CEDAR RAPIDS — Abstract painting on thrift store shirts. Funky dresses created from fashion industry scraps. Paintings culled directly from the earth.
It’s all included in the work of five artists opening shows today at CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE. In conjuction with Earth Day on April 22 and the Cedar Rapids Eco-Fest in New Bohemia on April 20, April’s featured artists focus on ecological themes, often using recycled and reclaimed materials to dazzling effect. A First Friday artist reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. today.
Exhibiting artists include Melissa Lockwood, New York City; TJ Moberg, Des Moines; Madai, Taylor Fort Dodge; Royal Jarmon, Cedar Rapids; and Barry Anderson, Kansas City.
Cedar Rapids native Melissa Lockwood
opens IQTEST, an exhibit of fashions created from scrap fabric discarded by the garment industry. The wearable dresses and skirts are handmade and each piece is unique. Many of the pieces feature Melissa’s original art work, hand drawn with non-toxic fabric marker or paint.
Fort Dodge’s Madai Taylor is an artist and minister. He has developed an artistic process he calls “primitive scripture,” using the dirt from local fields, the famous Fort Dodge gypsum mines and the Mississippi Delta red dirt of his youth.
“Dirt contains rare tones, gradations and textures that lend themselves to an immense range of possibilities,” he told The Iowan magazine. “No other medium lends itself so well toward expressing infinite space and spiritual universes beyond the visible world. Dirt is timeless and of the soul.”
Co-owner of Des Moines’ Moberg Gallery, T.J. Moberg has been creating public and corporate art and private commissions for more than 15 years. His mixed media collages involve pouring recycled paint into an array of molds (everything from childhood toys to cellphones). He then strips out the dried paint and layers the results (skins) into frames, which he then covers with epoxy resin and treats with a blow torch.
“Artist friends of mine tell me they are excited to see someone doing something different with paint,” he said. “I’m just excited to be creating works of art that are like nothing else I have created. I want to keep pushing my own comfort levels and not get complacent with successful work but keep trying to create something new every time.”
Royal Jarmon is a California-born, self-taught artist now living in Cedar Rapids. Celebrated for his playful, mixed media figurative works, Jarmon’s CSPS exhibit, Beware of Love, features abstract painting on thrift store shirts.
“I look for designs and patterns that carry some sort of nostalgia, memory or popular cultural aspect,” he said. “I stretch and seal the surfaces to get some depth and a desired effect to carry my color fields.”
Barry Anderson’s video works are immersive environments, washing over the viewer with images that journey across the frame at a measured pace. His videos have the impact of a painting in the way they engage and pull in the viewer. Subject matter is mined from the collective unconscious (from pulp fiction to pop culture), creating new associations.
Anderson’s CSPS debut, “Junk Yard,” is a slow-rolling tour of pop culture idols set adrift in a gallery of abandonment.