appropriate grit-and-glitter result to this social commentary on interpretations of the Second Amendment.
The artist uses another technique which adds meaning to her stories: Some of the work has a homespun look.
In “The Pleaser” the costume conveys this meaning. But also, the dry and unsophisticated feel of the surface emphasizes by calling into question the complex maneuvering required for being a successful “pleaser”.
Compare that to
“Talons” which for the most part is polished with a coat of encaustic (a beeswax and resin concoction applied with heat). The resulting seductive surface adds another layer of meaning to the “story”, especially where it contrasts with the unpolished “skin” of the talons.
In “Oblivion” the artist treats the ceramic surface with what appears to be more established glazing techniques. The colors and surfaces are less subtle, the story more specific. What contemporary person does not recognize this chap who is oblivious to his world and to the oblivion in the falls ahead?
If you are in the area, go see the show. It is up until March 15, 2015. There is a master class with the artist on March 14. Find out all about it at pafac.org.
1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Leave time to see the sculpture garden! More about that to come