Cleveland State University
The Art Gallery at Cleveland State University

The Human Subject

Work in Gallery C

October 23 – November 10, 2009
A Different World

Gallery talk with the artist:
October 23 at 6:00 pm

Featuring works by self-taught visual artist, poet, and writer Virginia Konchan.

November 13 – December 5, 2009
A Thin Red Line
Artist talk and reception:
November 13 at 11:30 am

With works by Nez Perce artist Rachel Allen in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. Curated by Jeanne Grosetti. Cosponsored by CSU’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

November 14 at 12:00 noon
Family print art workshop with Rachel Allen and Jeanne Grosetti.

In this exercise each participant will have a piece of printfoam to make their own images, marks, or symbols that represent them or their family.  Each participant will print a piece to take home and share with family.

The larger collaborative project will be a large piece of paper that can represent the community of families or individuals that participated in the workshop. On this paper we will print each participant’s printfoam to make a community piece.

October 23 through December 5, 2009
Opening reception: October 23 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm

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With artists: Susan Hauptman, Sean Henry, Misha Kligman, Baila Litton, Jenny Scobel

Curated by Tim Knapp, Assistant Gallery Director at Cleveland State University.

The Human Subject


In clinical terms the "human subject" is often defined as an individual about whom an investigator obtains data through intervention or interaction, or from identifiable private information, or one who is the focus of data collection for an assessment or evaluation. In the case of this exhibition, the viewer becomes the investigator, and obtains information about the subject through observation, data collection, and assessment/evaluation.

Unlike traditional portraiture - which is most often a likeness of a specific person, or portrays a person in a setting that clearly gives the viewer information about the subject - at first glance it may appear that the works presented here provide the observer with very few clues about their subjects. Their environment and context offer very few details, and they all share an emotional vagueness, which supplies the viewer with very little about what the artist would like them to see. All the works have a common ambiguity about them.

But on closer observation, there may be some hints: the subject’s clothing (or lack thereof); minimal symbolism in backdrops and borders; the subject's posture or gaze; hidden text or symbols within the images; or simply clues in the titles. Although all five artists approach their subjects in very different ways and with varying mediums, they all invite the viewer-as-investigator to arrive at their own conclusions based on very little information. They are not telling us what to see so much as asking, making the work presented here perhaps more subjective than what one would normally think of as portraiture.

I would like to thank all the artists for agreeing to participate in the exhibition: Susan Hauptman of New York, New York; Sean Henry of London, England; Misha Kligman of Kansas City, Missouri; Baila Litton of Cleveland, Ohio; and Jenny Scobel of New York, New York. I am also grateful to Forum Gallery, New York, and 1point618 Gallery, Cleveland, for loaning us work for this exhibition.

Tim Knapp, Curator

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