OWU Art Exhibit Celebrates Human Form
February 8, 2005Delaware, Ohio -- The beauty and mystery of the human form is explored in "Figuratively Speaking: The Human Figure in Contemporary Art," the current art exhibition at Ohio Wesleyan University's Ross Art Museum.
"Figuratively Speaking" features the work of several artists who use numerous techniques to showcase the human figure, resulting in an exhibition that is both diverse and powerful. The exhibition is organized and scheduled to correspond with the teaching of the life drawing class being taught in the OWU Fine Arts Department during the spring semester.
Ohio artist Ron Anderson is a professional painter and art educator-he is currently an art instructor with The Columbus College of Art and Design. He has several oil canvas paintings in the Ross exhibition, including the particularly powerful "Cargo I, Cargo II, and Cargo III," which dominates the middle gallery. "It's a powerful piece in terms of both subject matter and scale," said Justin Kronewetter, director of the Ross Museum and professor of fine arts at OWU.
"I give each of my characters a role in my paintings that plays out like a scene from a motion picture," Anderson said in his artist statement. "Carefully scripted by a personal experience, these characters go about their lives like you and me." Anderson's current art commission includes six original oil paintings for the newly renovated Ohio Supreme Court building.
Beth Blake has oil paintings, both on plywood and paper, which appear in the Ross exhibition. Works from her "Rabble" series are present, which is a collection of portraits she began in 1997 after she moved from a small, rural community to Indianapolis, Ind. "Everyday I passed individuals I had never seen before and would likely never see again," she said. Works from Blake's "Rural America" and "Balance" series are also in the show. The Balance series focuses on eastern North Carolina, which experienced widespread flooding in 1999. The Rural America series is a documentation of the everyday events that take place throughout rural America. "The bright colors and tightly controlled painting style of Beth Blake are at the other end of the spectrum compared to the loose, expressionistic style and dark, somber colors employed by Ron Anderson," Kronewetter opined.
Tom Caravaglia is a New York photographer whose techniques pre-date video and computer programming. His cibachrome prints show the human figure using a more traditional approach to studio lighting. "His work makes for a most interesting contrast in technique with some of the other photographic works in the show," Kronewetter said. "Tom's work also shows the human figure moving through space, but rather than use computer software, he uses a strobe light to create his visually complex images."
Antoine Douaihy uses life-size picture elements from six different bodies and then assembles a new, single figure in his silver gelatin print. The resulting image, perceived as being an actual human, is actually one assembled from unrelated objects according to the artist's statement. "In contrast to the emotionally charged works of Ron Anderson, Antoine Douaihy's piece is a very analytical presentation of the human figure void of emotion," said Kronewetter.
Lilla LoCurto and Bill Outcault
Lilla LoCurto and Bill Outcault have worked collaboratively since 1991, and their primary artistic concerns remain the inherent frailness and vulnerability of the human body. Their video work, "Thinskinned," shows one figure seemingly cut into ribbons that rotate in space and eventually return to form one figure. Near the video, there are images on the wall, which are two-dimensional portrayals of what is being explored three-dimensionally through the video. LoCurto and Outcault's video work is easily compared and contrasted with Tom Caravaglia's more traditional approaches.
Bridget J. Milligan
Bridget J. Milligan currently teaches photography and drawing at The College of Wooster as assistant professor of art. Her works on display at the Ross Museum are from the collection "A Public Confession," which Milligan said is directly inspired by her childhood memories and personal experiences of growing up on a farm in central Ohio.
Milligan uses a mixed media technique of photo emulsion in combination with oil painting, which adds color and texture to the actual pictures. "The work is different from what one would expect from a photographer," said Kronewetter. "Milligan's works aren't about detail-the details are essentially submerged and the surface treatment of each work tends to portray the subject matter more generally. Her art is like a mind's eye image in remembrance of events in the recent or distant past."
Basil Watson has been a practicing artist for over 23 years and has completed numerous outdoor sculptures throughout Jamaica. He has several bronze resin sculptures on display in the Ross Museum depicting the human figure with energy and emotion. "My figures are strong, heroic and sensual whether in quiet repose or in extreme action," Watson said in his artist statement.
Watson's son, Ohio Wesleyan senior Kai Watson, will exhibit his own work in Edgar Hall's Werner Student Gallery. Kai, along with fellow OWU senior Carolyn Pajestka will exhibit their paintings as part of OWU's month-long program, The Unreconciled: Lynching in 20th Century America. Their exhibition will open Feb. 9 and remain on display through March 4.
"This situation is unique," Kronewetter commented. "I can't recall that we've ever displayed the work of a parent and child on any previous occasion, but if we have, it was never simultaneously."
The public is welcome to view "Figuratively Speaking" at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum through Feb. 20. Ron Anderson and Basil Watson will give illustrated talks Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in room 312 of the R.W. Corns Building. A reception for the artists will follow in the Ross Art Museum beginning at approximately 8:30 p.m. The lecture and reception are both free and open to the public.
The Ross Art Museum is located at 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, Ohio. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday and Saturday. For additional information, please contact the museum at 740-368-3606 or at email@example.com
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