Viewers are likely to be optimistic about current artistic practice after leaving Spotlights at Rebekah Templeton. Although Spotlights is not curated based on a thematic idea, the exhibition from independent curator Jon Lutz showcases emerging talent through June 18.

Jacque Liu’s Tigeriffic deceivingly presents itself as one, unified sculpture. Orange, horizontal stripes are visible through a piece of translucent mylar. Continuing the artist’s exploration of two and three dimensions, the painted stripes appear to bend at each folded crease and merge with the protruding form.

Secret Thanksgiving #9 (stinging nettle) is Benjamin Gardner’s effort to ward off the anxieties of the annual, social gathering. Gardner appropriates text from Pow-Wows: Or, Long Lost Friend, a collection of Pennsylvania Dutch healing practices associated with the shamanistic religion. Inscribing the phrase “FROM ALL FEAR AND FANCIES” on a collection of decorative tablecloths, Gardner hopes to gain the purported power of stinging nettle and survive Thanksgiving.

Composed of illuminated, plastic shopping bags, Rhonda’s Bags from Tim Eads takes aim at the glittering promise of consumerism. Each store’s logo becomes a glowing advertisement, while the cheap, disposable quality of the bags points to a more pedestrian experience.

Untitled (Stare at the Sun) from Dante Lentz recalls the physical sensation of hazy vision. The yellow flower becomes a point of fixation against the muted palette. Bringing to mind an image of the sun, the work provides an opportunity to stare without experiencing physical pain.

Amy Chan’s billowy, cloud-like formation, Snowdrop defies gravity and logic. Feathers, acorns, twigs and greenery emerge from the snow pile to announce the changing season. The halo of color surrounding the pile suggests the frenzied anticipation for spring and the renewed focus on all things environmental.

Given(s) from Jane Fox Hipple entices the viewer with two nail-size peepholes. Her use of successive layers of paint partially masks the layers underneath. Only the bottom right-hand corner is visible, but this small area and the even smaller peepholes is not enough to satisfy the viewer’s curiosity.

Eleanna Anagnos’ Powderhorn is a testament to the moments of frustration and clarity in the artist’s work process. The plaster wall sculpture resembles a crinkled ball of paper that has been unrolled and recovered like a salvaged idea. At first glance, the sculpture seems to be lit from behind by a fluorescent pink light. However, the color is actually being reflected onto the wall by the paint on the other side of the plaster. With this simple gesture, the work seems to celebrate the artist’s work process.

Leah Tacha’s collages mock our obsession with glamour, celebrity, and athleticism. Covered with glitter, the faces of the figures become obscured and the ridiculous character of their bodily gestures is revealed.

In Fresh White Tee, Daniel Petraitis humorously deals with the frustration of maintaining the new. Using paint and plaster, the artist makes the whitiest t-shirt possible. Preserved in plaster, the work points to the dissatisfaction with inevitable deterioration.

 

Ursula Hertz Sternberg

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