It's not often that the also-rans are also chased.
Artists whose work was not accepted into this year's Toledo Area Artists' exhibition were courted by two shows. After no Salon des Refuses in 2008, two salons emerged this year: one at Parkwood Gallery, the other at Collingwood Art Center. Nevertheless, entries were down: to 48 at the Parkwood and about 20 at the Collingwood center. In 2007, the Salon show displayed 76 pieces.
More on this bifurcation later, but first, the art.
Creativity and technical skill in the Salon shows are often just as fine as in the TAA exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art (through Aug. 23), but each year's judges have different tastes.
Consider that Susan Mitchell, who won 2008's best of show at the TAA for her large painting of a home's interior, submitted a very comparable painting this year (the same home's interior, in fact). But it wasn't accepted, so she's showing it at the Collingwood Art Center.
The Salon show has often included pieces that are more provocative than the TAA show. Not true this year. The TAA's judges selected plenty of edgy art for the show in the big house. In comparison, Parkwood Salon constituents seem tame. The judge, Wil Clay, chose one of Jane Petitjean's paintings of a rounded woman for best of show. A cascade of colors seeps into/out of concentric circles on the side of her head in Physical Therapy and the Hole in my Brain. With a hint of Picasso, it's curvilinear and saturated with contemporary colors.
Impressive: four large stainless steel panels by Maureen Kirwen Hoffman, who achieved patinas and fashioned a large floral of blue and rusty oranges. Winning first place, it's one of three attractive metal works Hoffman, long a stone carver, is showing.
Another quartet of panels are gracefully executed by young Nate Masternak. With an Oriental feel, each panel holds three swatches of color and scattered hieroglyphs.
Patricia Healey's digital print of two white flowers against a black background is a quiet charmer, as is her snapshot of African-style baskets and beads.
Brian Heller's River Soul, a giclee (a copy), is a rosy pastel sky that suggests Van Gogh.
Renee Spillis decorated a couple of merry tabletop boxes, notably Watercolor Box, which looks like a cupboard drawer set on end and affixed with two hinged doors. It's covered with turquoise stones and wooden blocks.
Carl L. Porreca tossed in a couple of balls, each about 18 inches in diameter and assembled from scraps of new and used wood. Embedded in the darker ball are a row of adding-machine keys, children's letter blocks, and blue accents.
The Salon des Refuses is patterned after an event staged in protest by 19th-century Impressionist painters after their paintings were refused entry into a prestigious Parisian show. In Toledo nearly 20 years ago, artists who belonged to Spectrum: Friends of Fine Art, established an exhibition for the works that were snubbed by judges of the TAA show.
But last year, Spectrum couldn't muster enough volunteers to mount an exhibit and the group folded. The Arts Commission put out a call for a sponsoring group and two stepped up.
Prizm, a relatively new artists' group, said it would host it at the Parkwood Gallery in the offices of the Arts Commission. Spectrum had it there in recent years. It's across the street from the museum and is locked at night.
Staff at the Collingwood Art Center wanted to have it in the rambling 19th-century live-in art colony and center across the street from Scott High School on the edge of the Old West End. They have nine rooms in which to hang art.
Both groups presented their ideas to the board of the TAA show sponsor, the Toledo Federation of Art Societies. Both met with Arts Commission staff in an attempt to find common ground. But nobody had given Spectrum permission to start the show originally, and nobody told Colllingwood or Prizm they couldn't have a salon. In the end, both staged shows, with no apparent harm.
'I'm glad that somebody's doing it," said Marc Folk, executive director of the arts commission.
Both salon shows continue through Aug. 21.
The Parkwood Gallery is in the Professional Building, at 1838 Parkwood Ave. at Monroe Street. The Collingwood Arts Center is at 2413 Collingwood Blvd.
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