Art That Pulls You in—And Keeps You at a Distance

Art That Pulls You in—And Keeps You at a Distance
The Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, hosts FORM vs THE ABYSS
December 5, 2010
By Kristi Kellogg

It’s a dog! No, a baby! Could it be a cloud in the sky? Good art always has something that cannot be explained—and the collaborative work of artists Joan Scheibel and Rose Masterpol is an excellent example. An exhibition of their art, titled FORM vs THE ABYSS, is currently underway at the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, and it’s no wonder that 17 paintings have already been sold.

The joint exhibition, which opened Nov. 13, was accorded a second reception last Wednesday. Together, the two artists explore the concept of form through the multimedia artwork of Scheibel, the show’s main curator, and the idea of the abyss in Masterpol’s acrylic and charcoal paintings. Throughout, the artists consider Andy Warhol’s thought-provoking question: “Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”

To experience their art is to have “a powerful feeling about what is going on” in their collaborative work, says Masterpol, who had been approached by Scheibel, a longtime fan or hers, to create the show.

An abstract artist, Masterpol says she “finally let go” in this work, and let herself “rip and roar,” paying no mind to other people’s critiques as she created her abstract pieces. Her work is postmodern: Patrons must come to their own conclusions about what a particular artwork represents.

Masterpol is also more concerned about creating a deep sense of feeling in the viewer. “A lot of people would say to me, ‘when I see your work, I want to go in and don’t want to go out,” she says. “And that’s what I love.” There’s something spiritual about that kind of aesthetic experience, which, says Masterpol, comes from “going into the paint, the color, the structure, the mood.”

By contrast, Scheibel sees her own work as primarily an exercise in self-expression, centered around her own shadow. “I was stuck in Palmdale one day and early in the morning, I was walking on this wall and noticed my shadow,” she says. “I started taking pictures with my Blackberry, and from that I created this whole body of work.”

The figures represented in her images are her own, and she calls it “abstract, androgynous, vulnerable and strong.” Her images, she adds, are reflective of her “moving into another stage in her life” and a desire to “step out of the shadow and be more in the forefront.”

Janie Markham, an Eagle Rock resident who was at the Dec. 1 reception with her two young daughters, was taken by the nature of the art, particularly in the “contrast of the two styles,” as she put it.

Shari Beaubien, an artist from Santa Clarita, was fascinated by the “interesting juxtaposition of the raw and organic feeling” of Masterpol’s art and Scheibel more controlled work. Though Beaubien and her husband weren’t there to purchase any art, they said they would definitely consider buying Scheibel and Masterpol’s work in the future.

The exhibit will continue through Dec. 17.

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