The Visual Arts Center, TCC at Olde Towne, held its fall exhibition, Noah Scalin and Thomas Xenakis: In, Above and Beyond Ground, September 15 through November 1, 2012. The Opening Reception took place on Friday, September 14 at 7 p.m.
Noah Scalin (Richmond, VA) created work recognizable by its skull imagery and impermanent media. In his site-specific installation, the artist continued this theme using 497 old videotape cassettes, films that have been rapidly replaced first by DVDs and more recently Blu-ray discs, two recording formats that will soon become obsolete themselves. More symbolically, the work was about environmental and political issues — mainly with regard to oil and our dependency on this rapidly depleting resource. The dismal blackness of the unspooled tape represented the environmental risks associated with offshore drilling and the danger it poses to our delicate ecosystem.
A scholar of Medieval Byzantine iconography, Thomas Xenakis (Washington, D.C.) thrives on combining the realms of sacred and secular art. His recent work consisted of 60 small to moderately sized mixed media paintings inspired by the scarred and defaced surfaces of early devotional imagery. Rich with symbolism,the icon panels were wood (sometimes paper, acrylic or glass) and represented the body. Additional media — glue, linen, gesso, bole, gold, paint, varnish — were meant to echo the complexities of our daily lives. Embellishment and texture visually addressed our energized and frantic search for things we desire most, not only for ourselves but also for the entire universe.