Art Simplified

At times, art can be too complicated. Sometimes all you need is the bare minimum to get your point across. “Come As You Are,” an exhibition of works by David Rothman, strips art to its basics. The exhibition is currently on display at Centre Gallery in the Marshall Center.

Rothman is a senior art history major at USF, and simplicity is the name of his game. His artistic influences include primitivism and graffiti art in general.

“Many people are alienated by what they don’t understand. My works are easier to get,” he said.

There are only three media used in the works, and most only include spray paint on wood.

Rothman salvaged most of the wood, including particle board and furniture doors. On some pieces, the hinges were left in place.While Rothman says that some of the works are created “spontaneously, in like 10 minutes,” others he has worked on partially for over the past four years. The works deal with the whole spectrum of moods and emotions.

Some deal with family and friendships, depicting life in its many stages. Arguably the most lighthearted composition, “Girls night out,” gives a whimsical touch to the exhibition. The most colorful piece in the show, it features a row of five female figures dressed in red, gold, white, blue and green dresses, celebrating female camaraderie and their time together with friends.

In “Jig,” spray paints are eschewed, instead utilizing nature’s destructive medium, fire. This work features three figures dancing a jig, but in lieu of black spray paint as the negative space, the grains of wood are burned with a propane torch, darkening the outside areas, and leaving the figures in the natural, uncharred grain.

The sparseness of color displays youthfulness in the work, and the figures themselves show the playfulness of youth.”(Rothman) accentuates the natural grains of the wood, releasing a hidden artistic design,” Mike Caraker, funding coordinator for Centre Gallery, said.

Other works deal within the social consciousness. The largest work, entitled “War,” features two central combatants with guns – one red, the other, blue.

Red and yellow fire seeps from the bottom of the painting. The canvas for “War,” is a discarded bulletin board, replete with innumerable staples and pieces of torn paper. Rothman also gets in a little pun, playing off the word bulletin.

The anger displayed in this piece is halting; this is the realization of the techniques used in the show and is easily the premier piece in the exhibition.

“Woman violated” also shows a distinct social conscience. Depicting a woman lying on the ground, the work features a lightning-like strike to the womb of the woman, echoing the conception of Jesus, but also unintended pain and suffering, and chance and randomness of such an occurrence.

“I don’t necessarily believe that things happen for a reason,” said Rothman.

Another work, “Yin/Yang,” depicts two female figures each on two sides of the wood. On one side they are back to back, on the other they are on opposing sides of the painting, facing each other. “Yin/Yang” hangs in the center of the gallery, cutting the gallery in half, making two rooms.

This work shows the duality of people, not always on the same page but always together. At the reception last Friday, incense was placed on this piece.

Gina Benedetto, assistant director for Centre Gallery, said, “Incorporating the sense of smell makes (the reception) more inviting. Having smoke float around a work that is itself floating unifies the show.”

While easier to get, the works have many important messages to get across. Because they are easier to get, the viewer understands the significant ideas on display.

“Come As You Are” is on display in the Marshall Center at Centre Gallery until Friday. For more information contact Centre Gallery Director Sunni Barbera at 974-5464.

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