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Batavia art exhibits let patterns flow at Water Street Studios

Trio of artists unveils visual treats

BATAVIA – Another lively art reception launched the latest exhibitions at Water Street Studios, where the works of three artists will be highlighted through Aug. 4 in Batavia.

There was nothing unlucky for viewers at the July 13 Second Fridays event, where the main-floor exhibit smartly paired the works of Lisa Goesling and David Wensel, both members of the Artist Collective. Goesling works with painstaking delicacy on scratchboard coated with porcelain clay, while Wensel manipulates photo montages, yet their visuals reflect exquisite similarities.

Goesling draws an X-Acto type knife along the scratchboard, revealing the lighter shade beneath, whiter the more she presses with the blade. She adds colored inks with tiny brushes for the next stage of some of her intricate designs.

"I don't sketch first," said Goesling, a former arts director. "I don't know how [it] will come out. … I'm crazy about composition, design and line. [These pieces] speak to that – pattern, contrast, texture."

With her works inspired by nature, she found solace in her art during a long-ago bout with cancer when she brought along scratchboard to distract her during treatments – "to get lost in the details."

The correspondingly hypnotic patterns in a number of Wensel's works are achieved with his images of steel tailings, some of them merged with natural elements he photographed at the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park in Chicago.

Wensel said he and Goesling have been collaborating for about 18 months on the joint exhibit, his work inspired by hers.

For other visual elements, he has turned to his own son and daughter. In the colorful piece called "Doll Parts – Riff 2," he inventively incorporates images of his son's hands and his daughter's face.

It pays to linger over the complexity of both artists' works.

Wensel, who has a studio at Water Street Studios, said the Artist Collective, composed of about 16 members, puts on four to six exhibits a year.

A third artist's paintings are featured in the upstairs Kane County Chronicle Gallery. Pop art by the likes of Peter Max, Ed Paschke and LeRoy Neiman was an early influence for John Kirkpatrick Jr.

He said he uses acrylic paint because it dries rapidly.

"It lets me work quickly – I'm not a patient person," Kirkpatrick said.

Other artistic influences include Picasso – and like him – Kirkpatrick has found himself drawn to working within a prescribed color palette including a blue period. The most recent foray is into a striking series of portraits and nudes done in brown, black and white.

He said he believes those hues evince "more of a human feeling" and greater emotional response. To learn more about the artist, visit

Water Street Studios is at 160 S. Water St. Gallery hours are 2 to 6 p.m. Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit or call 630-761-9977.

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