By Roni Golan
Artist and Gallery Owner
A few weeks ago, I was invited to judge an art exhibition at the Next Picture Show Gallery in Dixon, Ill., titled “River Reflections,” which opened June 6 and is closing July 12. The exhibition’s theme is rivers and water reflections, and I would add the show was an attempt to have a more observant look at our landscape and water’s effect locally, or beyond. In this show, artists were asked to “reflect” on their views and experiences with “the river” — any river, in any media.
Since creativity and art cannot be quantified exactly, just as rivers’ landscapes and reflections can’t, it was not easy to find a winner. Somehow, and after some efforts, I was able to do my best to measure the unquantifiable and find a winner.
A few of the gallery artists had a realistic approach; others can be placed in the opposite side of the creative map, meaning a wild celebration of colors, textures and lines. And, of course, let’s not forget the magic of photography. All the work was skillfully done, and I was able to learn about the artists themselves through their art. After all, the artifact is the reflection of the self.
As I was looking around, I noticed one work in particular that attracted my attention. It was of medium size, a very delicate black and white (maybe sepia) photograph, double exposed, of a river cutting through the landscape, like the veins within our flesh. I liked this thought, as it brought to my mind a timeless space. This river of veins endlessly nurtures our body and our land. It all comes together metaphorically, and the only difference is the scale. Yet, is not the earth our body as well?
First prize went to a realistic painting that was sharp, clear and was done with what looked like effortless technique. This was the kind of painting that gently invites you to explore it even further.
Overall, this show was a great reminder to give our rivers another look, specifically the one right in front of our local faces, the Rock River. I was lucky that same day to make it back home using Route 2 and tremendously enjoyed the majestic faces of the Rock River in the late afternoon hours; the views were so powerful. What a great opportunity to view and help evaluate great art and great waters.
Please visit The Next Picture Show Gallery, a nonprofit organization, 113 W. First St., Dixon. Call (815) 285-4924. The City of Dixon is — and should be — proud of this fine gallery, especially under the guiding hand of Bonnie Kime, the director and curator.
Roni Golan is an artist and the owner of State of the Art Gallery, 218 E. State St., downtown Rockford.
From the July 2-8, 2014, issue