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Queens Chronicle

Eclectic art at JCAL’s ‘big drawing show’

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:30 am

Carefully drawn tigers, a heart made of fabric and metal, trees depicted using human hair — these are just a few of the artworks that adorn the walls at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning gallery. It’s all part of the “Big Queens Drawing Show.”

The styles and mediums used are so varied that it is hard to decide which piece to examine first. There is plenty to choose from — lithographs, watercolors, oil paintings, pencil and brush pen drawings — and all the artists are from Queens. Some 75 of them — both the well-known and the obscure — submitted a total of 140 works for the exhibition.

There is no unifying theme, according to Heng-Gil Han, curator of visual arts at JCAL, other than that it’s a sampling of artists pushing the limits of their creativity and each work is no larger than 36-by-36 inches.

“They are going beyond the traditional and conventional and thinking outside the box,” Han said. “They are being inventive.”

There is perhaps no greater example of that in the exhibition than the piece called “Dusty Forest” by Hong Seon Jang, which is an image of trees made from masking tape, dust, ash and human hair and placed on a Mylar canvas.

“Conveying the subject is one thing, but trying to invent a new form of visual language is also important,” Han said.

Then there is the sole piece of outsider art, a nontraditional work by a person not commonly recognized as an artist, featured in the collection — a large fabric and metal heart called, what else, “Happy Heart,” by Odathrowback of Jamaica, who designs emblems and medallions for hip-hop artists.

A trio of tantalizing tigers — watercolor paintings by Paul Decay called “Sanshin vs. Sanshin I II and III” is a type of Korean folk art, Han explained, and the transparent circles behind the felines evoke the geographic shape of North and South Korea.

“Sanshin means the ghost of a mountain,” Han said. “They venerate the mountain by using the tigers as symbols of good fortune and long life.”

Interestingly, some of the pieces are stills by video and animation makers. Lily & Honglei have created a hypnotic series of three images depicting a woman’s face surrounded by clouds and waves. Titled “The Moonlit Night I, II and III,” they are part of a yet-untitled film being created by the duo, Han said, and are in the medium of charcoal pencil and pastel on paper.

“They draw each scene and then they take a picture, and they combine them together,” Han said of the images. “They are beautiful.”

‘Big Queens Drawing Show’

When: through Oct. 5, Tues. to Thurs., 9 to 5:30 p.m. and Sat. 9 a.m. to 2:30 pm.

Where: Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, 161-04 Jamaica Ave.

Tickets: Free. jcal.org

(718) 658-7400 ext. 2132

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