New work, new gallery — two reasons to go to the George Dombek exhibit that opens Friday, Oct. 28, at Argenta Art Gallery, 401 Main St., North Little Rock.
Dombek — one of Arkansas’s premier artists and the recent recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award — will be on hand for the opening night reception from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dombek, whose studio is in Goshen in Northwest Arkansas, is currently working in New York in free studio space awarded him by the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, which annually provides space gratis to select artists for six months.
Dombek will show 10 new works from his Ozark Portrait Series, large watercolors that feature rusty tin coffee pots and cans and other industrial items upended on poles in a way that suggests people. The exhibit, the inaugural show for John Gaudin’s new space on the second floor of the building at Fourth and Main Streets, will also feature earlier works, including Dombekian pebbles, trees and bike-forming branches.
The 61-year-old artist is acclaimed for putting his meticulous, ultra-realistic hand to use to draw abstraction out of fact. River rocks, painted as if they are lying in a creek bed beneath crystal clear water, render nature’s palette and line in an enlarged context. The new series’ photographic detail captures every rust spot and dent on the cast-off tin objects, but the objects read as facial features, every spout a nose, bucket a hat, perforation a veil.
In art as in everything, there can be too much of a good thing, and Dombek’s long-time focus on rocks began to fall in that category. His talent is immense; it would be a good thing if the Ozark Portraits series was followed quickly by some other quirky take on the images that can be wrung from realism.
The show runs through Nov. 23.
n Also Friday: The Friends of the Baum will throw the “Jackson Pollock Painting Party” in downtown Conway. The event will benefit the exhibition program of the gallery, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. For $25 (or $20 for FOB members), participants will be able to paint, eat and drink to music from the 1950s. The event will be held at 828 Front St.; tickets may be bought online at www.uca.edu/cfac/baum, at the gallery or at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, www.conwayarkcc.org.
Two panel discussions on art and follow-up events are coming up in the next several days: A panel on public art at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Cox Creative Center, and another on drawing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Arkansas Arts Center.
The Cox panel will be moderated by professor Gayle Seymour of the University of Central Arkansas and will run two hours. It will be followed at 2 p.m. by a talk, “Creating Public Art with Decorative Concrete,” by Steven Ochs of Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia.
At the Arts Center, Valerie McKenzie, an art dealer from New York; Skip Steinworth, a San Francisco artist, and Brian Young, curator of the Arts Center and its “10th National Drawing Invitational” now on exhibit, will discuss works on paper as an art form. Erin Branham will moderate.
Steinworth’s work is currently on display in the drawing invitational, which features the work of contemporary American artists. Other artists represented in the show are Astrid Bowlby, Robert Gutierrez, Jonathan Herder, Marietta Hoferer, Nicola Lopez, Michael Madore, Karen Moss, Beverly Ress, Oriane Stender, Danielle Tageder, Barbara Takenaga and Scott Teplin.