The Austin Chronicle

Arts Review

Reviewed by Jacqueline May, April 14, 2006, Arts

Learning From Local Artists

Texas French Bread Bakery, 1700 S. Congress, through April 28

Benné Rockett's art class at the Dougherty Art School Creativity Club is gifted with an instructor who has an unusual degree of knowledge and connectedness in her field. The artist and Chronicle contributor and two other artists, Lance Letscher and this writer, demonstrated and provided examples of our work to this group of young creators, and the kids' responses are now on the walls of Texas French Bread on South Congress alongside these examples. The artwork that the students have created provides ample evidence that they paid attention and really learned from the experience. Groups of art in encaustic, with glue gun patterns, encaustic with oil and aluminum leaf, and two different collage series are on display. Ê

To my eye, the most successful of these works is a series of collages that were created based on Letscher's Stages of Life collage, using fragments of vintage books that had been donated to the class for that purpose. It is often the case that creators in an earlier phase of development achieve their greatest level of success using a limited and therefore less distracting color palette. The sensitivity shown in this narrowed range of creams, blacks, whites, and grays, and the careful compositional placement of the collage elements in this group of works show that the kids are learning some valuable lessons. Alongside this evidence of the heightened sensitivity – perhaps the greatest gift art has to offer – is a playfulness that is the unique gift of childhood.

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