Stravrakakis's "It's not like killing someone if
they are already dead."
he world is full of art and meaning. Of course,
a deep sense of purpose is not always the most sought-after goal
under the guilt of capitalism. You'd almost expect a Zen koan for
capitalism to read, "How does one catch a goldfish with an
expensive art pot?"
Left Bank Gallery's “New Directions” exhibit yielded
three judged winners for the “New Works” show, which
runs Sept. 3 through Sept. 27. The artist reception will take place
on the Gallery Stroll, Sept. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m.
The three artists squirm uncomfortably in the accidentally-shrunken-scratchy-wool-sweater
sort of way. It is the perfect example that hell is other people.
Michael Bernard and Andrea Stavrakakis share a dark potency concerning
the fragility of life and Augenblick transformation. Myron Willson,
a potter, does not add to the edgy pensive atmosphere through his
The exploited personal experience is mismatched with the high design
form-first ceramics. Willson's formal design explores the container
as a reverent piece of art. There is a meditative space made during
the bending of soft clay and the light reflected from the glassy
glaze. They are not the kind of pots that will shake you out of
your comfort zone, but that's not what sells, either.
you my mother?" expresses the catastrophe of detachment
in everyday life.
pots, very nice pots.
In another similar world is working artist Stavrakakis. She has
been intaglio printing for at least 12 years and received a degree
in integrated study in art history, visual art and women’s
studies from Weber State University.
"I am very lucky that everywhere I have been so far has an
accessible print studio," she said. In New Orleans, she learned
to blow glass while she continued her love for printmaking on a
pre-Civil War press.
The printmakers are the clever ones. Stavrakakis’ vineyard
of personal life-changing events keeps her in tune to life and creating
art. Her wit and thoughtfulness show through her mastery of titling
"It's not like killing someone if they are already dead"
is a piece that resonates in the lonely corridors where psychopathic
lethargy builds stone walls around our emotional unavailability.
She keeps the production down to about three prints each. There
is no reason to mass-produce these sentimental one-time occurrences.
"Trickle" depicts the person-on-a-pedestal idiom trickling
down the small but addictive leftovers to the tormented lover. Stavrakakis'
pieces have a looming effect that pulls and sloshes the gravity
of conscience. Before her ink is dry, the resemblance of her generalized
images acting out specific situations can be seen in many facets
of any human life. She has displayed her works often around the
Bernard’s paintings are not for the weak of stomach or the
weak of heart. It is an especially deranged experience, if you happen
to be ornithophobic. The many lacquered dead birds on the paintings
and in the photographs run the gamut of life for Bernard. "The
bird corners everything from death to life to sex to fragility,"
he said. "I have mastered acrylic. I know all of its tricks.”
His paintings with deep fleshy natural colors make it hard to believe
it is acrylic. He uses rags instead of brushes, which puts him closer
to the process. Bernard is looking for a rhythm in color and texture.
The last time I saw Bernard, he was reading “The Uncanny”
by Sigmund Freud.
”Medusa’s Neck,” a piece about the “psychological
signifier of the female castration complex,” is also about
the impotence of too much analysis, a fault that dehumanizes experience
Though Bernard mocks the overdone psychoanalysis, he is always partaking
in his own critical skeptical analysis of sex, gender roles, love,
doom and the mysterious man in the back alley.
In his scrawled hand he writes poetic titles on his paintings. “I
don't like those little card things," he said, condemning placards
in humorous disdain. The painting is all it needs to be. However,
Bernard’s insightful titles gets one thinking on the right
He will get you contemplating your existence, even if you are more
of a decorative arts kind of person.
The Left Bank Gallery is located at 242 S. 200 West and it is open
5:30 -9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.