To be an artist is often lonely work. Art is most often produced in isolation, and if an artist is prolific, this means a good deal of one’s time is spent in solitude. It is perhaps for this reason that Herron School of Art alumni have used their affiliation to maintain a connection not only to each other but also to the world at large, and the ever-elusive and mysterious art audience.
‘Fine Time #2,’ mixed media, by Yasha Persson (Herron Class of ’92)
In the exhibit plainly titled Herron Alumni Association 2003 Alumni Show, the work of roughly 30 artists who credit their schooling to Herron is on view at the Harrison Art Gallery in the Harrison Centre for the Arts. It is good and right that artists once done with the rigors of their education (which, as we all know, never really concludes in the larger sense) develop their own voice. Clearly, in this display, the diversity of individual voices is present. The exhibit in question is juried, which, one assumes, is intended to tighten the overall presentation and give it cohesiveness in terms of quality. This is more or less true here: Most of these artists do continue to make their art as a serious vocation or at least avocation, many of them are familiar names in the graphic design and/or teaching arenas here in town. But the Herron badge is all, really, that connects these varied voices. There is no “Herron flavor” that I could discern, which is a good thing. Artists once out of school should go on to find unique expression. I’m not sure, though, that the omnibus approach gives us more than a sense of scope in terms of these artists. There is no theme, per se, so we are adrift in a sea of exotic and sometimes not-so-exotic creatures. Then again, to use an overused phrase, there’s something for everyone — from abstract painting to traditional watercolor. My attention was drawn to the quirky as well as the sublime. Here I think of Carla Knopp’s “Untitled” painting in characteristic putty and brown tones from which two cats emerge (at least one of them appears to be a cat … the other I’m not so sure), among a sparse forest of spindly flowers. Jason Gould’s abstractions are overlaid with graphic elements that also tend towards the unusual, and the artist’s talent carries this off so that the aesthetic almost speaks for itself. Yasha Persson’s work along the same lines is always a delight, but in a macabre sort of way; her offerings here are familiar, having been exhibited before in other of the city’s venues. The aforementioned are by no means the only pieces worthy of an extended visit. There is much here to be admired, and this, of course, depends on one’s individual leanings and tastes. On the other hand, with so much variety, you may be inspired by something outside your usual sphere of interest. In any event, the ride is meant to be enjoyed — wherever you find yourself stopping. The Herron Alumni Association 2003 Alumni Show is on view through July 13. The Harrison Gallery is located at 1505 N. Delaware; call 514-6787 for information and hours.