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Bradbury Gallery presents spare, elegant exhibition, 'Simple Truths'

Oct. 11, 2007 -
- "Simple Truths" will open on Thursday, Oct. 18 in the Bradbury Gallery, Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. This spare and elegant exhibition features new work by Jamey Grimes, Joseph Havel, Phillip Lewis, and Loren Schwerd. An opening reception for “Simple Truths" begins Thursday, Oct. 18, at 5 p.m.; it is free and open to the public.

Jamey Grimes’ ceiling installation, “Between Space II,” is a cloud-like formation constructed of white plastic. This colossal work commands a large portion of the gallery, hovering just above the viewers’ heads. In discussing his work, Grimes said, “My desire to make objects is fueled by encounters with nature and playful experimentation with synthetic materials… I realize that imagination plays a powerful role.”  In “Between Space II,” we find the artist’s delightful interpretation of the natural world. He reminds us to take a moment and return to our youthful exuberance. He brings the sky to the ground, allowing us to once again take that long gaze at the clouds.

Joseph Havel, a Houston-based artist, will be represented by a sensuous body of work formed from custom-made fabric shirt labels. Three of his pieces, “Toy”, “Rest,” and “Dream,” gracefully drape down from the ceiling and puddle on the gallery floor. These lace-like constructions appear as enormous but bizarre veils or elaborate netting. 

“Bruised,” which lies on the floor like a luxurious purple-blue carpet, evokes conflicting associations. While visually beautiful and appealing, the title and variation of color implies battered skin, thereby producing an unsettling sensation of both attraction and repulsion. Havel says of his work, ”I was tired of making things that declared themselves too simply as art…I wanted to make things that revealed themselves in more puzzling ways.” 

A quiet and moving video, “Counterpoint,” by Phillip Lewis, continues his investigation of visually and conceptually interesting imagery. Frequently filming the landscape, he is able to manage the very difficult task of producing fresh and vibrant work from a much-used subject.  “Counterpoint” depicts a single blue balloon lazily floating in and out of view across a sky of the same color. The artist says, “My exploration revolves around the investigation of light, sound, space, and time; studying drone, repetition, vibrations, and the subsequent patterns that emerge.”  He continues, “I construct environments with a constant and dominating tone or mood, presenting atmospheres for mental and physical navigation. I often work with the horizon line, which formally and historically alludes to the landscape and provides a sense of orientation.”

Loren Schwerd’s sensitive yet tense sculptures from the “Loveseat Series” were inspired by her finding several discarded wooden chairs. She transformed the found furniture into works of art through manipulation of their form and the introduction of additional materials such as hair and string. This series of sculptures is quite figurative, with each object reminding viewers of family members or people known to them. The result is a bit unnerving, as the recognizable chair parts are familiar and comforting, but the distortion, while beautiful, is closer to something that may be found in the “Twilight Zone” rather than one’s kitchen. Schwerd explains, “Their manipulation has been guided by a desire to evoke the experience of individuality and conformity, strength and frailty, connection and isolation, and the experience of pleasure and pain.”

The exhibition “Simple Truths” opens on Thursday, Oct. 18 and runs through Friday, Nov. 16. Bradbury Gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Bradbury Gallery has no admission fee and is open to the public. For additional information, please contact the Bradbury Gallery’s director, Les Christensen, at (870) 972-2567.


Image information:

Jamey Grimes
“Between Space II,” 2007
dimensions variable

Loren Schwerd
“Loveseat 1,” 2004
wood, waxed string
32 x 32 x 20 inches


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