Thursday, August 1, 2013

Local Art Seen: AJ Atwater at the Zeitgeist

It's rather astonishing how quickly an idea-seed can germinate and become a full flowered phenomenon. When I met painter AJ Atwater at her Urban Landscapes show at the Washington Gallery seven weeks back, PROJECT 30/30 did not yet exist, even as an idea. But when it flashed, Penny Perry of Perry Framing was there to help bring it to fruition. Whether impulsiveness or simply a lifetime of good instincts, the net result was a fabulous body of work which is now on display at the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe.

The concept in brief: PROJECT 30/30 was thirty days of live painting in a public space, the showroom window of Perry Framing on the 200 block of East Superior Street here in Duluth. Each painting itself was 30" x 30". People passing by on the street were invited, by signage on the window, to enter and to interact with Atwater. And ultimately, the individual pieces were given titles by random people who participated in this interaction.

Basket of Color (left) and #4.
Whereas all the titles were fun -- Stradishes, Meadow and Tulips, Yellow Leaf, Friends Forever -- the title on Day 29 made me laugh out loud: #4.

Stradishes, of course.
The work itself showed vigor and remarkable variety. Clearly the artist made the most of her vividly colorful pallet, which showed a marked contrast to the darker shades in her urban nightscapes. The very pleasing outcome has to reflect something of her perceptions of our Northland landscape-on-the-lake. Having been following along on Facebook, each day was like new present under the Christmas tree, emotionally exciting and visually stimulating.

Atwater (left) interacts with friends, guests and fans.
I'd like to say much more than this but it would sound like I'm gushing. The June show at Washington Gallery made me a fast fan of Atwater's work and PROJECT 30/30 only re-affirmed my initial impressions.

Recommendation: On Monday August 5 artist Martin DeWitt's August show will be opening in the Zeitgeist Atrium. I strongly encourage you to use that opportunity to see two really exceptional talents with strong Duluth connections here in the same building. Can't make it to the opening? The Zeitgeist food is exceptional, so take a lunch hour to savor both the visual and the culinary delights.

Thank you AJ for following your whim on this one, and to Penny Perry for curating such a fabulous offering. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I found myself thinking about the dead of winter and how happy I would feel to have one of AJ's 30x30 paintings come February 2014. The energy, the colors! Invigorating and inviting.

Christina Newman said...

Cool concept!

ENNYMAN said...

anon: If you own it, you can appreciate it and be invigorated by it every winter for the rest of your life. I say "Go for it."

XT: I agree... It's been fun watching it unfold.