This year’s Spring Show at the Water Street Studios Gallery at 160 South Water Street in downtown Batavia is guest curated by Jenny Lam, recipient of the 2013 City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Individual Artists Program Grant for her project Dreams of a City.
Lam curated a tight exhibition with twenty artists, identifying a unifying interest in texture, be it real or implied. The best of show award went to Bart Woodstrup for Dig Yourself, a series of laser-cut drawings that explore the collapse of the rustbelt industrial infrastructure. Honorable mentions went to Steve Clevenger’s Are We Having Fun Yet?, James Jenkins’ Miao, and Peter Kenar’s Two Faces Two Blemished.
Jenkins’ studio is located at Batavia’s Water Street Studios, an artist’s co-op. He produces both fine and functional art that evolves organically and combines his expertise in welding, woodworking, mechanical engineering, electrical wiring, computer graphics, painting, and drawing with a quixotic sense of humor. Miao is Jenkins’ model for an over-sized rodent trap in which a pressure plate engages a sledgehammer through a system of springs and triggers. The pressure plate sits over a wooden base shaped like an old fashioned wood coffin.
Peter Kenar works in bronze, wood, and body fluids, creating figural sculpture inspired by and infused with Eastern European Catholic rituals and traditions. Two Faces Two Blemished creates a sacred space by combining references to Gothic church architecture and relics. The weathered and dark appearance of the blackened wood appears somewhat menacing and morbid, as does the skeletal form in the central panel. The carved and chalk-written text ads textural richness and depth to the work.
Clevenger’s Are We having Fun Yet is also a figural sculpture. It consists of a realistically clay-sculpted nude male figure contorted in a tortured position in a metal cage, with one hand sticking out of a small door in the side of the wire cage and holding a plastic wind pinwheel.
Also notable in the exhibition is are the non-representational, geometric sculptural ceramic works by Christina Warzecha, who builds form by creating lattice works of clay “beams” that are both stacked and woven together.
The Spring Show at Batavia’s Water Street Galleries is on view through June 28, 2014. Regular Gallery Hours are Monday, Thursday, and Saturday10 a.m. till 2 p.m., Friday 5 p.m. till 9 p.m., and Sunday noon till 4 p.m. Do call ahead before going to see the exhibition as Water Street Studios does rent out the gallery fro private events such as weddings, and they do not post these closures to their website. The gallery phone is 630 761 9977.