ANDERSON — Black and white are at the heart of the exhibit that opened last week at The Anderson Center for the Arts. “Either Side of Gray” demonstrates the volumes that can be spoken with the two primal colors and the range of voice achieved in their blending.
“I love the fact that it really focuses on how much expression and emotion can be evoked with just black, white and the value scale,” said Deborah Stapleton, director of the center. The show is culled from the center’s permanent collection with works spanning more than four decades. “This is one of my favorite shows because it says so many things and people can relate at different levels.”
While first impressions yield a subdued response in the viewer, individual study of the works demonstrates a rich variety of technique, media, subject matter, detail and inspiration.
Stapleton noted that viewed from a distance, in the rotunda of the building, the exhibition imparts elegance. A recent wedding reception held in the venue tapped into that elegance.
At the same time, Stapleton points out, “On closer inspection, there’s so many different feelings, emotion, expressions conveyed.” The works range from lighthearted and even funny to dark and disturbing or beautifully thought-provoking.
Visitors are drawn to two intaglio works by Bruce McCombs, where rich detail pulls the viewer in to scenes that grow more and more complicated under study. “Gulliver’s Packard” initially gets one’s attention with a classic car that dominates the large-ish work. Once arrived, however, the startling wealth of action and information in the piece absorbs the viewer.
“These things are very, very detailed,” said Stapleton. “He’s almost like a genius in working on proportions and lines and getting the details right.” She points out that it’s not an easy process either. “You have to think backwards.”