Thornwood's March Madness! Standard Beauty

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Saturday night the Thornwood Gallery pulled out all the stops with a new collection of more than 25 artists on display. The March Madness! Group Show features a wide variety of different mediums ranging from budding artists to old standbys. The entire gallery was a buzz with excitement over this exhaustive collection.

Some of the work on display I had seen there before and was grateful to view again. One such artist is Kevin Box. His sculpture, Conversation Piece #2, is a small-scale stainless-steel-and-stone representation of the random selection game, rock, paper, scissors. The steel constructed scissors delicately balance atop the stone and are splayed open. On top of them rests a paper origami crane. The classic children's game has been turned into something beautiful and unique. I liked how the crane was used in place of a "regular" piece of paper. Box has a large-scale sculpture of a similar sentiment that is permanently housed outside the gallery.

In the main room of the gallery, artist Bob Chrzanowski has a multitude of paintings. I was immediately struck by how many different styles this artist has under his belt. It's almost unbelievable that one man made all of these vastly different creations.His scenic paintings were among my favorites, and there were quite a few. Chrzanowksi has a way of capturing the great outdoors through color and light. Some of the outdoor series were more traditionally realistic, while others strayed into impressionism territory. My favorite, an oil painting titled "Passages of Light," depicts a rustic forest scene but from a very skewed vantage point. Are we looking at the forest from above the trees or from deep within the thicket? Either way, we can see where the light makes its way through the clearing. The reds and browns of the pallet remind of that moment in autumn when the weather is perfectly chilled and the inevitabile feeling that winter is soon on its way envelops every one of the senses.

In a stark contrast to Chrzanowski's foliage, Lucia Sarto brightens her canvas with rich reds and yellows in the aptly titled, "Red & Yellow." While this cluster of blossoms is nothing new, its beauty is undeniable. It's cheery and light and doesn't make you have to think too hard, which is a refreshing choice in art sometimes. Sarto has created a lovely field of red and yellow flowers in bloom, and sometimes that's more than enough to spark the senses.

Speaking of color, painter Monika Meunier's series of overly bulky, globs of oil on canvas is yet another interesting body of work in this collection. Meunier has used the paint to develop almost an embossed style to the paintings. Despite the flatness of the actual outdoor scenes the artist has created, the depth perception exists because of the varying levels of paint thickness.

Of course with a collection of 25 artists, some will be noteworthy and others not. There are a few more abstract artists that made me yawn; been there, seen that, bought the coffee table book. Usually, I am drawn to art that I have never encountered before, but in this collection I found that the artists doing "the usual," flowers, foliage, still life, were the most interesting works on display. Sometimes you just want to revel in the splendor of the status quo.

March Madness! is on display at the Thornwood Gallery, 2643 Colquitt, Tuesdays through Fridays, 10am - 5pm, Saturdays, 11a.m. - 4.p.m. through April 17. More more information visit thornwoodgallery.com

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