Cultural Exchange 

Two exhibitions showcase art from outside the United States.

That Daura's life happened to coincide with the birth of modern times may have been a mixed blessing. The environment of passion and curiosity in Paris appears to have fueled Daura's own artistic pursuits, but at times he was swept away by the conceptual and formal experimentation that was running rampant at the time. He adjusted his painting style more than once to reflect his interest in new movements, and his art sometimes suffered as a result.

Those adjustments appear tentative at times; so much so that the University of Richmond's "Pierre Daura, Catalan-American Modernist" isn't particularly cohesive. But this exhibition deserves a visit because of the number of images that so succinctly and vibrantly capture time and place. Daura's portraits of places and people he knew well (including himself) are the liveliest. Of special interest is the way he transitioned from representing the dense European landscape to representing the open fields of rural Virginia.

At Randolph-Macon College's Flippo Gallery, a printmaking cooperative from Quebec called Atelier Circulaire exhibits samples of recent work. Displayed without glass and frames, the pristine and bare prints formed by a myriad of processes line the gallery walls, creating an environment suggestive of an atelier where exchange of processes and formal ideas proliferate.

Like many American ateliers, Atelier Circulaire is keeping the tradition of printmaking alive by promoting experimentation of new and multiple uses. Almost every printing process imaginable is represented, and often more than one process is used to form a single image. To create "Le valet," Michel Lancelot used dry point to draft and print figurative images, which were then cut out and applied to paper deeply embossed with a geometric pattern. The result, an unexpected marriage of forms and surface, successfully exploits the medium's range of graphic possibility.

Keeping the medium fresh and dynamic, "Atelier Circulaire" isn't breaking ground here, just cultivating it really well. S

"Pierre Daura, Catalan-American Modernist: People, Places, and Things" runs through Dec. 11 at the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art and Print Study Center at the University of Richmond. Call 287-6424. "Atelier Circulaire" runs through Nov. 13 at Randolph-Macon's Flippo Gallery. Call 752-3018.

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