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Creativity Beyond the Norm is New Photo Exhibit at OWU's Ross Museum


October 18, 2004

[ Ross Art Museum Exhibit ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Dove-tailing with Ohio Wesleyan University's 2004 Sagan National Colloquium program's theme, "Dimensions of Creativity," is an impressive multi-media exhibition in OWU's Richard M. Ross Art Museum.

"Creativity Beyond the Norm," is a unique exhibition of 72 photographs and photo-related artworks by 13 artists on display in both the museum and in OWU's Gallery 2001 in Beeghly Library. The exhibition continues through November 7. As Justin Kronewetter, fine arts professor and Director of the museum explains, the works in the show are by artists who make images and objects that are creative in unusual ways.

"We've selected images and works by artists who use the discipline of photography as a vehicle of personal expression, rather than the means by which one simply pictures people, places, and things," says Kronewetter.

In the work of Harold Edgerton, for example, images were made after he developed the means by which objects could be illuminated by stroboscopic light in bursts of one millionth of a second. His creativity is expressed by developing the sophisticated mechanical equipment, which allows viewers to see the world in ways not possible before.

Lorna Bieber's work involves the use of images appropriated from sources, such as books and magazines. She makes copies using a common office duplicating machine and from those images negatives are produced, which allows for the making of greatly enlarged silver gelatin prints. Her work, in comparison to Edgerton's, is less detailed because the process she employees produces works that are both highly abstract and dreamlike in feeling.

Using sophisticated camera equipment and specially designed computer programs, the 360-degree scans of human figures produced by Lilla LoCurto and Bill Outcault show viewers in two-dimensional images what in reality is three-dimensional form. Comparing their work to that of Rebekah Modrak's makes for an interesting contrast of creative styles. While LoCurto/Outcault convert three-dimensional form to two-dimensional images, Modrak makes multiple two-dimensional overlapping views of the human figure, which she then converts to three-dimensional form over an armature that is similar to one used by dressmakers.

[ Ross Art Museum Exhibit ]Carlos Diaz creates imaginary landscapes, combining actual landscape photographs of Coney Island in Brooklyn, with portions of 19th Century steel engravings, which are cut out, carefully aligned with the original landscape image, and then collaged to its surface. The resulting works are strange and almost alien in feeling.

Kimberly Burleigh's photographic technique and style is influenced by scanners used to examine luggage at airports and her digital images deal with objects that would be threatening—scissors, razor wire, etc.—that could possibly be found in luggage. Interesting is the fact that the images on display were made prior to 9-11 as though the artist was anticipating the resulting heightened concern for safety.

The seemingly straight photographs of Duane Monczewski are, on close examination, anything by straight and simplistic. Each work is an image, which has been carefully covered with layers of graphite and altered so subtlety that it takes close examination to see the results of the artist's hands in the making of his one of a kind works. Both of the Holly Roberts works included in the exhibition are from OWU's permanent art collection, and also represent the hands-on approach to image making. After first covering a photograph with paint, she rubs away parts of the image and then creates a work that is more painting than photograph and in the end, seemingly unrelated to the content of the original image.

One has to look hard to see the photographic content in Michael Berman's artwork, as he chooses to distress the photo fragments by sanding the surfaces and often obscuring them with thin layers of paint. While each of his works includes photographic imagery, it is always of secondary importance to the formal structure of his artwork.

Gus Foster's panoramic photographs result from using specially designed cameras that rotate 360 degrees while recording an image on film. Often the camera rotated two or three times while being hand-held by the artist as he rode a roller coaster or a spinning carnival ride. Each resulting image is a record of the artist's passing through space during the time the shutter was open. One sees the artist appear over and over again in his images as the camera captures his likeness against a changing background with each passing rotation.

While most photographers use photographic chemicals in the manner prescribed by the manufacturer in an effort to achieve optimum results, such is not the case with Ted Kuykendall. Once the standard approach has served its initial purpose, Kuykendall breaks all of the rules by adding foreign chemicals to the mix and subjecting the developing image to white light causing discoloration and aberrations, which result in images that are both haunting and suspenseful.

[ Ross Art Museum Exhibit ]"This exhibition features an unusual combination of artists, styles, and temperaments," says Kronewetter. "In addition to several regional artists whose works are highly creative in both concept and technique, included in the show are works by artists from as far away as New York and New MexicoÑartists whose work I've admired for a long time and was finally able to bring together in a single show. Even though the work on display may be challenging to many visitors, I can only hope that those who view the works on display will arrive with an open mind and leave with a new found appreciation for work that is beyond the norm."

This exhibition, which is presented in partnership with the Sagan National Colloquium, can be seen at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum at OWU, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and Saturdays. For further information, call 740-368-3606.