The Blackberry Farms gallery at the Clayton Center for the Arts recently wrapped up a painting exhibit by Knoxville resident Jered Sprecher, on display Nov. 4-26. The exhibit contained a selection of abstract pieces from a variety of years. The paintings emphasized shape, form and color. That being said, it stands to reason that, in my opinion, one must be a fan of abstract art in order to fully appreciate Sprecher’s work.
I am on the fence about this particular exhibit. When looking at the images of his paintings online, I found many to be interesting and aesthetically pleasing; however, the photos seemed different to me in person. Sprecher’s work came across with a slight sloppiness. For some time, I found myself wondering if a student had created the work in the exhibition. The unclean lines and bleeding colors were surely intentional on the artist’s part, but I tend to gravitate towards clean lines in abstract art.
It would seem that many of his paintings attempt to capture the chaos of the world. Reviewing Sprecher’s artist statement helps in understanding the aspects he was trying to convey through the disorder present in his paintings. He mentions that he attempts to use his paintings to capture singular moments: “My paintings extract elements from the high and low of visual culture,” Sprecher wrote. In his attempt to embody both visual highs and lows, Sprecher chooses to stray from tidy shapes and lines. Many have exposed brush strokes and canvas along with mixed hues.
Because the work is abstract, each piece is up for interpretation. Viewers may shy away from these pieces in fear of confusion. However, oftentimes Sprecher entitled the works in a way that was helpful in guiding the viewer’s interpretation of the pieces. Sprecher says himself, though, that they his images are no one thing.
“My paintings hold no single allegiance, but are constantly shifting from one form of representation to another…haptic documents of everything and nothing,” Sprecher said.
Sprecher’s work certainly makes a bold statement. I admire him for being willing to stray from mainstream art expectations. However, the successfulness of his endeavors relies heavily upon personal viewer preferences. Without a doubt, Sprecher’s art is modern. Fans of abstract art will likely be attracted to the use of geometric shapes and bright colors in the pieces. However, those looking for a more traditional style and accurate representations of life may be disappointed.