Friday, June 11, 2010

Artistic License - Elemental Expression; Jana Scott and Jeff Kuratnick

As most of you know; this week has been difficult for me.
So I am posting my last article; for the Weekender.
I hope to be back in the saddle writing here again soon.
Again, thank you for your kind words and prayers.

More photos can be found on the Weekender website.
Elemental Expression:

by Caroline Denaro
Weekender Correspondent

Last week’s First Friday art walk in downtown Scranton provided a motivating abundance of art; the two-artist “Fire and Rust” exhibit at the Artworks Gallery and Studio was a pleasure that further enhanced Scranton’s art scene.

At a time when digital photography is annoyingly everywhere, the large-format, abstract photography reigned triumphant in “Fire and Rust.” Jana Scott is a talented portrait photographer whose first fine art collection is an impressive start. Creating a noteworthy buzz, Scott’s stunning images of rust capture more than meets they eye. The glistening, metallic paper photos are bold and vibrant. The cohesive presentation is more than just a diligent study of rust; it is a visually stunning presentation of color and detail with an underlying meaning.

The implication or theory she infuses throughout her body of work is that one should grasp the real treasures in life, things not seen, like hope, faith and love. Inspired by a spark of creative ingenuity, she totally embraced her vision. She based her theory upon the biblical expression “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In the words of Scott: “Where is your hope? Is it in material things or spiritual things? What is your time, energy and money spent accomplishing? Are you chasing treasure that will rust away?”

Abstracting a recognizable image into one that is nonrepresentational does not apply to Scott’s collection of photographs. The artist has specifically highlighted the rust, abstracted the forms, and captured the true essence of decay by enlarging and enhancing. Exaggerated size, color and the use of a reflective surface further covey the paradigm similar to archetypes dealing with shinny, bright, objects made of gold being evil. Those particular choices, either subliminal or intentional, lend even more strength to her negative connotation of rusting treasure.

Her streamline vision, technical skills and imagery strongly suggest an educated foundation. Even if one hadn’t known about her intentions, one would still find these works strongly intriguing and resonant. The evolution of her career in fine art, already on the right path with limitless boundaries and choices, make this artist one to watch out for.

Art shouldn’t be viewed alone and admired in isolation, cordoned off from the circumstances which surrounded the creation as the post-Freudian epoch. The conceptual vision of an artist can be an extension of his or her creation. Great artists combine all facets of their own beliefs about spirituality, personal emotions and life experiences into their works.

The technically strong and dramatic works by sculptor Jeff Kuratnick are another example of theories and ideas that permeate into the artwork and run consistently throughout. Although this young and exuberant artist is known as a teacher; clearly he can hold his own in a show, as he does in “Fire and Rust.”

A graduate of Shippensburg University and Keystone College with a bachelors degree in education, Kuratnick’s artistry is also apparent in his teaching style, with concentration given to ceramics and sculpture. His kind and friendly persona make him the perfect choice as Artworks’ special needs teacher.

Easily approached, the artist passionately explained his journey from the heart. Coming from a family of stonemasons, Kuratnick continues the genetic legacy.

Evident in his style, he combines natural, fluid forms with sturdy structures to create beautiful vessels, bowls and tea sets. Kuratnick’s fashioned vessels are similar to brick or stone walls built by the masons he so fondly emulates. His heritage is that underlying factor which runs consistently throughout his vision.

Youthful exuberance was no key to his technical mastery; he displays crisp and clear nuances between the use of tone, color and texture. Also understanding the abundance of glazes and choices to be made, the color was executed masterfully, with cool blues and deep earth tones that further encompass the connection to earth. My only point of contention was that more skill solving should have been exercised on the tray of the tea set.

Both artists will be on exhibit through June 24 at Artworks
(503 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, 570.207.1815 570.207.1815).

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