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Three artists explore 20th century surrealism


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Courtesy photo. Allen Linder’s recent ink drawing.

Courtesy photo. Allen Linder’s recent ink drawing.

Published on: Wednesday, June 19, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

Bringing together three artists — a painter, a sculptor and draftsman, and a ceramic sculptor — for the first time, a Brentwood Arts Exchange exhibition explores the human imagination through contemporary forms that trace their roots back to 20th century surrealism.

“Unreal” runs through June 29 and features elements of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and illogical scenes. The result is a fascinating view of an important artistic movement, best known for its visual artworks and writings, and iconic artists such as Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington and Joan Miró.

In “Unreal,” Allen Linder, widely known as a sculptor and represented by galleries across the United States, shows recent ink drawings.

Benedict Oddi, the head of the painting department at Tennessee Technological University, exhibits his rich, monochromatic paintings of fantasy landscapes in the Washington-metro area for only the second time.

Courtesy photo. Benedict Oddi’s painting of a fantasy landscape in the Washington, D.C., area.

Courtesy photo. Benedict Oddi’s painting of a fantasy landscape in the Washington, D.C., area.

Christina Osheim, a studio artist at the regional visual arts powerhouse Red Dirt Studios in Mt. Rainier, displays her quirky yet compelling biomorphic sculptures.

“The desire for freedom, escape and exploration influence the narrative of my artworks,” Oddi said in his artist’s statement.

Oddi said he creates works that “examine the possibility of utopia and dystopia” through entertainment and fantasy.

“The depictions that I fashion are a method of storytelling through the invention and reuse of signs and symbols. The pictorial environments are meant to emphasize a disconnection to a tactile reality, where ideas and experiences are confused. Uneasiness and improbability are abundant in this imaginary voyage, so are feelings of familiarity and imminent danger of the sublime,” Oddi said.

Linder described his artistic approach as an adventure.

“I begin with a simple mark, a doodle, a scribble. And, then another and another. I make a conscious effort to

try and avoid predictability. The mark making becomes a meditation, which both focuses my vision and expands my peripherial vision. The marks build up into textured layers of density and complexity. I concentrate on the formal elements of line quality, light and dark, design and composition as the drawing continues to build itself.

“Forms begin to suggest themselves through the interplay of value,” Linder said in his artist statement. “Some forms are refined, others merge and morph and others dissolve into darkness. I am attracted to deep dark mysterious spaces. I avoid narrative reference as long as I can. I don’t want to know where I am going. I want to be surprised when I get there. I turn the page upside down and sideways searching for content in the evolving form. All at once I see exactly what it is and I assign the title.”

Osheim said she is interested in “surreal spaces be they mental or physical.”

“With my work I reference the body and function or utility, filtering them through the lens of my imagination to become something new.  Gestalt psychology influences how I design, build, and display my work.”

“I consider the relationships between objects and the implied interactions that give the viewer the ability to create a narrative with how they connect the dots.  I question the objects we surround ourselves with and how we interact with the world; through this questioning I create surreal spaces that provide opportunity to come to a new understanding of how we exist in space,” Osheim said in her artist statement.

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