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“Transformations”: Ken Takashi Horii December 1, 2009

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Transformations“, an exhibition scheduled for March 2010, will examine artists who work between 2-D and 3-D media. Today’s post is a preview of Ken Takashi Horii’s thought provoking works which explore the idea of opposites both in terms of his engagement with materials and subject matter. Horii is a Professor in Spatial Dynamics at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Division of Foundation Studies.  Below you can read his artist statement.

Ken Takashi Horii

For over thirty years my work has been concerned with the reconciliation of opposites. The objective of resolving dualities is a conceptual framework that permeates my process and all related outcomes by informing my choice of materials, techniques, forms, and historical references.

I continue to prefer working in thematic series. Recent exhibited series include: Biformities (2003) and  Vestigium (2005). Biformities, is a series of thirty-four painted wall sculptures related to the “Jatakamala” (4th century parables of Buddhist incarnation). Vestigium, is a series of twelve painted wall sculptures each representing a dialog between presence and absence. In an exhibition in 2006 I included a series of wall sculptures using solid, liquid, and atmospheric landscape references within panels that contrasted shaped surface and cut opening, with reflected light and cast shadows.

Ken Takashi Horii

Work exhibited in September, 2008 at the Chazan Gallery at The Wheeler School in Providence Rhode Island,  is collectively titled “Of Mind And Matter”.  This series of sculptures and drawings incorporate three-dimensional forms and pictorial formats of two branches of Tantric Buddhism, and reference ink-blot psychological profile tests, for an inquiry into allusion and illusion in Eastern and Western concepts of perception.

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“Transformations”: Anthony Crudelle-Janello November 30, 2009

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Transformations“, an exhibition scheduled for March 2010, will examine artists who work between 2-D and 3-D media. Today’s post is a preview of Anthony Crudelle-Janello’s photographs, shot from sculptures he creates out of paper mache.    Anthony Crudelle-Janello is an Adjunct Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Illustration Department.  Below you can read a short narrative about his artistic career.

My lifelong obsession has been with the human face, its endless variations, its extraordinary capacity for expression.  In the year and a half spent in art school, I learned two things; First, that I would not find what I needed there.  Second, I learned of the contempt many educators had for skills that came naturally to me.

Crudelle-Janello

“Painters paint” had become my creed.  I believed I could learn to paint, as so many artists had before me, simply through practice.  Financial reality drove me to choose jobs that allowed me to carve a few hours out of every day to paint.  Among my jobs of that period were sign painter, window washer, chimney sweep, gravedigger, tree surgeon, and apprentice jewelry designer.  I also began to develop a reputation as a portrait painter. In the mid-seventies I joined the faculty of the Continuing Education Department at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Crudelle-Janello

The RISD Illustration Department offered me an adjunct faculty contract. It is there I have taught drawing and painting on the undergraduate level for the past twenty-nine years.

Portrait painting is a strange profession. I wanted to create works which spoke to the uniqueness of the individual, works with depth and complexity, as had my heroes, Rembrandt and Velazquez. I found I had a clientele with little sophistication and very different objectives from mine.  I found they grew uneasy if their portraits were too revealing.  They were more comfortable remaining behind their masks.   Often when I captured something insightful I would have to destroy it in order to sell the portrait.  I felt tormented by commissioned work; I often deeply regretted my choice of careers. I came to recognize commercial portraiture as the art of correction. Slowly I turned away from the practice and began painting people I chose to paint, often professional models.  I was making art for myself, art which I believed would suffer no compromise.  However, I found as my work became more subtle, fewer and fewer people were able to appreciate it.  I found that my pursuit of artistic fulfillment was alienating me from the general public, fellow artists and friends as well.  It seemed no one was getting it.  I grew despondent and was unable to finish work.  Eventually I quit painting altogether.

Crudelle-Janello

It is out of this death of a long cherished hope that the Crudelle work arose.  The loss of painting left a great void.  My fascination with the human face did not change but the faces did.  These new, three-dimensional faces appear structurally unsound as if in the early stages of a slow implosion. Something at the center had gone wrong and was no longer offering stable support to the surface features. Sometimes the only cure for a great loss is to work with what remains.

“Transformations”: Thomas Lyon Mills November 16, 2009

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Transformations“, an exhibition scheduled for March 2010, will examine artists who work between 2-D and 3-D media. Today’s post is a preview of Thomas Lyon Mills’ unusual and breathtaking artwork which deals with themes of memory, time, and mapping.  Mills is a Professor of Drawing at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Division of Foundation Studies. He recently completed a sabbatical where he is the only non-archeologist who has been granted permission to explore and work alone in the Roman and Neapolitan catacombs. This past November and December, he was on a grant to work in Kapadokya and underground cities in central Turkey. Below you can read a short excerpt from his artist statement.

Thomas Lyon Mills

“No.63 from the series 73 Prayers in the Underground”, 2001 – 2006
40.75” x 35.75”, watercolor, charcoal, conte crayon, collage.

Drawing: Making and Unmaking
Thomas Lyon Mills, Professor, Rhode Island School of Design
June 2009

Despite increasingly precise measurements, contemporary maps of the cosmos or the minutiae of the sub-atomic world will likely be no more accurate in the future than ancient seafaring maps that included half-remembered landscapes and sea monsters.

Like mapmakers, we draw and paint what we observe, but find our drawings inevitably cross over into the unknown, for, like maps, they are never truly, wholly accurate, never allowing for shifting points of view, or even the necessity of dreams.

This then, is our region – where the visible and invisible meet, where the observed and the intuitive lie side by side, and where the seen pays a constant debt to the unseen.

Thomas Lyon Mills

Everything changes when we draw: channels open up between our eyes and our breathing, heart rate, and neurological paths.  Borders dissolve between touch, smell, and sound.  Along with this synaesthesia, primordial forces rush in.  The ideas absorbed when we draw are infinitely better than when we don’t draw.  And, like making maps, what we draw we remember; what we don’t draw, we forget.

But like maps, drawing is about the specific, not the general: about revealing ideas with precision and authority.  Ironically, it is the discrepancy between one’s unfocussed marks – one’s lack of precision compared with the purity of the subject, full of complexity and unseen forces at work – that leads to the prolonged search.

We learn from myriad artists’ work including Matisse and Giacometti and their clouds of erased marks, the breathing and ghosts in the drawings of Michelangelo, Mu’ Chi, and Tohaku, and in the mirrored worlds of Piero.

“Transformations”: Nathalie Miebach November 13, 2009

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Transformations“, an exhibition scheduled for March 2010, will examine artists who work between 2-D and 3-D media. Below is a preview of Nathalie Miebach’s visually arresting sculptures based on two-dimensional musical scores.  Read her artist statement to gain more insight on her multi-faceted process.   Miebach will also be offering an Applied Arts Workshop in Sculptural Weaving in conjunction with this exhibition.

Nathalie Miebach

My work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations. Using the methodologies and processes of both disciplines, I translate scientific data related to ecology, climate change and meteorology into three-dimensional structures. My method of translation is principally that of weaving – in particular basket weaving – as it provides me with a simple yet highly effective grid through which to interpret data in three-dimensional space. The data I use is a combination of my own, which I gather on a daily basis using low-tech data-collecting devices, as well as regional or global data from the internet. By staying true to the numbers, these woven pieces tread an uneasy divide between functioning both as sculptures in space as well as instruments that could be used in the actual environment from which the data originates.

Nathalie Miebach

Central to this work is my desire to explore the role visual aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of scientific information. By utilizing artistic processes and everyday materials, I am questioning and expanding the traditional boundaries through which science data has been visually translated (ex: graphs, diagrams), while at the same time provoking expectations of what kind of visual vocabulary is considered to be in the domain of ‘science’ or ‘art’.

Nathalie Miebach

For the past three years, I have been working on a project called “Recording and Translating Climate Change”. The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of weather and what it means to live in an age of human-induced climate change. Using my own data-collecting devices, I gather weather observations from specific ecosystems, which are then compared to historical and global meteorological trends. All of these pieces look at the complexity of behavioral interactions of living/non-living systems that make up, or are influenced by, weather. The latest development in this project includes data translation into musical scores. I choose several elements from my data and “map” the numbers (in pictorial form) on score sheets. Musicians then interpret the “score” as musical compositions and I interpret the score as three-dimensional sculptures. My aim is twofold: to convey a nuance or level of emotionality surrounding my research that thus far has been absent from my visual work and to reveal patterns in the data musicians might identify which I have failed to see.

Preview: “Transformations” November 5, 2009

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While working on the installation for “LINE BY LINE: Student Drawing Exhibition” this week,  I’ve been putting together a roster of four artists for an exhibition coming up in March 2010 called “Transformations“.  The exhibit will examine artists who with in both 2-D and 3-D media. I’m pleased to announce the four artists in the show:  Ken Takashi Horii, Crudelle-Janello, Thomas Lyon Mills, and Nathalie Miebach. Nathalie Miebach will be offering an Applied Arts Workshop in Sculptural Weaving in mid March.  Gallery Talks will also be scheduled with the other three artists in the show.

Nathalie Miebach

Nathalie Miebach

Crudelle-Janello

Crudelle-Janello

mills

Thomas Lyon Mills

Ken Horii

Ken Takashi Horii

“Pulp” Preview: Salem Mekuria September 2, 2009

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A preview of a work that will be in “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty“:  “IMAGinING TOBIA”, a triptych video installation by Salem Mekuria.    Read her artist statement below the image.

Salem Mekuria

IMAGinING TOBIA is a triptych video installation synchronized to present vivid images of the Ethiopian cultural and physical landscapes.

September 2007 was the beginning of Ethiopia’s Third Millennium. In celebration of this milestone, I offer IMAGinING TOBIA as a mirror on which to reflect issues confronting the nation, and as a space in which to meditate on the disjunction between our “real” and imagined knowledge of Ethiopia and its multi-faceted history.

As an Ethiopian in the diaspora, I examine my own gaze on my native land as I take in impressions of the variety and diversity of the landscape and its people. In this way, TOBIA (a vernacular pronunciation for Ethiopia) represents a travelogue recorded by a hybridized explorer’s camera, then layered and juxtaposed in infinite ways to create a multitude of meanings and associations. The triptych is a reference to Ethiopia’s traditional religious art.  By inviting viewers to engage with fast moving images on multiple channels I show the simultaneous existence of the old and the new while giving primacy to images over words.-Salem Mekuria.

“Pulp” Preview: Christine Rogers August 31, 2009

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A preview of a work that will be in “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty“: “New Family”, a photograph by Christine Rogers.  Read her artist statement below the image.

Christine Rogers

“New Family” is a series of 25 studio portraits. These pictures examine the construction of family through the construction of the family portrait. In my own life, I do not know half of my family, including many half brothers and sisters. The last time I saw my father, I was 8 months old, which is to say that I have never actually seen him.

As a consequence, strangers take on a new meaning: the average stranger might be related to me. We could be family. I approached strangers at the mall and asked if they would pose in a family portrait with me. The final product is a singular document, purchased from the portrait studio. In continuing this project I am narrating a new life for myself, and building a family album that is simultaneously possible and impossible.-Christine Rogers

“Pulp” Preview: Judith Black August 28, 2009

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A preview of a work that will be in “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty“:  “Cadie, July 2008”, a photograph by Judith Black.  Read her artist statement below the image.

Judith Black

As I start a sabbatical leave for 2009-10, this exhibit gives me an opportunity to work with one theme, one location, one space in which many of my photographs have been taken: the backyard. In 1997, I exhibited work in the Davis Museum which was titled “I Need To See You.” That installation presented new work, but looked back on older images to give context and family history. Given this year in which to organize and work with 30 plus years of negatives, these more recent images are part of a larger body of work focusing on family.

My father turned 90 this year and death is becoming a more familiar companion to those of us in our 60s. Our grandchildren are growing up too fast. Photos are what we use to keep from having too many “senior moments” of forgetfulness. Embedded in the images are the fleeting and ever changing moments of recognition that Roland Barthes writes about in “Camera Lucida.” -Judith Black

“Pulp” Preview: Katherine McCanless Ruffin August 27, 2009

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Apreview of a work that will be in “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty“:  “Portrait of a Universal No. 1, Number One”, a letterpress print by Book Arts Program Director Katherine McCanless Ruffin. Her artist statement is listed below the image.

Katherine McCanless Ruffin

“Portrait of a Universal One, Number One” was originally printed in response to an invitation from the Center for Book Arts Vandercook Book, in celebration of the centennial of the Vandercook company. I set myself the challenge of printing a portrait of my Vandercook Universal One printing press with metal and wood type in my studio. The main body of the press is printed from wood type. The broadside gave me the opportunity to experiment with varnish, metallic inks, and overprinting. After printing an original edition of 100 copies for the Vandercook Book, I was invited to reprint the portrait in an edition of 800 for the 2009 issue of the Matrix published by the Whittington Press. This print is from the reprint edition, which was printed from the original wood and metal type on the Universal One in August 2008.-Katherine McCanless Ruffin

“Pulp” Preview: Phyllis McGibbon August 26, 2009

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A preview of a work that will be in “Pulp: Works on Paper by the Studio Art Faculty“:  “Super Imitation”, a sculpture using altered men’s shoes by Phyllis McGibbon.  Her artist statement is listed below the image.

Phyllis McGibbon

This project incorporates fragments of text from a book called, “Super Imitation” that advocates the proactive copying and recasting of western business practices as a vehicle for success in the new economy. Gallery visitors who can read Chinese are invited to translate and record the lines of text that stand out to them. -Phyllis McGibbon