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Chattacon’s art show blasts off
The recent Chattacon art show was expanded some over previous years, especially in regards to three-dimensional offerings. This show also offered a variety of both fantasy and science-fiction perspectives, so viewers were clearly stimulated, and a sense of excitement pervaded the room.
Imagination drives innovation, and when imagination innovates, evolution occurs. Great art movements have been marked by significant differences in stylistic preservation. The well of the fantastic goes quiet deeply, and by definition, the fantastic seeks boundlessness.
Returning artist Melissa Gay won third prize for professional fantasy, although her awarded work may not have been her best offerings. Her painting, “Cthulhy Nebula” may well have drawn tears of praise from Lovecraft himself, and her indefinite nude “Galatea Emerges” ought to be viewed in contemporary fine arts museums. Both these works surpass conceptual boundaries emblematic of fantastic play in inspired art.
Major guest artist John Kaufman won first prize for science fiction with his painting “Mars Sunset.” This work has a sense of irony in that the usual science-fiction stance asks the viewer to look at something as if it were real, but Kaufman’s painting uses scientific data to show as closely as possible the actual view of a sunset on Mars. So scientific “Realism” stands out among fantasies.
The more usual science fiction was presented by Ralph Ryan whose “Atmospheric Processors” won second prize for Professional Science Fiction.
Twenty-three artists showed on the two-dimensional boards, and some of those also did three-dimensional work. Also two “Collections” featured works for sale. Altogether more than can be easily discussed in these pages. However, they may be sought without much difficulty.
Although fine arts discussions often conflate with monetary values, practitioners of fantastic art often provide prints that are more affordable. Lubov Yeaudin returned with glicee prints. His fairy “At the Pond” charms. Of particular note, Paul Bielalzyl’s “Nightmare,” which had shown previously as a “not for sale” graphite and which eventually won a prestigious national art prize, returned as a print for purchase. Although this print is not an “exact” version of the original, the viewer may be assured that it packs sufficient punch.
A very interesting twist on the “print” concept may be found in Kevin Dyer’s paper casts. He was awarded first prize for professional fantasy with a much-expanded inventory of paper castings. Evidently, once he creates a mold for his castings, he runs off other examples, like with prints or like foundries reproduce sculptures. However, Dyer’s castings also involve a painting process, so he can print each new cast differently. Thus, each new cast has a potentially unique look.
Those who like depth in their hangings may want to check into Chattanooga artist Star Roberts. Her constructions combine elements into stimulating, unique integrations. Like a “poetry of things.” Her works suggest thoughts brought together.
Kenneth Waters, another Chattanooga artist returning to this show, evidently sold his drawings well. Also artist Mark Fults of Chattanooga presented his ink drawings, notably “Moon Yen.”
Probably the best-selling artist of this show, Maria William returned with her bevy of Warrior Girls prints in color and in black and white. Speculation aside, her work invites and engages.
Regional artist Anita Moore won a third prize for professional three-dimensional work for her “Mystic Portal Howeling Rock Hill.” This is painted Styrofoam with natural and artificial greens. This also works in two dimensions, and her painting “Skinny Dipping” was a welcome return for its casual ease and lovely balance of light colors.
A kind of fetishistic fantasy emerged in Heather Kreiter’s twenty-plus “My Little Pony” occult characters. Apparently. her three-dimensional “plushy” versions sold out.
Luke Eldridge brought three-dimensional wire sculptures as both dioramas and as individual figures that he sold in the dealers’ room. These wire sculptures are posable, and their flexibility adds an interesting dimension to their sculptural character.
Poppy Jackson was available in the dealers’ room to sign her novels. She has completed the second novel in her vampire trilogy. Jackson will soon graduate from CCS.
A local vendor that presented in the dealers’ room, CC’s Antiques carries art prints, as well as a large inventory of comic books for reasonable prices. It’s good to know that Chattanoogans don’t necessarily have to wait for the conventions to arrive to be able to obtain “fantastic” works.
Among other interesting artists, James W. Bruneau’s “Love” (acrylic and water, not for sale) stood out among his more commercial portraits of pop icons. Also notable, Robb Boros’ “Alternate Earth” also won a sci-fi fest. Theresa Mather presented small fairy works of very intricate efforts. On the other end of the spectrum, Danny Parsons won a second prize in three-dimensional art for a found-object design figure—elegant.
Clearly, the inventiveness of these artists embraced a wide variety of media as well as diverse concepts. Inspiration can strike like lightning, and the boards that supported Melissa Gay’s work seemed a tad scorched.