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February 19, 2012

Art: Take it out for a mental spin

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Yesterday, as I was walking down the Hall Gallery to the main office, I passed a lady who was carefully exploring one of our recent acquisitions. It was a portrait montage done in pencil, called “Family of Frank & Susie Clark McCall.” Gary Pound is the artist, and it is one of two of his works in our collection. I took a moment to study the sketches with her, and agreed when she said how wonderful the work was, how detailed, how expressive. And we got to talking.

I asked if she was from Moultrie. She said “yes” — for the last five years. But she had never been in the Arts Center before that day. “Had always meant to; but never got around to it.” But, she was in the neighborhood and had a couple of minutes to spare that day, so decided it was time. And she was amazed at the treasure we have right here in Moultrie.

We got to talking a little more. We talked about the pleasure of spending a few spare minutes soaking in a piece of art. That it’s like a ten-minute vacation for the mind and spirit, to pick a painting, or sculpture, or drawing, and really look: To see what’s there, and then to take it out for a spin.

In the case of the Pound portraits, there were the seven subjects — for starters: two parents, and five kids, drawn in different poses, at different ages. One marvels at the artist’s ability to capture expression on the faces using a simple pencil. And at the depth he creates using that same humble tool, with just lines and shades and smears. We can look hard at the faces and try to figure out which of the two little girls is which of their older versions sitting on the couch. And who takes after Mom, and who takes after Dad. And chuckle at that little boy; clearly he’d rather be anywhere else than posing for a portrait! These are the sorts of pleasant ramblings a piece of art can inspire.

Wander down the hall to the McCall Gallery, and there is Josh Rosen’s “My Frankenstein (Jay 13),” a work that is part of our current exhibit “The Misfits: A Selection of Extraordinary Sculptures.” Is that part of an old typewriter he’s used for the bed frame? Is that a monocle hanging from the IV stand? Why is the poor guy in bed? Is he sick? Why is there an on-off switch in his chest? Look, there’s an old transistor among the stuff on his mattress; I remember the first transistor radio my Dad bought for me…

As I left her in the McCall Gallery, the lady said she’d be back again soon. Her parting words were “thank you” for having the Arts Center in Moultrie. She made my day.

Josh Rosen’s “Misfits” will be on display at the Arts Center through Friday, Feb. 24, as will the extraordinary paintings of Jim Touchton in the Vereen Gallery. If you need a ten-minute vacation between now and then, c’mon over and take one of their works out for a mental spin.

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