Art Galleries

Exhibitions open June 15th, 2008 and continues to August 17th, 2008

 An Ice Cream Social Reception will be held Sunday, June 29th from 1pm to 4pm.

 Steven Athanas - While reading a book review on this year (I read all the high-brow reviews) I came across a quote from author, Richard Russo:

“We Americans have a right, a privilege, maybe even the responsibility to reinvent ourselves”.

At the seasoned age of 55, I have chosen to take Mr. Russo at his word. To quote another (William Blake, poet),“ I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s”

These two quotes are the force behind my life and actions. Although I am an Art teacher presently, I am striving to make my Art and my Music the prime motivation (and financial anchor) of my sordid existence.

Although I recognize that the retirement plan and benefits of this trade are nothing to brag about, I nevertheless must be true to thine self (sic.)

My drawings reflect a credo to refuse to take the world too seriously (although I do recognize its inherent seriousness - hence my high blood pressure). I take liberties with all of Art’s boundaries and see the mistakes I make as part of the process; making them work as a part of the given piece I am working on.

I recognize there are those that see my work as whimsical, light and cartoonish. So be it, though it nevertheless comes from my heart. Please, just don’t call it cute.

As I continue to transform Russo’s words to fit me, and seek shelter in Blake’s quote, I hope my artistic and musical endeavors serve to please myself and others.

 Laura Gajewski - “. . . place applies to our own personal memory, known or unknown histories, marks made in the land that provoke and evoke. Place is latitudinal and longitudinal within the map of a person’s life. It is temporal and spatial, personal and political. A layered location replete with human histories and memories, place has width as well as depth. It is about connections, what surrounds it, what formed it, what happened there, what will happen there.”
Lucy R. Lippard
The Lure of the Local; Senses of Place in A Multi centered Society

The media of this body of work might be hard to define at first glance. These pieces are made up of photographs transferred onto various materials, then immersed into polyester resin. I have spent years investigating abandoned houses, and the history of lonely places. When visiting, I occasionally “collect” pieces of the house itself – scraps of linoleum, wall paper, painted wood. I like to think of this as the “residue” of the house, and these scraps serve to become the background for the application of transferred photographs. Through research, I have been able to acquire photos of some previous residents of these places, and these characters have been transferred (using Lasertran) onto the various building materials. Finally, I am intrigued by the idea of preservation. The final step in this creative process is to carefully pour the liquid resin into hand-made latex rubber molds, sealing the photo collages inside. I have chosen to immerse these small collages into resin, as a way to stop decay and, perhaps, freeze time.

My intent with this body of work is to suggest to the viewer the ideas of history, memory, and preservation. With these pieces, I hope to provoke thoughts of these subjects as witnesses to life, surviving as empty shells wrapped around the passage of time. These pieces reflect and support the idea of discovering beauty in decay, of looking past the discarded and rejected to see the energy and life that once existed within.

Ben Hartley -My latest work investigates the ever fluctuating yet age old concern of Vanity’s role in a woman’s life as well as the influences of the male gaze. As the years pass, styles come in and out, new ideas of beauty emerge, and those ideas, extremes of how to capture such a beauty are desired while others left behind. Such suggestions of beauty are broadcast from birth till death, and with this pressure, where are the individuals who, whether trapped or openly embracing these ideals, left, both in the now, and at the end of there lives? Are these individuals ‘cheapened’ for embracing such ideals, thus feeding the male gaze? Through participating in our cultures image of vanity how does it veil many to their own natural beauty? Yet, what is the attraction that exists in either the act or outcome of these rituals? And where is the line drawn between self-inflicting harm versus “self improvement”? These are some of the questions that my work is beginning to explore through the use of both oil on canvas and pastels on paper
Jayson D. Lowery -I enjoy looking at how things are put together. Observing something’s grammar, anatomy, construction, or constitution gives insight into how it functions and how it influences our lives. A city’s overall form, its larger buildings and infrastructure especially, are indicators of what is important to a society. I often think about how these structures could be interpreted, or misinterpreted, if our culture were being excavated like Pompeii or Herculaneum. We attribute much of what we unearth of ancient cities as having to do with the spiritual lives of the people who built and occupied them. If our large industrial complexes are looked at as temples, who or what are our gods? I also am interested in parallel characteristics I see between cities and other large living structures (corporations, stars, ant hills, multi-cellular organisms, etc.). One shared characteristic I am particularly interested in is the positive feedback loop of their growth cycles. They grow by consuming resources form anywhere their influence can reach, growing more massive, and in turn increasing their reach and influence so they can keep growing. This line of thought led to considerations of the metaphorical interrelatedness of terms like draining, gravity, heaviness, density and entropy. This also led to less architectonic work in which I was considering the movements of things like traffic, gasses, liquids, and emotional states as influenced by things that draw into themselves everything they can.
 Valerie Mann -Many areas of my life influence my work. I was adopted as an infant and raised in a family of six on a grain farm in Indiana. My work deals with agrarian land, growth cycles, personal relationships and my surroundings. My environment and strong connection to the land through my farming background inform my choices of materials. Pattern, texture and color interest me, as well as vintage, mass-printed domestic booklets and advertisements. I think about regeneration, reincarnation and re-implementation of materials as I work. I am particularly interested in life cycles, growing seasons and rites of passage throughout the course of lifetime.
 Elijah Van Benschoten -The predominant force in my art and life is balance. As a painter and drawer, my affinity for each varies with time. My method of constructing an image, either from memory or observation, also drifts back and forth. In each image I strive for balance of light and space.

My current source of inspiration is the natural environment and its curious interaction with human elements. As a former abstract non-representational painter, I am still drawn to spontaneous, expressive marks in both painting and drawing while preserving enough of the representational image to convey meaning. Some of the paintings utilize framing devices within the abstract fields to reference the image’s source from memory.

Traveling has played an integral role in the evolution of my work. Each travel experience yields new imagery and allows my work to stay fresh. The physical experience of being there in each scene is the most important aspect. Each title usually represents either a location or a date which holds symbolic historical significance.

Above all, I believe in creating art that is honest. I want my work to be accessible and not alienate my audience as so much contemporary art tends to do. I want my work to be part of an art world that has the diligence to reclaim lost ground in society. I believe passion and optimism can make it happen.

Joseph Van Kerkhove - In my art making I am discovering a visual language that includes objects, surface and color. A common object like the screw is something that is often disregarded. I use its traditional formal quality along with its endless conceptual interpretations to contrast process with idea. I juxtapose objects and imagery, and introduce color to make the work more quizzical, evocative and contemplative.

The introduction of color in my work allows me to communicate with the viewer emotionally. I do not make work with one particular conceptual interpretation in mind, but rather I feel that the combination of objects and imagery allow the viewer to draw a personal conclusion. The use of layers enables me to control what is revealed, obscured or subdued. This process aids in the interpretation of physical and visual relationships.

Every line, color and shape has its own abstract distinct meaning. Every combination of lines, colors and shapes also express a distinct meaning. The meaning can only be expressed by this combination, but defies a literal articulation.

The material is not as important as the process in which I use it. Mixed media gives me a clear advantage over working with only one medium; it allows me to juxtapose color against color, line against line, form against form and material against material.

My work has developed to where it is because I am in constant flux. I give myself situations where I may discover something new or provoking. These situations may not always prove successful, so I take knowledge from them and use it to benefit later works. This keeps the work fresh and gives me freedom to incorporate marks and processes in order to yield a specific line, form or surface. All of the information gathered helps the development of my own visual language.