Joyce Fillip, an artist in the exhibit titled Forsaken: Edifice and Landscape at the Fayetteville Museum of Art, commented on her own work by saying that she is “constantly looking for images that cause one to reflect and look at life though a different lens.” Her comment sums up what all three artists have accomplished in this exhibit.
    {mosimage}A blockbuster of an exhibit, Forsaken: Edifice and Landscape will remain installed in the FMoA until Sept. 7. This is an exhibit you don’t want to miss! If you have never gone to the Fayetteville Museum of Art, then let this be your first trip; if you are an irregular visitor, then make your way to the museum before summer is over. I feel confident in saying no one will be disappointed!
    The divergence of artistic styles makes the exhibit that much more interesting than if it were a one-person show. All three artists, Joyce Fillip, Rachel Herrick and Rudy Rudisill, interpret our environment — nature and the manmade. Each artist brings us close to an interpretation of places and states of being.
    Joyce Fillip is exhibiting exceptionally large scale drawings (approximately 8 feet by 8 feet) in charcoal. Fillip’s black and white images of nature’s storms immediately remind us of the power and force of nature. Standing in front of her image of a waterspout or a tsunami we realize how small and insignificant we can all become with a simple shift of weather.
    The beauty of Fillip’s work is her interpretation of natural phenomena. Her stylization of great amounts of water in different states of being becomes patterns of harmony. Fillip creates the power of nature without chaos — at the same time we are remembering the devastation we have seen on television. For me, the juxtaposition of seeing harmony and knowing disharmony is the core of the aesthetics of her work.
    I like the fact that Fillip bases her work on observation and her imagination. She is not tethered to the photograph, instead her interpretations of natural phenomena is expressive in a way that evokes more than the actual storm itself, she evokes states of being — the sublime.
    In the work titled Tsunami, as in all her work, Fillip’s compositions and use of light is masterful. She controls the viewers’ eye like the director of a play. We visually move up the great wave then stall in the white of the crest. While on the apex of the wave, our eyes are drawn to the patterns of manmade architectonic forms caught inside the wave’s curl. The crest, a point of rest (and crushing power) always compels us return to its apex, only to find ourselves repeating the search to find the remnants of humanity inside the curl.
    Where Joyce Fillip’s works are moments of imminent danger, the work of Rachel Herrick is strikingly opposite. Herrick translates architecture into places of quiet repose and reflection. The opposite of Fillip’s expressionism is Herrick’s photorealism.                                                                                                              Herrick takes photographs of architecture (a minimum of two works are places in Fayetteville). After transferring the well-composed photograph to a backing, she then begins the process of subtracting visual information and then adding her own painterly touch. Layers of reduction and addition are manipulated to evoke memories of what places can represent for someone.
    Where Fillip’s work implies a moment in the present, Herrick’s work implies the past. Herrick’s aesthetics are reinforced by her use of materials. The well-composed photograph is transferred onto a rigid backing. (Before the photograph is transferred, the artist has already mounted an original old grain, seed or tobacco fertilizer sack from North Carolina-based companies to float the image on.)
    Her transfer technique allows her to keep as much of the lettering from the fertilizer sack as she feels is necessary to evoke the past, yet keep the integrity of the architecture dominant. Encaustic wax layers are used to further obscure. The thickness of the opaque encaustic is in contrast to the watercolor effects she creates. All complicated layers  create a new interpretation of photo-realism. Crisp edges contrast with the blurred, details contrast with large minimal shapes.
    In Tires on Bragg Boulevard or Pepsi Please, as in all her work, her dwellings evoke something of the past; a place once teeming with activity is now silent. The figure is always implied.
    Like Herrick, the figure is implied in the sculptures of Rudy Rudisill. Fabricated out of galvanized steel and copper, Rudisill is exhibiting medium-sized dwellings. Layered in meaning, the conglomerates of forms are mostly closed forms, doorways are usually not present, and an opening representing a window is highly infrequent. Instead, Rudisill plays with our sense of place by creating elongated forms with simple rooflines, and then juxtaposes elongated covered porches with the same simple roof shape. In some ways, they are fortresses.
    Reminiscent of barns and straightforward towers, Rudisill’s sculptures are places we may have wanted to venture into along the roadside, but didn‘t take the time. It’s too late now. In his work he has left out the entryways, we are forever on the outside searching for a place to enter or peer into the form itself. You can sense standing on the porch-like forms (if it were lifesize), but you are still on the outside.
    Dwellings as a subject are only the starting point for appreciating Rudisill’s sculpture. He is a consummate designer in the way he uses closed and open forms, repetition, scale, implicit and explicit shapes, the use of economy and contrast. In short, he is a design lesson at its best.{mosimage}
    When viewing the show as a whole, all the artists in this exhibit are particularly strong in design. There is a sense of controlled placement of an element or elements that overrides everything; yet at the same time, the work is far removed from simple design and ascends to complicated compositions. 
    Also particularly interesting is how none of the artists have been compelled to place a person in any of their work, yet the figure is always present. The architecture in the mixed-media works and sculptures are places we remember, we place ourselves there when we view the work — each artist knowing it would have been nothing short of extraneous to have placed a figure in their work. To have included a figure in any of the pieces would only stand to diminish our private and personal experience of the moment.
    Anyone visiting the museum is sure to be moved in some way by one of the artists, if not all three. It is well worth the trip to the museum to visit Forsaken: Edifice and Landscape, remember the museum is still free. Call (910) 485-5121 for information or visit th Web site at  www.FayettevilleMuseumArt.org.

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