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Sx3: Sally Times Three

July 7, 2008

Saturday, I took Virgil to the farmer’s market. However, Virgil is a dog, and the farmer’s market is in Alpine Park, a dog-free zone. I’m not a dog owner and didn’t give it much thought … he looked at me sadly, so I said O.K.

I try hard to remember my own obliviousness when confronted with typical summer nights around Alpine Park. I try to conclude that the children who don’t look, or act, old enough to drive, and yet do, are merely oblivious when they park outside the homes of others shouting for hours into the night.

Too often, they are shouting obscenities. It is stunning to be faced with such spectacular inarticulateness night after night. Saturday night, I waited until after eleven to ask a group of young men to find another place to continue their conversation (which was merely loud). Most were respectful … I think they just weren’t aware of the extent of their intrusion.

A proposal: We need art classes again, mandatory for students who have reached puberty.

The visual arts allow communication beyond words, and young people struggling at self-expression in English could benefit mightily from practicing nonverbal communication (other than those goofy imitations of gang sign language).

A work of art can be both bold and subtle and reward careful work by the artist and careful inspection by the viewer. Boldness around Alpine Park on summer nights is reduced to a few words ending in “ck,” repeated endlessly, unless one has a loud truck or stereo with which to “express” oneself. No subtlety.

I am sympathetic to the plight of adolescents, although the sympathy waxes and wanes. I offer one solution: art. Perhaps a few will see the current art show at the library and attend the artist reception and demonstration Sunday.

This appealing show is entitled “Sx3: Sally Times Three.” It collects the work of Sally Mather, Sallyann Paschal, and Sally Lacroux. It is a perfect show in which to see three different artistic sensibilities side by side.

And yet, I shall discuss what I see as common among them: layers. Sally Mather’s pastels feel so thick with layers they seem chewable. Can’t say why, exactly. The pastel strokes break up here and there revealing other flavors beneath.

Collage has the same appeal. Sallyann Paschall’s mixed media pieces have layers and patinas that invite close inspection. They seem rich with meaning, but in particular with personal meaning, evoking nostalgia unique in each person.

“Zen Song I” and “II” have the exotic feel of travel, foreign language, Par Avion, and mementos from afar. The layers are of material, meaning, and feeling. They are the layers of a writing desk.

Sally Lacroux’s monotypes have an equally exotic feel, and I was seduced by the colors and titles, too. “Burnt Sienna” and “Burnt Umber” were favorite crayon colors of mine — the colors and the names. (This might explain my attraction to one of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, “Burnt Norton.”)

Sally will demonstrate the technique of gelatin monotype at the artist reception this Sunday. (Sallyann can’t be there.) Sally Mather will discuss her personal approach to working “plein air” and with pastels. Sally Mather’s pastel works in the show are remarkable for their qualities of light. Perhaps this is a reward of plein air painting.

“Tapestry” has especially deep, mysterious shadows that feel cool to the eye. “The Guardians” evokes the feel of distant sunlight. And “Vision in Violet” is twilight, to the eye and to the heart. Good, attentive art is powerful. (Perfect for adolescence.)

The reception and demonstration will be Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in the library meeting room. Be sure to take time to enjoy the show first, before gathering for tea and cookies with two very fine artists.

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