MARC AWODEY: PAINTINGS at Johnson State College
40 paintings span both sides of the Dibden Building. Each painting contains hundreds of brush strokes representing numerous decision on the canvas. Texture and color pull the viewer in. Awodey's quirky color relationships tend to "pop" imagery from the canvas while textures give richness to each layer of these acrylic-and-oil-on-canvas paintings. One example of this is "Elephant" a lovely, moody painting in which ruby-red lines cut across the green textures behind a melancholy elephant. In other paintings, background colors differ from the objects depicted within them. Clarity, decisiveness, and the articulation of one, or more, visual concepts present themselves openly and without fuss. "Man in the Woods" explores the relationship between a man walking away from a virtual woods with an orange-fire-glow between the trees. It looks like a psychological landscape, implying dashed dreams or a wilderness of confusion in which the man's suit is perhaps the only symbol of the life he used to lead.
Awodey's respect for art history brings Modern Masters to mind
such as Matisse, Van Gogh, and Munch. Yet his figurative themes make his paintings unique to our time. His clear-minded tactics have the ability to hold a viewer's attention and allow several relationships to mingle within a single canvas. "Church St." is perhaps the clearest articulation of a painting focusing on "feeling" rather than "illustration" - in "Church St" Awodey captures the feeling of being a care-free pedestrian walking on a blue-sky day up Church St, high-way of life. Blue textured sky offers an atmosphere of openness. The street is black with a decisive white line down the center like a race track, but not for cars. Awodey taps into the dreamy-feeling of being a pedestrian and the sense of place that puts us near the shore of lake Champlain in Burlington, VT. There is no threat of cars. The church is distilled and iconic. Businesses are only buildings. This painting speaks of a connection to place without details that steal more intimate connections.
Three more paintings in the show: "Deer Hunter," "Children Playing War," and "Ape in a Cage" seem to explore the darker sides of mankind. "Deer Hunter" realize violence like adrug. The hunter with beady orange eyes. He is tall as his kill, a deer strung up by its neck. Dark colors make th
is a subtle piece with a powerful relationship between nature and man. "Children Playing War" objectively captures the freedom and power boys strive for in fighting. Dull colors subdue the tension between the boys but swords and shields speak for themselves as symbols of defense and action. Lastly, "Ape in a Cage" is a shadowy painting with a sense of humor/irony. A man in silhouette stands in front of a cage. Perhaps like a Gary Larson cartoon frame, the man's angle in relation to the ape could be seen as if it is a mirror. The man thinks he is looking at an ape but what he is really seeing is a glimpse of himself - a metaphor for his own situation.
After earning a Bachelor of Philosophy from Grand Valley State University, Marc Awodey entered Johnson State College in January 1981. He received his BFA from Johnson in 1982, as well as the Departmental Award in Studio Art. Awodey earned an MFA in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1984. Currently, Awodey teaches Drawing I at Johnson, and painting at Burlington College. In addition to being a free lance art critic, he has published several books of poetry, and serves on the board of the Shelburne Craft School.
The "Dibden Wings Gallery" is located in the Dibden Center for the Arts on the JSC campus in Johnson. It is open to the public 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday as well as during Dibden Center events. Admission is always free. For more information, contact Leila Bandar at (802)635-1469 or firstname.lastname@example.org.