Materialism or Immaterialism?

Axom Gallery
  presents art by Henry Avignon

Immaterialism is a metaphysical doctrine that denies the existence of matter and it might call into question our appreciation of art – what are we seeing?  Maybe everything is sheer energy, and what we experience are vibrations – a cosmic chord structure with which we resonate?  We need a physicist to shake out the distinctions here, or should we just relax and enjoy the art?

But hold on – the art gets us to question what we are seeing, and how we feel after what we have seen.. What is the lasting impression?  Standing in front of the art at Axom Gallery, we find a suite of prints as a memorial to those whose lives were lost at Newtown, CT a few months ago.  This show by the artist Henry Avignon is very eloquent, and has the healing capacity that time and color can bring to those who seek it out.

Is it ironic that great heat has shaped what we are seeing in this art?  The act of galvanization –  applications of a torch to plates of copper – bring out a variety of colors and also forms that seem to appear and recede as part of the process.  That process is documented by making photo captures of the surface of the copper plates and then reproducing those images – and this series of prints is the result.

The copper plates continue to oxidize and gradually turn a greenish brown, and are not part of the show except as the momentary image – a canvas on the way through some major changes – just like life.

Henry Avignon
    with the Newtown Collection – A Gift of Hope

This spring there is a lot to see, and not all shows get this kind of recognition, but Henry Avignon’s artwork found on a front page story in the Democrat & Chronicle brought out many people who might not seek out contemporary art otherwise.

So if you continue to look for subtle inspiring artwork, go off to the LBJ Building on the campus of R.I.T. – and into the Dyer Art Center, walk up the circular stair and visit “Satori” .  Fahan “Sky” Mcdonagh is the artist, and the afternoon I visited this show my eye was caught by the wall work – a glass drawing – where fine rods of glass have been shaped ( once again with heat ) and suspended in front of a white plane.  The lighting creates slanted shadows which help create the drawing – so unusual!  All the art in this show was influenced by natural forces and seems to have an autumnal character ( maybe it is the dry leaves on the floor piece that make that lasting impression).

Artwork by Fahan “Sky” Mcdonagh
   at the Dyer Art Center, R.I.T.

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