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John Waldron opens December exhibits


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By Alison Graham



Ben Pines trekked to the fields more than 15 times this past spring.

Armed with a portable easel, paints, a canvas and a bottle of water, he climbed the steep hill on 14th and 15th streets to paint outdoors in the fields of Bloomington.

“When I first came to Bloomington, I thought it was neat that just on the other side of the train tracks there were open fields,” Pines said. “They’re really peaceful and a nice place to be. It’s not like where I’m from.”

After multiple journeys to the fields of Bloomington and other locations around town, Pines has 37 paintings of the city.

All 37 can be seen in the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center’s December exhibits, which open this Friday.

The John Waldron is opening four new galleries that will be on display from Friday to Dec. 27.

The four new galleries include printmaking work by IU art students, photos from the IU Neuro-Imaging Group, sculptural pieces by local artist Lance Pruitt and Pines’ landscapes.

The December show is Pines’ first all-landscape exhibit.

“I want for people to enjoy the landscape as I do,” he said. “It’s a great feature of living in Bloomington. We have so much natural beauty here.”

Pines said he often walks around the tailgate fields and the beautiful homes around the city and on campus, seeing trash and waste all over them.

The nature of Bloomington is something that is often taken for granted, especially with the beauty just beyond the railroad tracks and so close to downtown, Pines said.

Although he thinks of these ideas while he is painting, he isn’t necessairily trying to put these themes in his paintings for viewers.

“Nature is still strong and vital here,” Pines said. “I just hope they will get a feeling of freedom and enjoyment and want to enjoy the paintings more.”

Each of Pines’s landscapes are available for purchase, as well as some of the prints in the exhibit by IU students.

Printmaking student Jason Wonnell is exhibiting nine pieces in the December show. He has a number of two-dimensional, framed prints, as well as larger sculptural pieces.

One piece is what appears to be a pallet of boxes but is actually one large cube made of plywood. Although the piece looks like a pallet of individual commercial boxes, it is one single object.

Wonnell also posted commercial advertising slogans on top of landscape-style paintings.

“I’m trying to strip away literal signifiers of what the product may actually be,” he said. “I’m trying to accentuate an innate understanding we have in our culture about design tendencies and the world around us.”

His theme of commercialism extends into his work that shows large woodcut, cartoon hands he displays on the wall.

The hands can be associated with cursors on computers or directional signs you see in airports, for example.

“The idea is about agency and authority and the idea that we take orders and directions easier from something that is not a threat to us and something that is cartoony,” he said.

But Wonnell added the human aspect back into the pieces by including wrinkles and knuckles, making them more life-like.

Wonnell said he has always been fascinated by the way consumerism and symbols play a larger role in our lives, which served as the inspiration for his work in the exhibit.

Second-year printmaking MFA student Raphael Cornford is also displaying work in the printmaking exhibit.

He is showing about nine pieces, most of them etchings with big stripes of colors, he said.

His pieces are meant to explore the in-between times we experience in life, which was inspired while standing at a bus stop one afternoon.

“You’re not doing anything there,” he said. “You’re just waiting for something else. It explores what it means to want to go somewhere but not actually going there.”

The project first began as a stop motion animation but eventually turned into an etching project.

The big jump in media was a challenge for Cornford, who had to decide what the best medium for his theme would be.

“Hopefully it provokes for viewers a human moment when they think about that time,” he said. “What it’s like to be in those in-between times.”

The John Waldron will host an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in the gallery space. The event and exhibits are free and open to the public.

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