Community artists take turn exhibiting work for VACI

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos by Katie McLean | Staff Photographer

At the VACI Open Members Exhibition, which opened Monday in Fowler-Kellogg Art Center and runs through Aug. 22, longtime Chautauquan Enid Shames spent several minutes staring at a video piece called “The Aesthetics of Informatics in a Wandering America.”

Nathan Trevino, a galleries intern at Chautauqua Institution, created the video by attaching cameras to the golf carts that motor around the grounds. He hung clipboards next to the video screen that kept a log of all the places and people he caught in the frame. Trevino recorded the places in measurements of latitude and longitude, while the people translated into measurements for mass and dimensions.

“This is really unique,” Shames said, after pausing to read Trevino’s log. “You see the artists are really out there doing something. It’s creative and new.”

Shames walked around the corner to a set of three photos printed on metal by Elmore DeMott. She enjoyed the way the lighting and the look of the trees changed as the viewer moved around the photos. Across from DeMott’s “Tree-o Series (Red, White, and Blue),” the artist Robinwyn Lewis stood next to two paintings she had entered in the exhibition.

VACI Members, adult artists from the Chautauqua community, sign up for membership in the group and pay a $40 fee, which goes toward funding art student scholarships. Every member is guaranteed at least one work in the Open Members Exhibition. Beyond that, Lewis said, a selection committee juries what else can fit in the show.

“It’s very gratifying to have two pieces in the show,” said Lewis, who’s participated in the Open Members Exhibition for the past five years, “especially in a year when I see such strong variety.”

Lewis painted her own violin and a view of a road down to Miller Park, which she painted during the off-season.

The exhibition also features graphite drawings, iPhone photography and painted, used tea bags.

On the second floor of Fowler-Kellogg, two figure-landscape paintings by Lauralynn White had everyone talking. Barbi Price, the docent for the Institution’s galleries, helped facilitate the discussions. She walked around with her trusty notebook to interview the artists for information she could share on her tours.

In front of one of White’s paintings, titled “Assimilation,” Price asked the artist, “What are you assimilating here?” White answered, “The body.”

“So, I said, ‘Show me!’ ” Price said.

What at first look like the tops of hills in White’s painting turn into the head and breasts of a reclining woman. Price took Judy Barie, VACI’s director of galleries, over to White’s other painting, “Slumber,” to point out the shoulders and lower back of a kneeling woman in that landscape.

Joshua Clark, a galleries intern at the Institution, has a piece in the Open Members Exhibition for the first time this year. He used ammonia, vinegar and iodized salt to oxidize a copper leaf design.

“I’m so used to doing student exhibitions that it’s nice to break out of that bubble,” Clark said.

He was also happy to participate in the show as an intern with the galleries, since one of his responsibilities includes hanging the exhibitions.

“I got to hang my own piece and make sure it was just right,” Clark said.