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Thursday, February 21, 1980
Show encompasses range of styles
By DAVID BELSKY
AS rt at UNC is much better than a rat's
carcass. Yet, the jurors for the
Undergraduate art exhibition have chose
a work, Eric Stickney's Destitute Freak,
with a dead rat inside a guitar, as best in
show. Its shock value numbs, rather than
inspires. Other works surpass it
aesthetically and conceptually. One may
view them in the Carolina Union, on the
first and second floors.
The students often disolav artistic
excellence and craftmanship. Styles span
the contemporary spectrum. But, instead
of new visions, one encounters the
conventional. Artists who return to
representational art come closest to
innovation. And of all the works, the
photographs are the finest. Their delicacy
gives them dignity.
In contrast, Stickney's Freak easily
attacks the viscera. It reminds one of the
impending apocalypse with its images of
mushroom clouds. A shrieing ape with
teeth bared, surrounded by needle and
spoon, evokes the brutality of the drug
culture. Stickney links these with the
central fallen angel (wings made of real
feathers, skateboard wheels as horns)
Three-dimensional elements (hands,
arms and guitar) project from the surface
to contribute to the work's presence. But
it is almost a cliche. As a counterpart,
Stickney cleverly inserts a photograph of a
wholesome mother. This irony triumphs,
but the artist never stops. He pastes on
hair, and hangs the painting with chains
and locks. It's enough to nauseate.
In Fallacyland, another mixed-media
work, Todd Hunter presents an
indictment, as poignant as Destitute
Freak, minus the cheap repulsion. It is a
satirical jab at male-dominated
civilization. The title obviously puns on
phallus. In equating violence with
erection, Hunger takes Freud to the
extreme. The collage has a humorous,
Monty Python quality, created through
simple cutting and pasting.
Blind Date (awarded first prize in
printmaking), by Carol Held, shows
technical talent in its comical
exaggerations. A cardboardlike, two
dimensional man gazes mindlessly into
space with an empty smile. His hands
vividly grasp a vase with gaudy flowers.
Evidently Held knows her medium, using
it to greatest advantage.
Bede Redpath's The Clinic is a pleasant,
carefully etched cartoon. The lines
express delight, and the forms a relaxed
fluidity. The scene, a dentist's office,
invites the viewer inside, with its
whimsical chair resembling a tongue or a
In a more serious vein, Kathy Harris
intimately shares her sensitivity in her
painting, Seated Nude. She taps her
model's mood: sad and pensive. One can
mentally feel the body. Although the
colors deviate from reality, Harris has
selected them perfectly for shading and
feeling. The jurors failed to give it a prize.
Another worthy work, Paul Dean's
Untitled, depicts a young girl, open
mouthed, who seems to have just awoken
amid a sea of blankets. Her unfocused
eyes betray confusion. Dean has drawn
her in pencil with loving attention.
Lisbeth Starr Davis, in Circus Ode,
masks emotion, as she veils her female
subject. The oil is a mysterious allegory.
Davis contrasts the sharpness of lion's
teeth on a poster with the dissolution of
the painting into a haze. A red rose in the
woman's hand and the red of the lion's
gums unify the painting. One sees the
fierceness of the cat as opposed to the
ineffability of the woman. And perhaps
Davis means to relate the woman's hidden
vanity to "The Greatest Show on Earth,"
written on the poster behind her. The
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Variety of art forms on display In Union
content, as well as the visual excitement,
makes Circus Ode a superior work.
Almond Joy, by Kerri L. Creech, won
second prize in painting. Although the
color is kinetic, the concept is stale.
Creech lingers in the now-exhausted
Andy Warhol school. If she moved on, she
could excel. Hinge, by Susan King,
exhibits similar abstract methods, but the
adjacent elements better complement
each other. Sloppiness subtracts from the
The scribbling in Laurie Jane Kreindler's
O works. She unleashes a tornado from
her unconscious, but restrains it enough
to convey a terrific tension: an exercise in
spontaneous release. Kreindler's Drawing
for Pat, awarded second prize in mixed
media, is her lesser work. Its minimalist
body strides forth. Because every stroke
matters, the few which miss in the drawing
disturb its fragile grace.
Solidity circumvents this problem in
Elizabeth Michael's Nothing in the Alley
(first prize in painting). The painting is as
clearly def ined as the title which describes
its content. The one-point perspective
allows no ambiguity. Yet, its geometry
proves far from rigid. The parts interlock
to form a satisfying whole. Michael
possesses an acute photographer's
sensibility and sense of form.
Audrey Meadows, in her painting,
Hallway and Door, experiemnts more
than Michael. She softens the geometry
and confronts the eyes with two
contending perspectives. To settle on
both at once, eludes one's sight forever.
A desert landscape, Untitled, by James
Caudill, grants an open vista. The artist
humanizes the distances. Through the
crispness of the colors, he electrifies the
air. The painting manifests originality.
The Back Stabber, by Laralee Lynch,
suffers from a likeness to Dali's paintings:
the landscape in the background, the
clock and the door in space. Separate
elements, such as an alien's elongated
fingers, are striking in their tactile appeal,
but overcrowding and incoherence
negate them. Lynch's inclusion of actual
aliens trivializes a work of potential
beauty, dealing with two lovers facing
Alma Blount's photographs derive their
power from loneliness. Jenny Wren
Behind the Mill and Betty Lou Ellis
observe ordinary people made,
extraordinary by the sincerity which
Blount uncovers. She touches the heart of
humanity without striving for artistic
In Diane Gilbert's Intensity (justifiably
given first prize in photography), glamor
reigns. The photograph itself is gorgeous.
Gilbert positions the camera just right, for
a quintessential rendering of skin tones.
In the photograph, a woman's face
reflects in a mirror, as she applies mascara.
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Eric Stickney's 'Destitute Freak '
Margaret Earline's Shadow and Sunlight
merits second prize in photography. Its
lattice of light and dark draws the eye back
into a tunnel. The simplicity of the fence
branches out into an intricate complex of
lines and patches, continuous and
fragmented. A second photograph,
Looking Out for the Ladies' Guild, reveals
a more personal touch. Elderly women
huddle together on a bench, chatting,
while unaware of a serene half-nude
statue peering silently into space.
Michelle Sloan constructs an
abstraction in her photograph, Untitled.
This attractive composition resembles
Louise Nevelson's compartmentalized
sculptures. Terry Pittman's Airport studies
masses in space. In Tom Skipper's E. 23rd
Street Brooklyn, color provides contrast.
He photographs a red housefront
sandwiched between two gray facades.
Hef's, by Ginny Campbell, (second
prize in printmaking) focuses on a
tattered New York Times and discarded
street map laying on a city sidewalk.
Through Campbell's arrangement and
technique, the print looks professional.
Leslie Kaye Paull's Untitled, a linear
painting of potted flowers equally
dependent on placement, lacks the
impact of Hef's. In a brown and white
seriograph, rooted, Michael Haire plainly
juxtaposes horizontal straight lines with
jagged vertical lines. Two dimensions turn
In Evelyn McKinney's A Two-Sided
Story (first prize in mixed media),
diverging, converging and parallel lines
weave in and out of a large rectangle
divided into smaller rectangles. The
random blotches among Kinney's plotted
sections form a wordless narrative. It
elicits active contemplation.
If the sculptures, only Torso, by Paul
Greene Jr., (first prize in sculpture)
reaches the imagination, with a subtle
enigma. The bones, propped up inside
the barely open torso, guide one to the
solution. Green translates an Egyptian
like hieroglyph into clay. But, this piece, as
well as the other three sculptures, are
Although Mark Offerman's The Wheel
People Having Fun, an assemblage
sculpture, moves; its cuteness hardly
qualifies it as art. Stasis afflicts the others,
including Torso. Penny Veazy's Untitled
(second prize in sculpture), a miniature
curved bed, exhibits minimal skill, and
departs slightly from the expected.
Offerman's Mechanmusc Box recalls
other contrived contraptions ad
nauseum. In her Untitled drawing, Laura
Murphy devotes more patience and skill,
in sketching a machine. Overall, the
paintings exhibit more depth than the
David Belsky Is an art critic for The Dally