Eye on the Storm opened last Friday night at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery. The art is this exhibition provides a fascinating survey of the ways in which twenty emerging to mid-career artists interpret the disruptive, disjointed and dismaying information age in which we live today.
Artist and writer D. Dominick Lombardi curated the show. "I've organized the works for this exhibition into three separate groups," Lombardi told the opening night audience during his 7:00 p.m. Gallery Talk. "Just like any storm, there's the calm that comes beforehand and the aftermath that follows. But the storm can manifest itself in many ways."
Among the artists that Lombardi chose to illustrate the storm is Fort Myers' own Marcus Jansen. “It is seldom that you find a painter who combines technical skill and expertise with a profound sense of purpose and a truly unique awareness of the world,” writes art critic Justin Ferraro.
"Jansen shares Shepard Fairey’s taste for eye-catching iconography, though with a more subtle touch," observes ArtPulse correspondent Irene Sperber. "Some of Jansen’s paintings display the hip-hop sensibility of image sampling, borrowing such recognizable figures as Mickey Mouse and the crew from The Wizard of Oz. Jansen utilizes these popular images to create a sort of political subtext to his paintings, a statement on the state of society."
And it's a blindfolded Dorothy who's featured by Jansen in The Final Walk, an immense painting that Ron Bishop hung in the gallery's anteroom to create such an imposing viewing environment that it sucks the spectator right into the scene.
"Here, [Dorothy's] four remaining senses will be assaulted, challenged and infiltrated, exposing her understanding of reality, while her hope for a happy ending fades and her anxiety grows," observes Dominick Lombardi. "Somehow she remains physically unscathed, at least for the time being, while her mind expands to grasp the newly found depth of her imagination."
It's an apt simile. Aren't we all groping our way through life as we try to make sense of the jumbled and often contradictory signals we receive in modern-day society as all our senses are assaulted, challenged and infiltrated by an endless stream of images delivered via television, movies, marketing and social media?
That's the beauty of the works Dominick Lombardi has selected for Eye on the Storm. They invite, perhaps compel, us to perceive and process the world around us in new and interesting ways as our minds expand to grasp the newly found depth of our own imaginations.
Eye on the Storm runs through April 13 at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, which is located on the Lee campus of Edison State College. For more information, please visit www.rauschenberggallery.com or telephone 239-489-9313.