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April 2014

Richard Swanson

Richard swansonRichard Swanson's ceramic works run the spectrum from utilitarian to art piece.

He says, "An important aspect of all my sculptural work, teapots included, is the way forms relate and flow together. I am constantly combining and simplifying to enhance movement/ rhythm/ unity. My teapots are informed by historical examples-- Inuit carvings, Pre-Columbian ceramics, African sculpture. To some extent Japanese netsuke carvings and Yixing teapots have also been an influence. I admire the concise vocabulary of these pieces, their use of everyday life as subject matter, their compact forms and their straightforward but unique way of relating figurative elements. In much of this work, the traditions of sculpture and function come together in a way that transcends ordinary ornamentation.

I make teapots in editions -- each is a numbered edition of twenty-two or less. The iron-red clay is fired to vitreousness, i.e., the clay particles have fused to the point of being impervious to water. No glazes are used or needed. The satin-smooth surface results from multiple sandings at several stages of the teapot making process.

Enjoyment of material and process has always figured significantly in my motivation to make objects, but recent utilization of media such as cloth, sawdust, burdock, peat moss, barbed wire and straw, has me on a real "materials high." The associations they inspire, their varied texture and simple, but rich, palette seem appropriate for the organic explorations I have carried over from preceding work with higher tech materials. While learning how to take advantage of the inherent tendencies of these materials, I try to persuade them to do the unexpected. This encourages a spontaneous working style, which is allowing me to balance a love of craftsmanship with a desire to develop ideas fast enough to retain the freshness of discovery.

I have gradually come to realize the extent to which the vitality and rhythms of the natural world (as encompassed in its myriad and sometimes surprising forms and life cycles) influence my sense of form and how those forms relate in space. While it is not my desire to mimic that world, I welcome its influence. The act of gathering materials from prairie, ranch and woodland has deepened my understanding of natural cycles and enriched my connection to the art-making process."

 


Maria Lassnig

1945_Selbstportraet ExpressivMaria Lassnig (Austrian, b. 1919) is one of the most important contemporary painters and can be seen as a pioneer in many areas of art today. Emphatically refusing to make “pictures,” she has long focused on ways of representing her internal world. Using the term “body awareness,” Lassnig has regularly tried to paint the way her body feels to her from the inside, rather than attempting to depict it from without.

Throughout a remarkable career that has spanned more than 70 years, she has continued to create work that vulnerably explores the way she comes into contact with the world, often placing particular emphasis upon the disjunctions between her own self-image and the way she is seen by others—as a woman, as a painter, and as a person living through the dramatic technological and cultural developments that have marked the century of her lifetime. Bravely exposing personal traumas, fantasies, and nightmares, Lassnig’s art offers instruction for courageous living in a time of increasingly spectacularized social interaction.

 


Richard Renaldi

Richard renaldiSince 2007, Richard Renaldi has been working on a series of photographs that involve approaching and asking complete strangers to physically interact while posing together for a portrait. Working on the street with a large format 8-by-10-inch view camera, Renaldi encounters the subjects for his photographs in towns and cities all over the United States. He pairs them up and invites them to pose together, intimately, in ways that people are usually taught to reserve for their close friends and loved ones.

Renaldi creates spontaneous and fleeting relationships between strangers for the camera, often pushing his subjects beyond their comfort levels. These relationships may only last for the moment the shutter is released, but the resulting photographs are moving and provocative, and raise profound questions about the possibilities for positive human connection in a diverse society.

This exhibition coincides with the launch of Renaldi’s book Touching Strangers and includes thirty-five photographs from the series, curated by Ann Pallesen, director of Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle (where the exhibition will tour following its presentation at Aperture Gallery).

About Richard Renaldi

Richard Renaldi (born in Chicago, 1968) graduated from New York University with a BFA in photography in 1990. He has presented solo exhibitions both in the United States and abroad, including at Fotografins Hus, Stockholm; Robert Morat Galerie, Hamburg, Germany; and Yossi Milo Gallery, New York. Renaldi’s work has also appeared in group exhibitions, including Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography, New York (2003). Touching Strangers is Renaldi’s third book, following Figure and Ground (Aperture, 2006), and Fall River Boys (2009).


Lou Krueger

Lou KreugerLou Krueger's  goal is to create  magic with his artwork, be an engine of inspiration in the lives of his students, and find grace with his life.

 

"I’ve been making art for forty years, and teaching for thirty-four. I’m one of the fortunate ones, I love what I do  and I  believe that my best work is still in front of me." LK

 

Lou Krueger received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northern Illinois University, with a BFA in Metals, 1970, and his MFA in Photography, 1976. During the past thirty years he has taught photography at NIU, Elgin Community College, Syracuse University, and currently Bowling Green State University. He was one of the co-founders of the Syracuse University art photography program, served as the Chair of Art Media Studies (SU), as an Assistant Dean of Visual and Performing Arts (SU), and most recently as the Director of the School of Art at Bowling Green State University.

 

Conceptually his creative work, narrative fantasy, masquerades as reality with an emphasis on the existentially absurd; technically his research agenda focuses on issues of photographic illusion, experimental color photography, and alternative/pinhole cameras. His photographs, drawings and paintings have been exhibited nationally.