Thursday, March 10 – Saturday, April 16, 2016
Gallery Conversations – Thursday, March 10 at 4:00 pm
Opening Reception - Thursday, March 10 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm
THE ORNAMENTAL IMPULSE: FORM, PATTERN, AND COLOR
Manifestations of a compelling, personal quest for visual splendor. An exhibition of works by New York Based artist Liz Whitney Quisgard spanning the past 20 years.
TIGHTROPE: WALK THE LINE
A wall installation that addresses the subject of the trans* community and other works by Cleveland Heights based visual artist and musician Craig Matis
The lone figure as subject in the work of Ron Kroutel, Professor of Art, Ohio University, Athens
Innovative experiments in video and sound exploring personal space and intimacy by conceptual artist Blake Cook, Professor of Art at Tri-C
The Galleries at CSU have an exceptionally diverse group of exhibitions planned for this spring:
In the South Gallery, Ron Kroutel, Professor of Art, Ohio University, Athens, presents: GO FIGURE – THE LONE FIGURE AS SUBJECT – compelling images of the human form representing the interior psychological experience of the isolated individual. The artist states: “The placement of a figure performing a significant action in a landscape has become my greatest challenge. I decided that timeless human responses to existence are a worthy subject: joy, frenzy, ecstasy, anger, meditation, fear, etc. – states that embody some elemental reactions to life.”
In the Media Room, conceptual artist Blake Cook, Professor of Art at Tri-C, presents EMPTY GESTURES – Innovative experiments in video and sound, exploring personal space and intimacy. In these recent works, the artist uses video and sound as an extension and acknowledgment of the material world -- the appearance of things, the act of play, and the visceral. In the artist’s words: “Empty Gestures are ruminations without intention or direction.”
In the Center Gallery, Cleveland Heights-based visual artist, musician, and trans* advocate Craig Matis presents: TIGHTROPE: WALK THE LINE -- a wall installation that addresses the subject of the trans* community, and other works including artist books, video with original music, and graphic works. The artist writes: “I am not a trans*, but speaking from the perspective of an ally, and based upon readings and interviews I conducted with trans* individuals, I have attempted to express, through the creation of this work, the frustration, anger, and isolation that can often be part of living as a trans* human being.”
Finally, in the North Gallery, THE ORNAMENTAL IMPULSE: FORM, PATTERN, AND COLOR. Senior New York City based, world-renowned artist, Liz Whitney Quisgard presents two decades of new work in this captivating installation of paintings, sculptures, and textiles. Her art is a manifestation of a compelling, personal quest for visual splendor. Propitiously for CSU, Liz Whitney Quisgard has graciously offered many of the works in the exhibition as a gift to Cleveland State University. Summing up her art practice, Quisgard writes: “What you see is what you get” – Couched in this flippant statement is a firm conviction that the visual arts are exactly that –visual. No meanings. No preachments. No symbols. Politics; philosophy; the human condition; the environment and other causes about which people paint, perform, and sculpt these days are subjects for discourse – best expressed with words. Attempts to transform them into pictorial images tend to become mere illustration – most often jejune.”
All four exhibitions will open with Gallery Conversations with the artists at 4pm followed by a reception from 5 to 8pm on Thursday, March 10 – the exhibitions run through Saturday, April 16, 2016
The new viewing hours are:
- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday noon to 5pm
- Saturday and Sunday noon to 7pm
- Sunday, Monday, and Holidays by appointment – call 216-687-2103
Figures in Landscapes
The figure has reentered my landscapes. For the past twenty years, I have painted landscapes based on Southeast Ohio. Before that I painted the figure for many years. Now I’m synthesizing the two subjects by placing the figure in specific landscapes.
The placement of a figure performing a significant action in a landscape has become my greatest challenge. I decided that timeless human responses to existence are a worthy subject: joy, frenzy, ecstasy, anger, meditation, fear, etc. The landscape settings are specific places but become theatrical stages upon which the figures dramatically act out universal reactions to existence that all humans have always felt regardless of culture. My figures must be moving, gesturing -- even dancing -- so that they can embody some elemental reactions to life. While at times I use specific individuals as models, most often the figures are a kind of imagined “everyman.” A tension thus develops between the local and the universal, between timeless emotions and the cultural present. I leave open to viewers any other more specific interpretations.
My process is to work by trial and error from life, making small landscape sketches and paintings done on site. I drive around until I see a landscape that I have learned through experience has the potential to become a suggestive setting or stage. The figures are intuitively constructed from my memory and imagination. Back in my studio the small landscape studies are combined with the figure studies, sometimes further developed from drawings done from models. The figures and the landscapes are pushed against each other, distorted, recombined, rejected and brought back until I have constructed an image that feels resolved.
I build the final paintings up with layers of overpainting, scraping, oil bar, dry pigments and glazes. Yet it is important that the technique and formal concerns are congruent with the figurative action.
Empty Gestures is a last-ditch effort. It is a search for magic in a material world. It is a close-up, guided tour of common objects and ordinary spaces. The work is impulsive, tactile, improvisational and meditative. Empty Gestures is a first-hand account of a beautiful and crazy place.
TIGHTROPE: WALK THE LINE (ARTIST STATEMENT)
Much of my work, although not all, has pertained to social inclusion/exclusion. In the past, issues such as racism and parenting an autistic child have been addressed through my art and music.
The circus, in the context of the visual arts, has often been presented as a metaphor for the human condition. The circus is a non-traditional community that has always existed outside the mainstream of society.
With the creation of “Tightrope: Walk the Line”, the most direct visual approach could have been executed by a much more literal interpretation of the song. However, I chose to come from an entirely different angle, by drawing a parallel between the circus world and a group of people that society also looks upon as existing outside the mainstream: the trans* community.
Though much has changed for the trans* community in the last few years, with regard to the public’s awareness, there I still a measure of societal ignorance and discomfort about the struggles these individuals endure to become the people they believe they were always meant to be.
I am not a trans*, but speaking from the perspective of an ally, and based upon readings and interviews I conducted with trans* individuals, I have attempted to express the frustration, anger, and isolation that can often be part of living as a trans* human being through the creation of this work.
In my youthful, “truth seeking” days, I wrote reams of justification for my work. Now that the work has matured, and I, simultaneously, put less and less value on truth, words have become irrelevant. So, when called upon to explain what I do, I am inclined to say – “What you see is what you get.”
Couched in this flippant response is a firm conviction that the visual arts are exactly that –visual. No meanings. No preachments. No symbols. Politics; philosophy; the human condition; the environment and other causes about which people paint, perform and sculpt these days are subjects for discourse –best expressed with words. Attempts to transform them into pictorial images tend to become mere illustration –most often jejune.
My goa is to surprise and engage the mind by seducing the eye. Toward that end, I rely on pattern. The term “decorative” has been applied to my work –most often in a negative sense. But that’s okay with me, for some of the most important art is essentially decorative, Islamic rugs; Greek column capitols; Navajo textiles; Byzantine mosaics; baroque architectural embellishments… and so forth.
We all understand a row of triangles, a strip of squares, an arrangement of circles and swirls. No need to ask their meaning. They simply are what they are. They speak to us universally and without apology.
-Liz Whitney Quisgard, MFA