By: Ron Schira, Reading Eagle (12.11.16)
For the past 12 years, the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts has held an exhibition of artwork by its creative tenants as something of a coda, a topper for the year. This year’s presentation, titled the “12th Annual GoggleWorks Studio Artists Exhibition,” views through Jan. 8, filling both rooms of the Cohen Gallery with over 100 works by 42 artists.
There is no theme or direction to the event other than to show and tell each person’s best or most intriguing efforts of the prior 12 months. It is additionally open to past studio renters who left the GoggleWorks – their “alumni,” so to speak. Nor is it a juried show; there are no awards or prizes, and each work is left to its own merit. All judgments and criticisms are up to the viewer.A few of the artists step into speculative territory, such as Andrew Kaucher with his casualist piece “End Process.” Recalling Twombly or Basquiat’s automatic gesturing, the piece consists of scribbled autobiographical text, loosely drawn geometry, paint drips and collage on unprimed canvas.
A dramatic mixed media painting titled “One Small Step,” by Anne Chase, portrays a roughly painted naked woman being trampled underneath a tangle of legs and feet, also without clothes or shoes. The look on her face is probing, not pained or angry, and directed toward the audience, as if performing for them.Painted metal floor sculptures by Peter Jon Snyder and fabric/mixed-media pieces by Birdie Zoltan punctuated the floor with both inventive and humorous forms. “Beyond Burri,” by Georgette Veeder, is a 6-foot-tall biomorphic abstraction dedicated to the great Italian artist’s use of materials.Others, such as realist painters Charley Farrell, James Maria and Dan Gorman, have been honing and improving their signature methodologies for a well made, professionally produced object or image that is also interesting in subject matter or narrative.Farrell’s oil, “The Sound of Silence,” gives us a snorkeler’s-eye view of a lake or lagoon, as seen just a few inches below the water’s surface, light from the sun’s reflection dancing on the ripples. Dan Gorman’s oil painting “Untitled” offers us a picket fence, its staccato shadows casting across the snow-spotted ground like ribbons.Urging ecological awareness on a local scale, “Stick a pin in it” is Sue Biebuyck’s blown-up acrylic rendition of the tree-eating nuisance the spotted lanternfly, and a note relating the havoc it is causing on Pennsylvania crops, using art as an activist tool.Works by Elaine Soltis, Sybil Roe Thompson, Mile DeCoster, Nancy Sarangoulis and an animated Virtual Reality video by Kris Jackson are also worthy of notice.Of course, there is a great deal of good work in this show, and props should be given to many, but only a visit to this big display of Berks County originals will do this exhibition justice. So do yourself a favor and add this to your list of things to do this holiday season.