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ARTBEAT

Photographers exhibit work

By Ellis Widner

This article was published April 3, 2014 at 3:05 a.m.

john-sykes-jrs-fido-of-nazareth-in-the-stratosphere-is-one-of-several-digital-collage-images-hanging-at-m2-gallery-in-little-rock

John Sykes Jr.’s Fido of Nazareth in the Stratosphere is one of several digital collage images hanging at M2 Gallery in Little Rock.

Benjamin Krain’s photograph from the Burning Man festival was printed on metallic paper. It hangs in a three-artist show at Gallery 26 in Little Rock....

Photographers John Sykes Jr. and Benjamin Krain of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette staff continue to expand their creativity.

Sykes is part of a 20-artist “7th Anniversary Show” at M2 Gallery; Krain is one-third of a group show at Gallery 26.

Sykes’ digital collages mix photos of animals with an array of political, religious and cultural icons and visual references. What emerges are images that convey a surreal mix of humor, social commentary and more.

St. Malleus Maleficus (two sizes: $125, $350 or $450 framed) evokes a stained glass church window; St. Maleficus and the Golden Door ($125) is set up as the cover of a book of Bible studies.

Also in the show: Anita Davis’ fanciful found objects sculptures, including the humorous Bango Bowl ($750); Matt Coburn’s thickly painted landscapes ($450 and up); and, from Austin, Texas, self taught artist Chelsea Brouillette’s ($125 and up) stirring mixed-media works.

7th Anniversary Show, M2 Gallery, Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 918, Little Rock. Info: (501) 225-6257

Krain’s arresting images (tightly grouped on the wall) are a fascinating mix of news photography, the Burning Man festival and more. His images ($190 each), printed on metallic paper, gain sharper contrast and stunning color saturation.

The alien-esque Burning Man, in dusty yellow tones, takes you to the infamous festival in the California desert. A picture from the Mud Run of a runner covered in mud is humorous, but the image also has a cool texture. A photo taken at a skate park takes full advantage of the sculptural shapes. News photos from the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina and the tornado at Moore, Okla., seem more intense, yet undeniably beautiful.

Also exhibiting are two new artists who have studied with painter Stephen Cefalo.

Logan Hunter’s drawings are skillful and, on the striking Eli ($500), shows a great use of light. Portraits and mythology figure in the 27-yearold’s work.

Oil painter Jason Smith, 30, has a rich, subdued palette. Especially strong is the spiritual Not All Who Wander ($850), showing a man in a forest walking to a bright light. At the Well ($300), is luminous in its skillful blending of colors.

Both show real promise.

Recent works of Benjamin Krain, Logan Hunter, Jason Smith, through May 10, Gallery 26, 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd., Suite 1, Little Rock. Info: (501) 664-8996, gallery26.com

Email: ewidner@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 32 on 04/03/2014

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