The motley acrylic paintings of Jim Keffer and the John Wolfe opened at the JRB Art at the Elms Gallery on Friday to a packed house during November’s Paseo Walk, with Wolfe’s refined architectural representations and heavy abstract sculptures complementing Keffer’s distorted and earth-toned landscapes.
Both of these artists have an admirable grasp of color, Keffer preferring earthy complementary colors in his southwest landscapes, while Wolfe deftly executes the complicated geometry of buildings using cooler colors juxtaposed by warm oranges and reds of the surrounding commercial signage.
Wolfe’s work is smooth, realistic, and eerie in that they almost always represent seemingly vacant buildings bathed in bright midday sunlight. The paintings, which are absent of any human figures, are effectively stripped of any residual quaintness, forcing the viewer to observe the beauty buried within the neglected edifices.
Somewhere near the other end of his repertoire’s spectrum, Wolfe’s sturdy wooden abstract sculptures loom large and open to interpretation. Usually several feet off the ground and easily disassembled, Wolfe cites the ordinary and observable as his inspiration (Bundle 25’s muse is flower stems pulled from his garden).
Keffer’s heavy and thick brushstrokes are charmingly blocked in his slightly abstract look at southwest scenery such as roadside memorials, cobalt skies, mountains, and isolated churches. As the sun is very much omnipresent in the southwest, his scenes appear to be viewed through heat waves, containing very few value changes and shadow. You can almost feel the sun beating on your neck.
Keffer and Wolfe’s show, along with a small works (8” x 8” pieces by various artists) will show through November 28. JRB’s hours are Monday through Saturday, 10-6, Sunday 1-5.
by OVAC intern Sarah Clough Chambers
See more about the exhibition in Art Focus Oklahoma.