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The art of the matter

Plantera's new exhibit promotes healing and catharsis through art

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The Plantera Group, located at the corner of Weber and Dale streets, has found ways to sidestep the tricky consumerism that can sour the artistic experience.

Throughout the year, the financial planning firm holds fundraising art exhibits for charity. The latest show, A Celebration for Life, will give 10 percent of its proceeds to the Pennies for Nicoll Foundation, which raises research funds to help prevent the fatal childhood disease mucopolysaccharidosis, or MPS.

Celebration features three gifted locals a standard of each Plantera show whose pieces reveal similar themes. Lorelei H. Beckstrom, Kim Polomka and George Sanchez all employ a lively palette of colors and an active imagination in their portraits and landscapes. And while they all have distinct styles, they fuse designs of delight and loss into their works.

Sanchez's pieces are cool and softly modulated within waxy oil paints, while Polomka's works are crisp and vibrant, focusing on the glittering natural world. Beckstrom's fleeting, ethereal works are equally stimulating.

Multiple washes of acrid acrylics harmonize in Beckstrom's large works. On top of the paint, she often adds words or doodles, synchronizing fluid colors with decisive lines. Along with her paintings, Beckstrom has mounted several of her sketchbooks as well, each page a colorful, composed moment within her life. Especially ingenious is the way she has mounted the pages; many are clapped between plates of Plexiglass and suspended in a matrix of other entries on the wall. Others are fitted into plastic booklets the viewer can hold up and read.

Beckstrom is eager to share with her audience, allowing them passage into her private world. At the opening reception, she opened her purse to reveal another journal in progress and a kit of watercolors.

Kim Polomka's "The Heart of the Matter," a dark piece that explores his father's sudden death from a heart attack, is more guarded. His emotions, though, still shimmer through in his color choices. This painted collage of drab hearts, keys and locks is completed by a small open window revealing a bright blue sky beyond the element of hope and healing.

George Sanchez paints urban scenes of couples dancing and small groups sitting in a world of shattered perspective. "Three Graces" displays women in a coffee shop, with their skin and coffee-cup labels drawing charm from an otherwise banal scene. Most of Sanchez's works are colorful and fun, though some seem tired and lack the same punch of the other artists.

Plantera has created a sensitive yet strong show, effectively pulling together the artist and the consumer for a cause. Sentimentality never overwhelms the exhibit, yet the charitable backdrop relaxes the tension of a normal gallery. Anxiety and insincerity are unraveled, allowing the true talent to shine through. This is an exceptional balance of multiple aims housed in tight quarters.

scene@csindy.com

Capsule:

A Celebration for Life

Plantera Group, 731 N. Weber St.

Through Oct. 19; Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Free; call 886-0456 or 800/864-4417 or visit plantera.com for more information.

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