Diverse show at Moxie’s features photographs, paintings and furnishings
An interesting assortment of styles and mediums is currently on the walls at Moxie’s Café & Gallery, in downtown Chico—from powerfully stark photographs to symbolic pieces and peculiar altars. Here are a few of the more captivating visions.
By far the most eye-catching pieces are Bill Iha’s powerful black-and-white photographs, this collection dubbed “A Potpourri of Places (& Styles).” Iha’s keen eye for textures, contrasts and forms is markedly demonstrated with each of these offerings. And the “places” part of the title is apt: From the sharp, character-filled smiles of two children in a doorway in Berdychir, Ukraine, to the soft, serious expression on the face of a girl in a ceremonial kimono at a Japanese temple, these photos skip from one corner of the world to the next with grace and intelligence.
Even so, Iha’s studies in contrasts make for his most remarkable pieces. In “Vanessa @ Dusk w/Iron Work,” the twist in the nude’s waist softly suggests the exaggerated twists in the wrought-iron supports of the railing she poses behind, while the dark edges of the metal contrast dynamically with the woman’s softly glowing skin.
With “Kalissa in Eucalyptus,” the model’s exposed flesh against and amongst the peeling bark of the eucalyptus tree simultaneously suggests both the softness and roughness of the rolls of bark, implying the same aspects, perhaps, in “Kalissa,” as well, her stark gaze gently boring into the viewer.
Painter Janet Allenspach’s neo-Aboriginal-influenced symbolic pieces are her most alluring here. The small canvases with their brilliant and colorful evocations of Aboriginal ceremonial sand art depict duos—dragonflies, toucans, a dolphin and a human, and two human dancers in ceremonial garb—doubled creatures centered and radiating repeating globules of color—yellow, red, blue. Or perhaps it is the repeating patterns that create the figures at their centers? The suggestion of energy flowing into and out of living creatures seems central to these pieces. But then we are all supposedly creating and being created by the Dreamtime.
The most intriguing of Gregg Payne’s highly symbolic pieces is probably “Moon Rise.” A leafless, twisted tree seems both to capture and to be contained by the huge, radiant, gently pan-chromatic sphere, an eagle creating a gyre on the left within the plane of the disc. Energy, death and renewal—all are suggested.
Onnah Sisk’s “Searching for Water” is a kind of flat, angular, wall-mounted altar created from sharply cut boards and bamboo, showcasing an odd, tree-painted panel. It all perhaps suggests drought and thirst, and even the absence of liquid depth—but that might be stretching things.
Jeb Sisk’s “Mirror Reflection # 9” is a 3-by-2-foot frame and mirror, the wooden frame perhaps the most interesting aspect of the thing. Sisk’s “furniture” pieces often contain an element of playfulness, and this work is no exception. Here, the twisting, writhing frame creates the impression of a living, wild creature, complete with leg-like appendages below and above—a beast of the imagination. Which also says a thing or two about the true nature of the creature who’s doing the observing!
And Sisko’s “An Altar for All Reasons” is a three-dimensional, wall-mounted piece of glass and wood featuring the heads of Christ and an Egyptian deity, and those of Hindu, African, and Native American gods, as well—the whole thing somehow conveying a quirky good humor amidst rolling deep greens. Of course, perhaps the most important deity of all can be glimpsed in the mirror that backs the altar.
Also displayed are works by Dylan Tellesen and Peder Liljequist. Check them all out.