Guitars and fables
Chico artist Krehe casts guitar in an ancient light; Children’s Playhouse presents Aesop’s Fables
Chico artist Lynette Krehe unveiled her latest collection of works last week at the Humanities Gallery in Trinity Hall, on the Chico State campus. Appropriately titled On the Way to Guitarro, Krehe’s show presents the guitar in several different lights, many of which are practically mythic.
Operating with plaster, stabilo and acrylic paint, Krehe creates a kind of fresco, allowing the chips and cracks that occur in her “canvases” to remain, imbuing the whole of any given piece with a kind of time-worn sense of longevity.
“Ascension” depicts a prone acoustic guitar, its sound hole loosing wraith-like suggestions of notes, arcing up and away. While a foggy aquamarine seemingly pervades the piece, Krehe’s subtle use of color becomes more apparent the longer one gazes—traces of yellow, orange, blue, brown, and so on. The title and those ghostly notes imply a spirituality that those faint colors also seem to reinforce.
“Airwaves (Thank You KZFR)” is a two-panel piece featuring hands forming chords on snaky, recurring guitar-necks, these latter eventually rising up and becoming the shadows of some narrow, wind-whipped trees (the “airwaves” of the title, too). The two panels imply a diptych, a kind of sacred painting in two sections, usually hinged, and set upon an altar in a church. Perhaps it suggests the musical instrument as a shadow of nature.
Krehe’s choice of plaster is interesting. It has a peculiar texture, at once porous and smooth. And the artist seldom fails to utilize the medium’s limitations, as well as its advantages.
In the piece “Silent,” she allows the stark white of the plaster practically to overwhelm, the faint grays and blacks of the guitar almost absorbed into the whole. The result is a ghostly effect, suggesting the ancient fresco of an instrument that has not been played in a very long time, the chips and imperfections in the plaster reinforcing that perception.
“Everynight” is wrought with hieroglyphic-type repetitions of guitar shapes (applied via print-carved wood blocks), the necks of which bend and twist like serpents or geese (some of the “glyphs” even have bird heads at the end of their necks). Interspersed among the red, gold, brown guitars are the occasional images of what look to be Egyptian deities—Horus and Toth, by this writer’s reckoning.
It’s a fascinating show, and a good place to spend a few hours contemplating Krehe’s intricate images and ideas.
CARD’s Children’s Playhouse, under the direction of Lisa Schmidt, presented a fun little production of Aesop’s Fables over at the Blue Room. Only four of the famous ancient story teller’s numerous fables were presented—"The Fox and the Crow,” “The Tortoise and the Hare,” “The Donkey and the Lion’s Skin” and “The Fox and the Sour Grapes.” However, they were four well-chosen tales.
Young Megan Ancheta portrayed Aesop, the other children playing characters following him both to hear and participate in the tales. In “The Tortoise and the Hare,” Geneva Wilson-Rosevea filled the Hare with funny nervous energy befitting a speedy critter, and Rachel Randolph was appropriately slow but clever as the Tortoise.
“The Donkey and the Lion’s Skin” was another highlight, the fable involving a presumptuous donkey (Clara Bergamini) who dons a lion’s skin to surprise and scare its fellow woodland creatures. Of course, this gag ultimately backfires, and the ornery ass is taught a lesson it won’t soon forget.
Naturally, the level of talent varied, as it often will in productions involving numerous youngsters. But all of the children seemed to be having lots of fun. And that is often engaging enough.