It gets sketchy at Form + Content Gallery... but it works.

[caption id="attachment_538" align="alignright" width="194" caption="K'riah: Rending the Garment. Lynda Monick-Isenberg"][/caption]

December fills Minneapolis galleries with large group shows that are curated to make holiday sales. And why not?  Sales keep the doors open and give artists a reprieve from unloved day jobs. (The more sales the less hours selling books, or shoes or coffee...  or the sooner they can leave the ad agency.)  The more artists in a show, the more variety and the more people you can pull into a gallery.  So, I fully support this. ... but it makes for a hard review month.

Sketch Work at Form + Content Gallery is a large group show with a less commercial aim. As the title suggests, this exhibition is an exploration of the limits of “sketch” as independent work rather than preliminary to a final product. The work here examines the visual journey of creation and embraces the spirit of experimentation and possibilities.

Sketch Work consists of fifteen pieces by fifteen seasoned Twin Cities based artists, each adhering to the theme in their own way. The variety here is great. It ranges from the expected drawings to conceptual work.

Lynda Monick-Isenberg's contribution to the show K'riah: Rending the Garment is a very open and airy. This drawing with gouache is an ambiguous narrative depicting a withered dandelion and the cross section of a human face. While the image is very delicate, the lines of the flower have a rougher, active quality. The wide open space of the paper suggests an empty universe full of endless possibilities.

[caption id="attachment_539" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Time Sensitive. Robyn Stoller Awend"][/caption]

Robyn Stoller Awend's Time Sensitive reaches into territory further out. This piece consists of  a small machine which holds two pieces of charcoal on paper. Each stick of charcoal continually moves, drawing two circles at two different rates, over and over, always on top of the last line. This piece is constantly adding to itself and constantly considering time and change.

[caption id="attachment_540" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Memoria Animus: Red Lake Series #1-3. Kenneth Steinbach"][/caption]

In my mind, the highlight of this show is Kenneth Steinbach's Memoria Animus. This tiny work is made by scrimshaw on well worn elephant ivory piano keys. The piece emanates a sense of distant memory which is so precarious you can almost feel it slipping through your fingers. The organic imperfections of the broken keys, with the floating images of a topographical map imposed over the top, exist like a lingering memory that has never been rechecked. The work's small scale invites the viewer to get close, adding a heightened sense of intimacy.

Throughout, Sketch Works is satisfying in its adherence to its theme. The work here is strong and, at times, touching. This show is definitely worth your holiday time.

So get out of the malls and get into the galleries. Or better yet, bring your shopping to the galleries.

- John Megas

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Sketch Work

On View: Thursday, December 16, 2010 through Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where: Form + Content Gallery

Address: 210 North 2nd Street, Suite 104 , Minneapolis, MN 55401

Gallery Hours: Thursday Saturday, 12:00  6:00 pm and by appointment

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