Eye on the Storm opened Friday night at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery. The art is this exhibition provides a fascinating survey of the way in which twenty emerging to mid-career artists respond to 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 Friday night. "Just like any storm, there's the calm that comes beforehand and the aftermath that follows."
Lombardi chose works by Anita Arliss, Leah Oats, Holly Sears, Isak Applin and Arcady Kotler to illustrate that pre-cognizant, semi-aware state in which we sense that something is about to happen before we fully realize what it is. "It's like a bubble of unknowing, a tenuous calm on the precipice of disaster that contains innocence and trust. Think: Alan Grant's look of perplexity as he studies the water in a puddle erupt into ripples in response to the tremors sent by T-Rex's approaching footfall.
Anita Arliss illustrates this phenomenon through a haunting oil and mixed media on canvas titled Touch that depicts the stillness that so often precedes the occurrence of some disruptive event. "Arliss has that knack for bringing her audience right up to the edge," explains Lombardi, "where various levels of consciousness reside and the slightest change of our awareness spawns an endless array of scenarios."
Through Transitory Space, Prospect Park, Brookly, Leah Oats provides a more cinematic approach for understanding "how simple, everyday sequences of thoughts or events can be disrupted by subtle changes such as a rogue breeze or a sudden, unearthly quiet."
By selecting these works along with Applin's The Letter, Sear's Nightfall and Kotler's Drop, Lombardi invites us to stop, pause and consider how unseen, unpredictable and seemingly imperceptible forces routinely shatter the cadence, equilibrium and illusory peace that characterize our lives. But Lombardi carefully eschews passing judgment on whether these forces work for good or ill in our lives. It is enough that they operate to change our trajectory, our awareness, and our relationships with each other and the world in which we live.
Like lights emerging from the mist, a red sky at night or the tremors of an approaching T-Rex, this segment of Eye on the Storm delivers a subtle yet powerful message. When life seems calm, a storm approaches, so it's best to heighten our awareness and search for signs of what's about to change.
"If viewed from afar and without prejudice or worry," proffers Lombardi, "[change] is quite beautiful." Assuming, of course, you're prepared for it.
Eye on the Storm will remain on exhibition at the Rauschenberg Gallery through April 13. The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery is located on the Lee campus of Edison State College, just steps from the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center. For more information, please visit www.rauschenberggallery.com or telephone 239-489-9313.