Tobin Fraley: Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve | Images and Words
River Ice - photograph by Tobin Fraley, Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve collection
The Gallery in the Library is delighted to present works by poet and photographer Tobin Fraley, on exhibit from October 15, 2014 through early December 2014.
The extraordinary exists in small spaces. The environments surrounding us on a daily basis contain reflections of the world as a whole and when we take these surroundings for granted, we lose track of the bits and pieces making up our lives. For the past fourteen years my photographic goal has been to explore areas that at first seem ordinary, but upon closer inspection, like looking at a bug’s face through a microscope, expose wondrous objects at every turn. Whether it is a hotel room in Fresno, the gutters of New Orleans, a street corner in downtown Chicago, or even one’s own backyard, there are intriguing stories to tell and exceptional designs everywhere I look.
Born in 1951, Tobin Fraley spent his first ten years in Seattle, growing up in and around his grandfather’s amusement park. In 1962, the family moved to Berkeley, California, where Fraley soon discovered his father’s old 35mm Leica along with an enlarger and a few other bits and pieces of darkroom equipment. The political environment of Berkeley in 1960s offered him a chance to practice with the camera. A number of years later, he began to study photography in earnest. While living in New York, Fraley met professional photographer Bill Kane. Kane worked with Fraley on business projects and also shared his knowledge of the technical side of photography. Within a few years, Kane was pushing Fraley to work with the 4”x 5” camera under Kane's supervision. In 2000, Fraley and his wife Rachel moved to Long Grove, Illinois, in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. They settled next to the Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve and currently own and operate several shops in downtown Long Grove. He is the author of three books: on the history of carousels, a holiday children’s story titled A Humbug Christmas, and a written and photographic exploration of the Reed-Turner Woodland titled 36 Acres. Fraley sells his photography through a local gallery, he is a published poet, and he teaches photography at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
About the Center for the Arts
The Center for the Arts at Little City is the result of an evolutionary process that began with the belief that people with developmental disabilities could be taught skills that would lead to full opportunities in the arts.
From a program that used cable television as a teaching tool for people with disabilities, creating programs that won prestigious regional and national awards, the program grew to a “best practice” model, one that is recognized nationally and by which others measure their achievement.
Each day, professional artists acting as facilitators encourage artists to expand their reach and skills, resulting in art that transcends the disability of the artists who created it. Artists who cannot see, artists who do not speak and even artists who do not recognize the presence of others around them, are the painters, sculptors and designers at Little City who exhibit and sell their work competitively with others who do not face the same challenges.
Little City strongly believes in empowering people with disabilities, to give them the education, training, skills and encouragement that enable them to reach beyond their current capabilities and become all that they could be. The agency does this by offering extensive programs and services to children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
View some of the latest work at www.littlecity.org/arts
And on the Center for the Arts blog www.littlecityarts.blogspot.com
Meet The Artists
Andrea Bell is a fine artist who has lived at Little City for over 40 years. She joined the studio art program in January of 2000 and has been a prolific artist ever since. She immediately began using tempera paint, charcoal, and pastel to apply multiple layers of swirling circles upon her work surface. Upon completion, her circles seemed to dance upon the page, creating mesmerizing, rhythmic pieces of art.
In recent years Bell’s work has become more refined and mature. Her palette has become more restrained and precise. She has added other motifs to join her signature swirls. Electrically vibrating parallel lines, grids of muscular, scrunched up circular shapes, and various collage elements regularly make their appearances. Andy has taken part in numerous group and solo shows both locally and nationally.
Tarik Echols works with marks extracted from a single written word or phrase. These words are repeated and abstracted, creating his signature style of layered imagery. A variety of media are employed to give his works a rich, saturated feel. Large fields of painted color alternate with strings of written words. Words applied in crayon or oil pastel set up a resist to subsequent layers of watercolor, resulting in vibrant and increasingly complex relationships between the written portions of the composition and the background space.
Tarik’s stream-of-consciousness working method is often clearly perceivable in the finished artwork. Snippets of words, phrases and symbols will be spread across the surface of the page, but never in a uniform manner. Single words may stand out in isolation, while other words or phrases may flow over the page in a graceful arc, tracing the gestural action of the artist’s hand across the paper. The words themselves may be clustered around a theme. This is most apparent in works that incorporate collage materials. In Louisiana, a photo of a marching band has prompted Tarik to offer up such words as Jazz, and Blues. Even here however, Tarik has included other words which may have been lingering on his mind, such as Sun and Love.
Tarik’s original works have been exhibited extensively and have been commissioned for both commercial textile designs and print publications.
A prolific artist, Joe Flasch approaches the task of image making much like a Chinese calligrapher would. He has developed a collection of symbols, easily depicted in flowing brushstrokes, which function for him like pictograms. There are brush strokes that symbolize such things as trees and people. When the symbols for people are joined together, they represent families. Many of Flasch’s paintings, though appearing to be wholly abstract to the uninitiated, are actually depictions of such things as a family having a picnic in a park.
When he paints Flasch likes to isolate himself at the back of the studio where he is free to apply his pigments with a certain verve and to get lost in his own world. The grace of his brushstrokes sometimes spills over into his reality, as he paints amid short episodes of twirling dance steps which compliment the looping marks which he is committing to canvas or paper.
Flasch will proceed to repetitively fill his working surface with his brushstrokes/pictograms, switching forms as ideas occur to him, and varying sizes and occasionally colors. He goes on until he is satisfied with the finished effect. Given that his methods remain static, his overall body of work displays an astonishing degree of variety, with each new piece achieving new effects of texture, and relationships of form and color.
Harold Jeffries’ imagery and working methods are an outgrowth of his personal obsessions and inner world. Nearly every piece has as its basis a gridwork of lines, forming squares, rectangles, circles and other forms which resemble an isolated section of a vast blueprint outlining some lost Minoan palace. If asked, Jeffries will tell you that these are indeed blueprints. They are part of his lifelong obsession to create blueprinted plans for Heaven. This project has no beginning, middle or end. The portion of the plans that Jeffries draws at any one time simply reflects his thoughts at that moment, and do not advance the project along any conceivable timeline, a fitting solution for planning what is infinite and eternal.
The technique of layering, be it of forms, media, or concepts, is another hallmark of Jeffries’ art. Resulting in images which appear to be wholly abstract, Jeffries will sometimes layer additional media over his original blueprint drawings. He will alternate drawing media with washes of paint, obscuring the original blueprint in one spot, reemphasizing it in another, drawing new plans on top of it in yet another place. Sometimes all or part of the original drawing is overlaid with a tight mesh of faces and human forms. These are variously described by Jeffries as ghosts, or spirits, or voices. To him they are real, and they give the viewer an arresting glimpse of Jeffries waking life.
On occasion, Jeffries has taken his blueprints and worked them into 3-dimensional form. Harold is extremely interested in the use of construction materials. This fascination is evident in the decisions he makes to bring his ideas to reality of form. He prefers to reuse discarded materials like empty bottles. The act of building becomes a metaphor for Harold’s life and his sense of the world. He finds comfort in the idea that something both beautiful and useful is being created while the burden that would otherwise have been placed upon existing landfills is reduced.
Wayne Mazurek’s art is guided by his passions. Intensely interested in cars, space travel, boats- indeed in all forms of transportation, as well as in urban planning and medieval times, he creates artwork that is almost exclusively devoted to these topics.
It’s also his passion that drives him to research his art so diligently. He attends the auto show every year, as well as frequenting the local dealerships. He never misses any television offering on one of his pet subjects, and is constantly at the library finding new books that might stimulate his own imaginings. Fast and capable of creating easily perceived details, permanent markers are his medium of choice. His style is straight forward and lucid, the better to show off the “concepts” that each of his depictions represent. And make no mistake, each of Wayne’s pieces begins with a concept. When talking about his creations Wayne uses sentences that begin with phrases like, “What if there was a car that could. . .” or, “No one’s ever seen a ship with. . .“ He then proceeds to point out a dozen details in his current work that you might otherwise have missed, and which really do represent a breakthrough in car design, or urban planning, or whatever Wayne had bent his thoughts towards that day. Many times Wayne will present one of his concept vehicles alone, in silhouette on a white background. This often suffices for his purposes. But Wayne is also capable of creating complex scenes and narratives which support the inevitable depiction of the cars, trucks and space vehicles which populate these scenes. It is easy for a viewer to get lost inside of these works, with their inexhaustible supply of details and their fascinating interplay of shapes and colors. Wayne has been known to let his talent for building narrative foundations for his art spill over into his life. He has designed and assembled a suit of armor and intricate, medieval looking weapons which he sometimes wears to the art studio, where he will calmly sit down, without making or expecting any reference to his attire, and create art. He doesn’t need to be wearing his armor in order to sign his works “Sir Wayne”, however.
Luke Tauber’s artistic output has, for the last several years, closely reflected a short list of his personal obsessions. He continues to work on a series of projects about classical composers, the artist’s deceased family members, and Western funeral practices.
Of particular interest to him are the composers Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann. Tauber has extensively researched their lives, musical works and deaths and has crafted elaborate reconstructions of the composers’ mausoleums and grave sites through watercolor and ink drawings, as well as painted cardboard sculptures. For the past several years, Tauber has been working on a life size model of Beethoven’s body along with charts that contemplate what Beethoven might have had to eat and drink just before his death.
Deceased family members are often memorialized alongside the composers. Tauber was born in Germany in 1946, in a deportation camp, where having survived the Holocaust, his parents awaited their opportunity to immigrate to the United States. In a series of vibrant watercolors, Tauber has depicted the graves of his mother and father in the Evergreen cemetery in Arizona, as well as the grave of Beethoven in Vienna.
Tauber works in a variety of media including sculpture, painting, drawing, artist books, sound, digital photography, and video. He has just concluded one-man installations at the Flaxman Library at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and at Dittmar Gallery at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
Re-Mastered: the Greatest Hits of the Gallery in the Library
June - August 15, 2014: In celebration of the Barrington Area Library's complete renovation, the Gallery in the Library brought back select works by some of the most popular artists to exhibit here in the past. Paintings by Kathleen Eaton, Bruno Vanoudenhove, and Lou Taylor were featured, along with photography by Barbara Pintozzi and former Gallery co-curators Kelly Stachura and Lisa Swarbrick.
call for artists
The Barrington Area Library Arts Advisory Committee invites artists 18 years of age and over working or residing in the area to submit an application for consideration.
The Committee's goal is to give local artists the opportunity to present new work in a public setting and encourages all artists in the Barrington area and surrounding communities to apply.