Monochromatic masterpieces

As the temperature has dropped and the sky has turned gray above a white, snow-covered ground, wintertime is the perfect time to view a collection like Black and White, according to Janice Mathews-Gordon and Diana Smith, co-curators of In Your Eye Studio and Gallery’s latest exhibition.

“We’re in shades of gray. It just seems to fit,” Smith said. “Like the weather outside, Black and White is about dramatic opposites. It’s how people use tone on tone, and it just produces some really nice results. We did this last year, and it was a beautiful show, so we decided to go ahead and do it again.”

Mathews-Gordon said they’re doing something different with the art.

“We all work in different mediums, and we wanted to approach a theme from the different standpoints of all these different mediums,” she said. “All artists, when you take art classes originally, do a lot of contrasts, black-and-white imaging, so it’s getting back to the roots of art, using basic design principles to make it work and to make it a nice, strong piece.”

The challenge the duo put before their fellow co-op artists was to create works of art based around the two titular colors and every shade within. For the collection, they received everything from paintings and drawings to sculpture, glasswork and various mixed-media pieces. While many artists might have felt constrained by these creative guidelines, the In Your Eye artists made it work for them.

“When you’re dealing with colors, you’re dealing with all these variations of the same color,” Smith said.  “It’s really the same thing in so many ways; you’re just really dealing with different shades of gray instead of maybe four shades of orange and four shades of yellow. You’ve got cool grays and warm grays, so it is a little bit of a challenge.”

Mathews-Gordon, however, was a bit more apprehensive when working with the theme.

 “I thought it was going to be difficult, and I wasn’t really very excited about the idea originally,” Mathews-Gordon said. “But I actually had a great time doing it. There was something about just thinking about the design and the style that was actually freeing and very rewarding.”

In addition to Mathews-Gordon and Smith’s work, there are also contributions from Sue Hale, Theresa Hurt, Michelle Junkin, Andrea Kissinger, Basil Martin, Dana Powell, Carl Shortt, Jr., Silver and Chad Woolbright. Smith said that it was a perfect example of the “unity” the gallery has with its members, an idea Mathews-Gordon expanded upon.

“All of our artists do different things, but by approaching a similar theme altogether, it’s going to contrast what we do while also showing some similarities that are surprising even to us. It’ll be a nice, unified show, but one that will also highlight all of our different styles,” Mathews-Gordon said.

While both artists believe this exhibition is a great introduction to what In Your Eye will have coming up throughout 2014, for now, they’re just focusing on getting people out of the bleak cold and into the gallery to view Black and White.

“It’s a cold, dark month, and it’ll be a fun thing to do,” Mathews-Gordon added. “You’ll definitely see the world differently after viewing it.”

Louis Fowler

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