‘Square Deal’ Art Show

Madison Art Club offers
unique challenge to show participants

‘Square Deal’ forces artists
to think small for show entries

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(October 2012) – Artists often find inspiration in challenge. Whether it is capturing the illusion of motion in paint or recreating the minute details of an historic building the very difficulty of a piece is often what makes it so appealing to an artist.
So when the Madison Art Club announced that its October show would require that entries be exactly one square foot, Versailles, Ind., artist Jennifer Ripley found the small size to be an exciting concept. For Ripley whose works are often larger and created on a more standard rectangular canvas, “It sounded like a unique thing!”
For Ripley, the square foot of canvas proved to be ideal for an artists’ gathering at the Jefferson County Proving Grounds. “It was nice size for the paint out.” When working outdoors, artists are often forced to race the light in order to capture the scene and the small canvas allowed her finish more easily. Her second entry in the show is a winter scene. She explains that, “Especially this time of year I enjoy winter scenes – the hot summer got to me.”

Jennifer Ripley Painting

Photos provided

Versailles, Ind., artist
Jennifer Ripley works on a
painting in the outdoors.

The first annual Square Deal Art show runs Oct. 1-31 at Madison Art Club’s “Art on Main” art gallery, 309 Main St., with a reception to be held Oct. 28. All pieces in the show will be for sale for $125. Art Club President Elle Smith estimates that there are currently about 50 artists signed up to take part in the event.
Artists were challenged to take a 12x12-inch canvas and bring their vision to life on one square foot. All work had to be done on canvases supplied by the Madison Art Club to ensure consistency. Smith explains the idea for the show saying, “Actually, it’s a knockoff of a show that was done in Bismark, N.D. (Local art club member) Bob Saueressig attended a show there and brought it back.”
While artists were given free rein to apply whatever materials they liked to the canvas, they were strictly forbidden from altering the shape of the canvas, and no frames are allowed. The rules also stated that the “Art work must be done on a square grid,” meaning that the artists could not present their piece as a diamond shape. Ripley laughs that when she realized the show did not allow the paintings to be hung at an angle her reaction was “Oh shoot! I was thinking I might do that!”
Despite the uniformity of size, artists are dropping off a wide range of work. Smith expects everything from traditional paintings, to collage works, to pieces with pieces with polymer sculptures added. At least one artist has continued a scene across two canvases.“We’re very excited to see what will come in,” Smith said.
Ripley describes her personal style as “traditional realism” and explains, that while she occasionally tries to work in a looser, more impressionist fashion, “I like to paint things as they are.”
She works in acrylic, oil, as well as pen and ink, but has been finding herself gravitating toward acrylic for some of her recent works. She likes the fact that acrylic can be watered down or used more thickly to yield a variety of effects. Ripley enjoys combining open air and studio painting, saying that, “A lot of the time I’ll start in plein air and take a photo.” Then she will head back to the studio to do final touch ups on the piece.
While Ripley began painting when she was in high school, she did not paint consistently while her children were young.
Now that they are grown, she finds that she is able to focus more on her artwork. She has been a member of the art club for about five years and appreciates that “it just gives me the chance to get together with other artists. It inspires you.”
Ripley encourages the public to come out and enjoy the wide variety of styles that will be on display throughout the month. She also points out that the prices are extremely reasonable and will give art lovers a chance to add a piece by a well known area artist to their collection. The show will also include work by emerging artists so buyers will also have the chance to pick up a painting or collage by tomorrow’s superstars.
Smith explains that the show was set up as a fundraiser for the gallery to support the Main Street location with 25 percent of sales going back to the club. While the large building offers an exciting showcase for artists and plenty of room for classes and gatherings, the cost does require members to come up creative ways to raise money. Smith said she hopes that the show will become a tradition for the club saying, “We want to continue this. We’d like the word to spread and become a big event.”

• For more information on the show or the Madison Art Club, call (812) 265-2923.

Back to October 2012 Articles.



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