A review of Earthly Beauty: the liberation from “things as everyone sees them”

“Earthly Beauty” — Sandra Louise Dyas and Susan Coleman

Luce Gallery, McWethy Hall, Cornell College — Through Oct. 14

Cotton Candy, Digital C Print, 2018. — Sandra Louise Dyas

“Trace a certain fact in actual life, one which at first glance is even not very vivid — and if only you are able and endowed with the vision, you will perceive in it a depth such as you will not find in Shakespeare. It stands to reason that never can we exhaust a phenomenon, never can we trace its beginning or its end.” — Dostoevsky

Let us safely assume that while Sandy Dyas may not be approaching the beginning of the end of the phenomena documented and worked over in her current exhibition of photographic collages/montages, she steers clearly down the middle like a Grant Wood farmer plowing the field of identity and culture, unearthing fertile ground and missing artifacts lurking just beneath the surface.

Don’t be mistaken, for if you are familiar with Dyas’ body of work, one might assume that the current exhibit is a continuation of her lifelong passion of documenting Iowa with the dedication of a self-trained ethnographer. In a way, it is, but it is also a step in a different direction, as Iowa only figures peripherally in the frames.

Studio Visit: Sandra Louise Dyas and Susan Coleman

In preparation for their upcoming show Earthly Beauty, photographer Sandy Dyas and painter Susan Coleman discuss the similarities in their work and the processes behind it.Earthly Beauty can be viewed at the Peter Paul Luce Gallery at Cornell College Department of Art & Art History from Oct. 5 through Oct. 14.Earthly Beauty / Susan Coleman & Sandra Louise Dyas

Posted by Little Village Mag on Friday, October 5, 2018

She has expanded her purview to include Los Angeles, Italy, Europe, Dublin and many more locations which are tied together by her skillful juxtapositions and comparative poetics. Think Robert Frank meets Magritte but with rich, saturated color prints that have been skillfully spliced together creating both a train of thought and a rhythm which duplicates the lives documented on the vivid surfaces.

Indeed, I think perhaps the best way to consider the work represented in Dyas’ half of “Earthly Beauty” is as visual poetry which simultaneously makes simple and complex connections about the realities hinted at beyond the lens, organized by the unwavering eye of the artist.