by Jessica Werner
Radius is an apt name for the group exhibition being presented at the Palo Alto Cultural Center from Aug. 20 to Sept. 17. It describes the line that joins a rather diverse group of artistic work into a collective circle. It also plays on the fact that this annual show highlights artists who live within the circulation radius of the Palo Alto Weekly. The exhibit is both educational and inspiring. It helps viewers realize the quality of work being created in our midst and the importance of supporting these kinds of expression. The Cultural Center has a reputation for revealing the creativity and merit of artists in the larger Palo Alto area, and this exhibition carries on this important tradition.
The artists in this year's show were selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants by juror Bonnie Earls-Solari, director of the Bank of America Corp. Art Program. This year's Radius winners are Thai Bui of Palo Alto, Monica Zema Lam of Stanford, Sara Leith-Tanous of Portola Valley, Ellen Lowenstein of Woodside, Robin McCloskey of Palo Alto and Judith Juntura Miller of Palo Alto. These six artists represent the diversity and breadth of media being explored, both locally and nationally, by contemporary artists. Painting, sculpture, photography, monotypes and photo-etchings will all be on display.
Painter and printmaker Judith Juntura Miller uses all these art styles in her own body of work. Miller is currently working to combine the properties of painting and printmaking into assemblage creations. She uses diverse, seemingly random, materials--computer-scanned imagery, cast plaster, paper, silk, wood, wax, paints, paint stick and found objects--and combines them in creative and surprising ways.
While her list of materials seems confused and less than orderly, Miller's inspiration for the work is surprisingly simple. "I explore intervals of quiet," she explains, "when awareness is acute, but we have no agenda. It is a time of openness, possibilities and hope." To Miller, these moments speak volumes and it is our responsibility to attune our ears to their subtle messages.
The significant paradox of her art is that her focus on these reflective moments inspires dense and complicated works.
Sculptor Thai Bui also works with a variety of materials. The works he will exhibit in Radius 1995 incorporate wire, wood, stones and found objects. The harmony they express seems appropriate since they resemble musical instruments.
Concurrent with Radius 1995, the Palo Alto Cultural Center will also present the annual event, Frame of Reference. This exhibition also shows the work of a number of local artists, but the objective is more playful and the works are affordable to the public. Each year the Cultural Center invites selected artists to participate in an exhibition that provides them with a theme or material as a starting point, from which they are asked to create a unique object.
This year artists were given a wooden picture frame which whey were free to embellish in any way. They were given license to add or subtract to the existing material, retain the object as a frame, or insert their own work within the original frame. On Sunday, Sept. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., the public is invited to attend a silent auction to bid on what is sure to be an eclectic array of frames. Visitors to the show throughout the month will also be allowed to place bids on the frames during the exhibition. Sales will benefit educational programs at the Cultural Center.
Radius 1995 and Frame of Reference
When: Aug. 20-Sept. 17, with opening reception 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, and silent auction 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17
Where:Palo Alto Cultural Center, 1313 Newell Road
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