Rooting Local Talent
last hurrah is this year’s “Third MARN Mentors Show,” highlighting the outcome
of a year-long collaboration between established local artists and those just
getting their feet wet. The MARN Mentors program is supposed to encourage new
talent to stay in
The show, of course, is not about Mike Brenner, or Hotcakes, or the Bronze Fonz—but you can’t entirely separate the backstory from the art on the walls. It takes a minute to get oriented, to settle in and shake off the feeling that something is missing. Once that’s accomplished, though, the intention of the MARN Mentors show comes through.
While ordinarily cohesiveness is an
asset to any gallery show, here it’s the breadth of work that is striking. Joe
Ventress (mentee under photographer Robert Smith) shows vivid black and white
portraits of people given labels like Punk
or Black/Death/Crust Metal. They
stare across the room at Kamryn Boelk’s sculpture Buyproduct, a weaving made of plastic shopping bags. Between them
stand two Richard Taylor sculptures, on loan from Tory Folliard Gallery.
While some of the work is clearly less professional, more often it’s a tough call—at first look—to distinguish the mentors from the mentees. That’s not an insult to the mentors, but a compliment to the program. Mentors choose the artists they will work with, and provide regular critiques, obviously to a good end. And besides, the mentees are no slouches; Della Wells, a nationally known contemporary folk artist with a page full of credits to her name, was not a mentor but an arts administration mentee working with MIAD’s Josie Osborne. Both artists’ work is on display.
The Third MARN Mentors Show is a small
but hopeful peek at the vibrant work of active artists right here in
“Third MARN Mentors Show” runs through May 24 at Hotcakes Gallery,