Works from this year’s Summerfest featured artists are on display on the second floor of the Memorial Courthouse now through Aug. 30.
The artists resurrect a bygone time in their own ways.
Theresa Otteson looks to earlier Summerfest performances, recreating dancers who haven’t seen our shores in years. JJ Galacia and Michael Young look even further back, infusing their work with the history of other cultures.
Otteson has captured candid images of previous year’s musicians and dancers and transformed them into vivid, colorful paintings.
A few are onstage in the middle of a performance, skirts swirling in time to unheard music, while others are caught in candid moments between performances. Everyone is portrayed in the same clear, realistic smile, and Otteson makes smiles gleam just as brightly as the patterns in their native costumes.
Taken together, they have the magnificent effect of stepping inside someone else’s memory. For a moment, viewers feel like they’re standing in the sunlight that long-ago day, catching a glimpse of a beautiful, happy moment that can never come again.
The other artists delve far deeper into the sweep of history. JJ Galacia, the featured international artist, takes viewers on a journey through Mexico’s oldest myths and legends. His water relief-crafted aluminum pieces look as though they could have been pulled from some lost temple, with gods in full regalia.
The rich details and suggested stories may make viewers wish for a book of legends to be displayed nearby, so we could hear about the exploits behind the images.
Michael Young, this year’s emerging artist, creates sculptures that evoke the simplicity and deeper meaning of African masks. His best, “Window to the Soul,” feels like something out of a time when people devoted themselves to vision quests, looking for something that would outlast them.