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The Carlisle Arts Learning Center’s first January Juried Exhibit, “Framing Religion,” was a success last year, not only by reaching and exhibiting artists not normally featured at CALC, but also by creating an interesting dialogue among visitors in the gallery.

This year they have followed up with the juried exhibit “Text, Texture, Textile,” a broader theme centered on the artistic elements within the works. Letters and symbols, smooth and rough surfaces, as well as canvas and fabric play vital roles in more than 30 works responding to the theme. Works from regional artists, as well as artists from a handful other states, are on display in an exhibit that attracted more than 65 entries.

Media and methods represented include straightforward photographs, digital composites, collages of newspaper and packaging material, ceramics featuring different manipulations and firing techniques, oil and acrylic painting, calligraphy and a multitude of different mixed media techniques.

Repurposed material is the basis of Raul Barquet’s bold yet graceful hand-lettering over whitewashed book pages taken from a bird identification book. He allows the quirky birds to give new meaning to phrases like “Nothing is Sacred” or “Busy Kills Lonely” in his two entries. The original text seeps through the applied background hinting at the original messages from within the book’s pages.

Patricia Walach Keough’s black and white monotype also makes text its focus in “Vanilla Twist.” The busy boardwalk scene features amusement park rides and food stand menus offering ice cream and cold drinks to vacationers. Despite the lack of color, the energy and activity of the evening is clearly portrayed in the summer scene.

Combining the concepts of text and texture is Kimberly Nichols’ pen and gouache “To Autumn,” an expert calligraphy of the poem by John Keats. Embossed leaf shapes give texture to the surface as autumnal colors flow fluidly through the words.

The bust by Maureen Joyce, “Pause,” is perched upon a base constructed of printer’s type as the figure’s head tilts back to balance a lone exclamation point block. The bust is covered in layered newsprint to further emphasize the textural element that is literally constructed upon text.

A two dimensional canvas by Ken Albright evolves into a relief in “Grand Central Transfer” as materials including cardboard and newspaper erupt toward the viewer. The whitewashed surface does not hide the source materials; indeed the layers create a textural, map-like surface.

Roya Mansourkhani’s swirling forms dance across the white surface of “Word’s World.”

Gold leaf, ink, and watercolors adorn the curls and threadlike twists as the colors drip toward the floor. The delicate shapes and bright colors create a vortex as they spin and spiral combining and layering color in sweeping movement.

The piece awarded Best in Show came from Mary Hochendoner in “Bedouin Dream” an oil painting on paper. Against backgrounds of calming blues, a golden ribbon appears caught by winds, holding it aloft. The bright strip of fabric twists and extends, appearing so realistic but at the same time surreal and timeless. The ability to capture the undeniable characteristics of both the textile and texture upon a flat canvas to fool the eye demonstrates a true mastery of her art.

The common thread that is woven through the three simultaneous themes of “Text, Texture, Textile” has inspired the artists of the exhibition in ways that will surprise, intrigue and delight the viewer. From delicate lettering to tactile sculptures, the themes running through the works tie the elements of the exhibit together into a unique yet cohesive unit.

“Text, Texture, Textile” is on display on the first floor, G.B. Stuart Gallery at CALC and is available for viewing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, through Feb. 4. CALC is located at 38 W. Pomfret St., in Carlisle. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information see www.CarlisleArts.org or call 717-249-6973.

Joseph George holds degrees in history and art history from Dickinson College. He and his wife, Barrie Ann have spent over 25 years together traveling and visiting art galleries locally and throughout the world. Their tastes range from fine art to street art.

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