Two exhibitions opened this past Final Friday at the Mid-America Fine Arts Gallery, in the Commerce Plaza building on Douglas.
“Not Too Far” is located in the 3rd floor gallery space. The WSU Sculpture Guild took over the basement of the building for their show “Surface."
Admittedly, this was my first visit to the the Mid-America Fine Arts Gallery. Within this business building, it was clear that little more than removing the desks and cubicles has been done to create this gallery space. Carpeting and drab ambient lighting is what one would expect from an office, not a gallery.
As I walked through the exhibition, Donald Judd’s statement came to mind that “[a] work only needs to be interesting.” And, unfortunately, most of this exhibition did not rise to the occasion-- with one exception: the works displayed by Armando Minjarez. His formal explorations of the painted surface and his three-dimensional objects provided a much-welcomed visual and conceptual counterpoint to the rest of the show.
Taking the elevator down to the basement was like being transported to a completely different world. The elevator doors opened to reveal myriad sculptures in a well-lit, open space.
Entering, one is greeted with a gnarly sculpture of painted car tires by Jo Ann Taylor and a beautiful kinetic sculpture by Mike Miller. There's also a delicate installation with dryer sheets, which viewers were allowed to enter, and the most amazing rhinoceros head out of roofing nails and pearls.
The range of materials was tantalizing and the installation of the work allows visitors to weave through this subterranean wonderland, encountering new experiences along the way.
“Not Too Far” and “Surface” are like mirror opposites of each other in several ways. It looks like the Mid-America Fine Arts Gallery broke even with this dual exhibition venture.