The art experience

Friday, April 9, 2010

I like to touch art. Most people frown upon it, I know, but I can't help it. I like to experience art with all my senses.

I stand as close as I can to examine the details and then walk backward slowly. I squint to blur it and see something else. I inhale deeply in pottery studios, smelling the sweet burn of the kiln or the dusty smell of a finished product.

And I'm still that little kid who reaches out to touch a piece of work and gets my hand slapped or remembers I'm not supposed to touch it and tries to play off the outreached arm as a stretch or hair toss.

I can't help it. I like to touch the art.

My eyes lit up when I saw a guy chest bump a sculpture outside Edward Bernard during the opening of the annual Sculpture on the Green exhibit on First Friday. The tall metal sculpture swayed and bobbed and then settled back into its spot.

Sculptures, possibly more than any other medium, should be touched. The artist worked hard with his hands to form and shape the piece. The viewer should be able to appreciate it the same way.

In the opposite corner, I suppose, would be photographs. Run your hand along that and you simply feel the glossy overlay or the paper on which it's printed.

Where sculpture might be my favorite art form, photography might be my second-favorite.

All you can do is look at it. You look at it and you think. You think and you talk.

In a little coffee shop downtown tonight you'll be able to do all of that. Cup 'N' Cork, at Main and Themis streets, will host the Bella Bambino Fine Art and Fine Wine Show from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., featuring Sheri Grippo's rarely seen conceptual shoots, "Words in Ashes" and "Cupid and Her Targets."

Grippo's portraits hang all around town. Her talent with capturing youth is well known, but her other talents will be on display for review tonight.

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