Janet Hart Heinicke’s “Derivatives, Examining Ideas Found in the Natural World”
Michael Wilson’s “The Horreum, ut Sacellum” (The Barn, as a Chapel)
Ankney Art Center
October 3 - November 29, 2012
Heinicke’s “Sunshine Through the Trees by the water hole” (detail)
October 9, 2012
The Ankeny art scene can only be described with one word: anemic. Unfortunately, the Ankeny Art Center has done little to change this reality, refusing to take advantage of the documented momentum in the Greater Des Moines Art Scene. For example, instead of aligning themselves with First Fridays, The Ankeny Art Center chose to open their newest exhibit on a Thursday evening, Janet Hart Heinicke – “Derivatives, examining ideas found in the natural world” & Michael Wilson – “The Horreum, ut Sacellum” (The Barn, as a Chapel) on display through November 29, 2012. Because of this, my daughter and I pulled into an empty parking lot on Friday night, discovered a dark building, and were forced to make a second trip on a Saturday morning just to view the exhibit. Umm…thanks for making it easy AAC!
Considering I started this review by focusing on the venue, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the featured artwork is little more than a technically proficient offering that lacks a unifying voice. The work ranges from beautiful to mundane, but never truly rises above the level of an art class assignment. Heinicke’s work features typical landscapes of rocks, trees, and rivers while Wilson focuses on barn perspectives.
Wilson’s Sepulchrum Mortuorum (detail)
That isn’t to say there is nothing to appreciate in the work presented. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see a piece from Heinicke which I included in a show I currated back in April of this year, The Green Show. Indeed, Heinicke’s use of metallic paint to distinguish dyed shapes is eye-catching. Sunshine Through the Trees by the water hole is particularly impressive because it is hung beside a matching study in graphite. This gave me an opportunity to discuss art technique with my daughter, contrasting the detail of the rocks in graphite with the dyed and outlined form of a suggested stone bed. Art inspiring dialogue is always a great thing, and as a father I appreciate Heinicke’s display.
Wilson’s Alligant Annulum (detail)
Wilson also has a strong showing. His dark oil tones and chosen subject matter make for an easy back room transition. Indeed his work, at times, is stunning. My daughter and I both felt ourselves reaching for the tie ring on the 3D-like Alligant Annulum (Tie Ring). Equally impressive is Sepulchrum Mortuorum (Tomb of the Dead) which recalls the darkened still life work of Raphaelle Peale.