Two Local Artists Display Bold Works at Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center
Todd Camp and Richard Duarte Brown are currently at the MAC…since the gallery opening, the MAC’s halls have been filled with people. The artwork in the main gallery and the corridor galleries is large, attention-grabbing, and colorful; no wonder so many guests have been walking the halls. Camp and Brown have both been members of the local community for years. They met at the King Arts Complex, serving the same community through their art and respective talents. The gallery opening was a magical night that highlighted the connection the two men have with each other, as well as how impactful their presence in the Columbus community has been.
The main gallery walls are decorated with large canvases by Camp. His cloudscapes are a great example of what abstract art can be. He mixes colors and forms so that each of his paintings have a texture that feels almost tangible. His works featured at the MAC is a balancing act; he compares the sky and the ground, utilizing clouds comprised of color to make the boundary disappear and the two aspects collide.
Camp says, “Formally, I achieve depth and luminosity through the use of multiple layers of thick and thin latex, acrylic and spray paint applied with a squeegee,” on his page at Columbusmakesart.com. Some of the paintings’ color schemes make the work appear almost violent, challenging how we think of clouds and sky in general. However, the sky isn’t always a placid place, and Camp shows us a way to appreciate the destructive elements just as much as the aesthetically pleasing.
Camp’s work is enjoyable for all ages. A kid’s painting and drawing class at the MAC recently had students mix colors and match them to the canvases in the gallery. The students quickly learned how many colors and shades Camp uses (hint: it’s a big number!). The students are in awe of the structure of the cloudscapes, something everyone can appreciate.
Surrounding the main gallery is an expansive collection of multi-colored canvases by Brown. They hang in windows and on the corridor walls; they are set on a dresser in a room rendered to resemble a living room, and some are 3D boxes that function half like a prayer box and half like a time capsule. Many of the subjects of Brown’s paintings are close friends and members of his community. At the gallery opening, many of the subjects were strolling around the MAC looking for themselves and pointing out others they recognized from Brown’s collection.
Like Camp, Brown uses bold colors. His works are vivacious caricatures that emit energy and personality. Just by glancing at one of Brown’s portraits, perhaps one of the Long Neck paintings on the second floor, you get a feel for who the subject is and what they are like. Expressive may be the best word to describe Brown’s style. And through his art, he aims to show the relationship between community and art. Not all of his works are paintings though, some include mixed media. Donte Spikes-Woods is arguably Brown’s main subject, and one of the large multi-media works prominently features him. The exhibit also features work by Brown’s daughter April, extending the artistic appreciation to a family affair. Later this month, the MAC is hosting a discussion between Brown and Wood-Spikes; The Subject and the Artist is at 7 p.m. on November 30 and admission is free.
Into the Sky by Todd Camp will be on display at the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center until December 30, and Richard Duarte Brown’s exhibit Layers of Life will be open through March 18. The Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center is located at 777 Evening St., Worthington, Ohio 43085. For more information, visit mcconnellarts.org.