Arizona State University (ASU) Faculty Art Exhibition (1990s)

Tempe, Arizona



 There is an overriding technological depersonalization in this show; isolated aesthetic manipulation without significant expression of human feeling or contact with the world.


 There are protractors, semi-circles, an air-brushed neon waterfall, rulers, an obelisk, a geometric ceramic wall-hanging, an undeveloped collage, a brass rocket ship with six shot glasses that rise from a steel cylinder filled with oil, and a gaudy mandala of glistening plastic acrylic on cut paper that is more glitz than a symbol of the self.


 There is a sculptural totem encircled by human ears on a screw-thread base borrowed from Brancusi, four shelves of white, computer-generated hydrocal "sculpture," computer-generated flame images, and a triangular metal form six feet high that resembles a bathroom scale tipped on end with a bubble-level in a below-center hole.


 Among works of more positive achievement is Gayle Novak's oil, "Song of Silence," a large, strongly, richly brushed abstraction with subtle, glowing violet-orange light and seeming pueblo architectural references.


 Arthur Jacobson's abstract watercolor, "Antique Shop," has an animated all-over design of small, brightly colored, tightly integrated, multiple organic shapes.


 Robert Cocke's oil, "Place of Origin," is an expressionist-surrealist vision of past monuments of a desolated society. Jerry Schutte's oil, "Painter, Model, Business with Sidney and Jerry," is a vigorously brushed interior of a crowded studio-laboratory with six figures, including artists, nude models and a central, cartoony, close-up head strongly illuminated as if by some sudden shock, discovery or explosion.


 That's it.


 One question.


 What can students possibly learn about genuine art and the human spirit from their professors' dominant mechanistic aesthetic?


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Art Essays & Art Criticisms