By Stuart Mitchner
The Robert Beck exhibit that opened July 30 at the James A. Michener Art Museum is titled “It’s Personal.” As Beck explains, “The majority of my paintings are done directly from the subject in one sitting. They depict where I am, what catches my interest, and what it feels like to be there .… The reason why I was drawn to a subject became part of the image. It got very personal.”
I feel the same way whether I’m writing about exhibits or books or films, or any other subject in the arts, and it’s why I think of these weekly adventures as columns, even though they’ve been categorized as “reviews” ever since I began writing them some 17 years ago.
In Beck’s stormy, mood-drenched street scene Love’s Notions and Novelties you can almost hear the gale-force wind and the water rushing in the gutter. Immediately I’m flashbacking through a stream of cinematic imagery, from the heavy-rain-with-gunshots-night of The Big Sleep, swept with film noir headlights gleaming on wet pavement, to a 21st-century television series like AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, where a father braves hurricane winds and lightning on a Christmas quest to buy Cabbage Patch Kids for his children.