The theme at Collington for this year’s Black History Month is “Productive and Active.” Arts and crafts are now on display showing many products of being active. The glass cases in the Clock Tower contain work of residents including stained glass and needle point. Other products organized by Delores Hawkins are hung in the auditorium corridor. They include a jigsaw puzzle completed by Ron Hawkins and the picture, Fields to Factory, loaned by the Hawkinses. Students of SAGE classes may recognize work of the teacher, Albert Hurley, whose portraits are in the corridor. Pictures created by resident Madeline Wilson are scheduled for the exhibit. Von Willingham loaned her picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. The general effect of the displays is a demonstration of production contributed by the Collington community.
The work of Ruth Schrock now on display in the library corridor is distinctive for several reasons. For one, she shows her work in both painting and photography. That her photography is film-based is significant in this day of digital work. The pieces now displayed come from her work while a student, and most of the subjects resulted from course assignments as she majored in fine arts. Painting and photography were favorite media, and both required seeing and interpreting.
The painting “Space Form Puzzle III” was inspired by a particularly interesting tree bark and was part of a three-part series. The first two were totally abstract, and the third evolved into this more representational form. “After Braque” and “After Pollack” came after studies of their work then selecting stylistic elements for interpretation in her own painting. The photographic series “Passages, as Metaphors for Life” resulted from a semester-long study on a singular subject. Doorways, hallways, and windows all speak to the mystery and unknowns we experience as humans. During the 70’s and 80’s she was included in juried exhibitions in Indiana, Michigan, and Virginia.
While Ruth’s career path was circuitous, from early childhood on she enjoyed visual stimulation, long before she knew what “fine arts” meant. She first received a BS in Nursing and spent several years in psychiatric nursing before becoming a “stay at home mom.” It was during that time that she began her art studies. After completion of her fine arts program, she worked as a free-lance photographer for a time, but found long hours in the dark room too isolating. She then found her way into the interior design field, which she has enjoyed for the last 30 years. In her interior design, she sees rooms as giant canvases waiting to be filled with form and color.
Ruth’s show will be up through February.
contributed by David Montgomery
Still life has been an accepted approach in painting for many years. Subtle variations within the approach included attempts at symbolism; e.g., “vanitas still life” painting took on a life of its own. (During the 16th and 17th centuries in Flanders and the Netherlands, skulls, watches, and musical instruments evoked thoughts of brevity and the ephemeral nature of life.)
Photographic still life is relatively uncommon, but a photography exhibit entitled “Calm Life” is now hanging in the library corridor, scheduled to remain through December. It presents still life for its own sake. It should be pleasing as a combination of form and color, and any symbolism is accidental.
Still life is an attractive approach within photography for some of the same reasons it is attractive in painting, in particular, the ability to control lighting and placement. Photography, however, adds degrees of freedom to the art form. For one, we can combine elements in the computer. This ability is critical for some depictions, e.g., the frog in one picture would not have cooperated in placing additional elements around it. Digital photography further allows manipulation of the image through artistic effects. Control of light extends beyond the initial position of lights; the degree of lightness and darkness can be varied after the fact. As you review the current show, note that much of the work includes an emphasis on background and the position of shadows can be critical.