“For the Boys” is also where you will find many girls

The new show at Graham Gallery, For the Boys, has been hanging since April 1st and I’ve procrastinated writing this blog since attending the open reception. The show features two well know local artists, Dave Stewart and Jorn Olson. I appreciate their work, so that hasn’t been the hang-up. I’ve started this review numerous times-put it down, given more thought to content-picked it up again-and then repeated the process. The difficulty for me has been how to characterize this show, so it is intriguing for you yet true to its character.

Is the show a historical view of the Burlington Sleeping Rooms as they were in the 30’s and 40’s? (Where they were then, the rooms are located on the corner of 1st and Denver in downtown Hastings). Is the show about creative photography that captures a moment in time from 70 odd years ago? Is it a collection of pencil drawings of pin-up girls from an era that shined the spotlight on movie starlets who posed for calendars? Or, and this may also be the conclusion, or is it a collaboration by two artists that move the creative needle from one side of the dial to the other?

Dave Stewart has been painting and drawing for most of his life. If artists had age categories like you see in some sports, Dave should be in the senior artist category. He has been creating prolifically at the top level for decades. (He has also crossed the timeline that actuarially earns him the title). Dave has always had 20/20 art vision and put it to good use when he preserved the Burlington Rooms and transformed them into installation art. He has enabled the past and present images to be seen in the same mirror. This concept can be vividly seen in the black and white photo titled ‘Choices’. I like the fact that Jorn has included Dave in many of his photographs. Being part of the art that you have created is rare, but for me it is a subtle, but artful addition.

Jorn is an award winning photographer that specializes in landscapes and wild life. His skill with lighting is always evident in his work. These lighting skills are the dramatic and creative aspects of his pieces in the show. The entrance to the ‘Rooms’ is the setting for three photos and it is depicted in both black and white and color. You can almost hear Glenn Miller tunes on the radio as the hostess welcomes you to her domain. When you look at ‘Room #14’, a colored photo, you might see a bit of a Van Gogh painting that never found canvas.

Dave’s pencil drawings are from an earlier time in his art career. They bring to mind names like Hedy, Rita, Bette, Lana and Jane (you can add the last name). Dave also asked “Zip the wonder dog” to join the show, along with some early paintings that fit the show’s theme.

I considered writing a critique of the photographs taken by Jorn and the 20 drawings and paintings that Dave created. My procrastination phase made me think better of that idea, so I decided to just encourage you to visit this interesting collaboration between two of Hastings’ creative artists. They both have the ability to take the everyday, sometimes mundane, happenings in the world and turn them into art we can appreciate and enjoy.

The show is on through Saturday April 25th at Graham Gallery in Downtown Hastings.


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About the author: Jerry Daniels

Jeremy Daniels graduated from McCook Sr. High in 1959. He received a BA in Fine Arts from Hastings College in 1963. After almost six years in the military, he worked for Dutton-Lainson Co. in Hastings for 44 years. He was a Vice President and Advertising Manager for the firm. His artworks include most painting media, as well as sculpture. His studio is in Hastings and he can be contacted at jldan@charter.net.

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