Monday, March 15, 2010

Thank You

Thank you to the artists participating in this project, all of whom received the idea with kind enthusiasm. Thanks to Kitaira Stotler for her wonderful work through Design Studio, and Josh Troy for his essay. Sincere gratitude goes to Carrie Butler for her support behind the implementation of this exhibit. Thanks too, to Maria Boada for her unflagging encouragement.

Maura Doern Danko

Maura Doern Danko lives and works in Pittsburgh. She explores applications of her painting that include projections, cut outs, leaving swatches in the landscape, and is currently compiling video clips of her stuffed dolls.

“My work vacillates between the empirical and the allegorical, that which we experience through observation on one hand and allusions to grander topics on the other.”

Houston Hill

Houston Hill received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland in College Park in 1993. In 1998 he was accepted to Maryland Institute College of Art and Design in Baltimore and attended the Rinehart School of Sculpture. After graduation, Houston and his wife Heather moved to New York City to further his art career. Houston continues to work on his art and explore the wondrous world of the visual experience while enjoying watching his daughter grow up.

I have always loved creating two and three dimensional images. This series of works, for me, celebrates the fun and joy of visual expression. “Cardboard”, coming to an exhibit near you!

Terry Nauheim

Terry Nauheim explores sound and visual relationships through digital media, drawing, and installation. She currently lives and works in New York.

"In “Propagation Seems Good Here Tonight”, animated drawings correspond with shortwave radio transmission recordings. Imagery shifts between illumination and dimness as if to sift through an atmosphere of random noise in the universe. This unpredictable environment, with its degrees of murk and clarity, propagates waves that bend, stretch, open, close, pack together and break apart."

video clip:


Glen Cebulash

Glen Cebulash, Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Wright State University, is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing. He received his BFA from Boston University and his MFA from The American University in Washington D.C. He has exhibited widely throughout the United States, most recently at The 32nd Annual Bradley Invitational, The Bowery Gallery in N.Y.C., and the Swope Museum of American Art in Terre Haute, IN. Since 2007 he has been an active member in the painting collective Midwest Paint Group.

Working in a largely improvisational manner, and inspired by both gestural abstraction and French constructivism, I'm interested in building spatial and figurative structures out of color and gesture and the ongoing dialog between abstract and representational imagery.

Dana Ingham

Dana’s work is an attempt to fuse impressions and memories of things that have struck him, and fix them in a tangible form.

"As a kid, I liked to draw from comic books and Mad magazine and build forts out of scrap lumber. As I got older, my parents encouraged me to pursue commercial art, leading to two years at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Since then I’ve been freelancing as a graphic designer and making art in Pittsburgh."

Josh Troy

Josh Troy is a graduate from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He wrote this essay for this exhibition.

"As the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is the invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end."
---Michael Foucault

The contemporary human experience is marred with uncertainty. Preeminently worrying is that despite steady globalization and technological integration, the human experience of individuals has become increasingly isolated. Sterile communication through high tech devices is replacing the flesh and blood interactions that are so vital to our growth as individuals. Society stresses self-importance, but demands conformity if we are to play by its rules. The self gives way to ‘us’, but ‘us’ has been replaced by lonely interactions behind faceless computers or handheld devices. Since our outward search has been stifled by technology, our investigation is turned inward in an attempt to find something real to sustain our isolated existence. This intense pursuit is a sign of a desperate society trying to find a collective identity. Problems plague the search for self-awareness in the current state. Moreover, the realistic chance of reconciliation between isolation and humanity is very low. Once the gloss of modernity has faded away, we are left alone with profound self-examination and questioning of what our collective generations, and we as individuals, stand for.
Curator and participating artist, Maura Doern Danko, assembled a group of artists whose work delves into this challenging pursuit. These artists, Dana Ingham, Terry Nauheim, Houston Hill, Glen Cebulash and Danko examine contemporary human experience in an increasingly isolated world.
Danko’s vision of a “postmodern reckoning of the human condition” plays out through the lines and sculptural forms of the aforementioned artists. Each undertakes a uniquely personal investigation via this concept. Nauheim’s images speak to nostalgia as escapism. The tactility and familiarity of her materials serve as symbols of a preferable history, perhaps an acknowledgement of a better time.
Ingham touches on this familiarity as well. His use of recognizable shapes presents the viewer with pieces that conjure an immediate response. Through these structures, the viewer is plunged into the anonymity of the crowd. Suspending the viewer’s sense of self-awareness through space and claustrophobia brings forth a feeling of anxiety. We are forced to examine ‘who is the self’ and ‘where is the self’ within the confines of the crowd. The viewer must determine if they should attempt to destroy the crowd and transcend it, or merely find their place within it. The monochromatic palate recalls pureness or stripping away of the ego; the sterility of the environment gives it an alien, timeless quality.
Hill’s work confronts the issue of self through examination of duality. There are clear differences of how we project ourselves publicly and the view we have privately. His use of subtle public humor potentially acts as a shield to internal fragility. The poetic physicality (exterior) of the sculptures quietly masks the fragile subject matter, bringing to life the inner/outer struggle. This dualistic tightrope walk highlights the disquiet of contemporary life.
Danko, too, interacts with exterior/interior dualism. She stated, her work seemed “reliant on perception which is relative and mutable.” This could point to an uncertainty with the role of the self in intimate interactions, such as her view intensive paintings. With the human condition in flux, it is natural to question the role of the self in a constantly changing world. The problem then becomes, how can this be reconciled with a confident or concrete self-image? Danko’s brushstrokes and characters exude this constant struggle to find what is ‘real.’ Similarly, Cebulash’s landscapes and figures come alive through observational marks. Swirling textures intertwined with harsh lines are evidence of an intense connection with the subjects of the paintings. This heavy overlapping shows a continual internal search to capture a perhaps unattainable vibrancy.
These artists strive to pursue a deeper understanding of the role of the self in contemporary society. The primary value of the endeavor of the artists does not lie in the results, but in the intense journey undertaken by each. If personal isolation is mankind’s future, then we must find ways to reconcile ourselves with the situation. Society, just like these artists, must undergo an intense self-examination, in order to better understand and come to terms with its current condition.