The city’s three downtown art galleries, and the Shircliff Gallery at Vincennes University, will unveil a diverse set of exhibits as part of tonight’s First Friday Art Walk.

Art Space Vincennes LLC, 521 Main St., will present “Ellipsis…Ellipses,” by Tom Dimond, who was originally scheduled to travel from his home in South Carolina in 2020 to present the mixed media works, but COVID-19 closed the gallery’s doors.

Dimond, a retired art professor from Clemson University, has been making art for more than 50 years, but he says it was retiring from academia that allowed him the freedom to explore new processes and techniques.

“I wanted to do something more experimental and more personal,” he said of the collection.

The artist, who has exhibited his work in hundreds of galleries and museums across the United States, says this particular body of work was, in large part, inspired by the ellipsis . . . the three periods used in a sentence to indicate an omission or incomplete thought within the writing without substantially changing the content.

“I started thinking about how this could apply philosophically to making or viewing art,” said Dimond.

While he has his own interpretation of his artwork, Dimond recognizes that viewers will see something else within it, and it’s that concept of allowing the space for multiple readings of a text — written word or visual art — he was working with in this collection.

That and the geometric oval shape of ellipses.

“I had been using circles. When I started using these shapes it was sort of a shift, and I saw that as being a shift in space — if you turn a circle into space, it turns into an ellipse,” he said.

In “Peeling,” for instance, viewers might read the oval-like ellipses as eggs, perhaps — if studied closely — even eggs in a fragile nest.

Dimond’s work, too, is highly textual and layered as he employs everything from watercolor and acrylic paints to monoprints and images printed on rice paper.

The artist says he even takes sandpaper across the the collage near the end of his process, knocking away the loose pieces of materials and, at times, scratching deeper cracks within some of the materials, such as modeling pastes.

The paint and visual structures, including references to Americana, is intended to create a sense of “visceral anxiety,” he says, calling to mind the Abstract Expressionists and Pop artists of the 1950s and 60s, yet still “reflecting present day turbulence and frustrations.”

Art Space Vincennes co-owner and director, Andrew Jendrzejewski says the gallery’s hours will be extended during the month of October to allow greater opportunity for residents to safely access to the show.

Regular hours will be noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Friday noon until 7 p.m. and Saturday from noon until 5 p.m.

The Open Gallery, 329 Main St., will present “Squeaky Toy Variations,” by gallery co-owner Michael Mullen.

The collection — a series of photographs — is one Mullen describes as “rife with symbolism,” conveyed through the artful arrangement of his vast collection of old, but still colorful, plastic squeaky toys.

“Since I am using a limited language exploring a limited number of themes, I’ve found it interesting to explore these issues by rearranging the language.

“So this is not a single knock on the door, but a continued pounding on the door,” said Mullen of the work that is intended to be fun but also provocative.

The Open Gallery will also welcome back the Irish music of the First Friday Players this evening.

Members of the Northwest Territory Art Guild, 316 Main St., will host their annual Members’ Juried Exhibition, with each member having been invited to submit up to three of their original works completed within the last three years and not previously entered into the annual juried show.

Visitors can expect to find an array of three-dimensional media, photography, as well as two-dimensional work on paper and canvas.

The Shircliff Gallery, too, is reopening its doors for the First Friday event, hosting works by Nathan Meltz titled, “That’s great, it starts with an earthquake / Birds and snakes and aeroplanes / And Lenny Bruce is not afraid.”

Meltz’s long show title for his collection of large screen-prints and screen-printed sculpture, comes from the popular 1987 R.E.M. song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” and connects with the theme of the work.

This collection, he says, explores the role of technology in the natural ecosystem and questions both how the manmade environment is changing the ecosystem, as well as who benefits from those changes.

All four galleries will be open for this evening’s art walk from 5-8 p.m. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people are required to wear masks inside of participating galleries. Viewers are reminded that all the galleries have open hours during the week, and the safety of seeing the work in small groups, rather than in a crowd, is a viable option.

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