The Arkansas Arts Center opens two new exhibitions tomorrow: "The Still Lifes of G. Daniel Massad," photorealistic pastels by the Oklahoma-born artist (now a resident of Pennsylvania), and "The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft."
Massad writes this about his work on his website.
I look for the image that will fascinate me throughout the months-long process of realizing it on paper; for the image that will take hold in memory, like a particularly vivid but not yet intelligible dream; for the image that will keep me on the edge of understanding, as if it were speaking earnestly to me about matters of life and death in a voice so low I have to listen hard for the words. Part of my search is active, painstaking, time-consuming. I do what I can. I construct, dismantle, and reconstruct. I look carefully at the objects I try to render, and then look again – urging myself past that contented partial knowledge I always want to think of as complete. I build on paper thick layers of pastel, the surface of which is more beautiful to me than I can account for, and then refine that surface, bit by bit. That is what I know how to do. But (and here’s the paradox): what I know how to do, even what I know how to do well, does not make good pictures. For the essential part of the search is indirect. It goes on – perhaps it is continually going on – beyond the purview of consciousness, outside the authority of my will, regardless of my best efforts. It is as if my chief task were nothing more than putting myself in the place where the next picture will find me – where it will, in a sense, get in my way.
"The New Materiality," organized by the Fuller Craft Museum, features work by craft artists who blend traditional materials with digital video and audio, computerized design and other technologies. Artists in the show include Nathalie Miebach, Wendy Maruyama, Brian Boldon, Shaun Bullens, Sonya Clark, Lia Cook, Susan Working, E.G. Crichton, Donald Fortescue and Lawrence LaBianca, Christy Matson, Cat Mazza, Mike and Maaike, Tim Tate and Mark Zirpel.