The Box Factory for the Arts is showing their Studio Artist and Members’ Exhibition until Nov. 11. When I arrived on a quiet Thursday afternoon, only a few artists and art enthusiasts broke the silence by rustling through the halls. Often, the clunking of my boots on the wooden floor was the only sound disrupting this calm repository of art. Two volunteers manning the front desks informed me about the new pieces in the Williams, Whitmore and Riverwalk galleries. Unlike their previous gallery, the pieces presented now are not collected to reflect any particular theme or motif, but differ widely in subject and in style. Many artists are represented in this month’s line-up.
A volunteer informed me of the variety of art direction, adding to her descriptions, “Every artist has separate ideas and every piece is different.”
She had not exaggerated, I discovered, noting media from acrylics to ceramics, and subjects from vintage toys to flowers and ships. Most were for sale as well, with prices ranging from $45 to $1200, but the majority of the artwork cost around $400 or $500.
Two particular pieces pulled my attention from the cheery array of art warming the atmosphere: the acrylic painting “Yours Truly” by Maryanne Grant and the photograph “Portrait of an Artist” by Todd Hoover.
The painting “Yours Truly” loomed large on the wall, depicting an impressionist scene of trees above a stream. What struck me were the light blue and purple tones used for the sky, the trees and the water, which gave the whole painting a fairy-like appearance. Additionally, the way Grant used curving downward brush strokes to make the painting itself seem wet. The dizzying effect of the mild color scheme and the swirling brush strokes bestowed a surreal quality to “Yours Truly”—a quality that caused me to pause for a closer look.
The other piece in the gallery that immediately grabbed my attention, “Portrait of an Artist,” was much smaller, but still showed the artist’s talent. The artwork is a photograph of a miniature figurine of an artist in front of Georges Seurat’s well known painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte.” Contrasting the famous two-dimensional painting in the background with the three-dimensional figurine in the front, Hoover’s photograph seems almost-lifelike in its dimensions. In addition, the figure is fashioned comically, holding one paint brush between his lips and leaning to the side in a paint-stained smock while he listlessly lifts another brush in an outstretched hand. This juxtaposition created contrast with the dignified scene of richly-garbed aristocrats reclining by a lake. The synthesis of these discordant images creating the illusion of three-dimensionality drew me to this photograph. Overall, my time perusing this gallery was worthwhile, and I would encourage others to take the time to witness this outlet of the local art scene.