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Sculptural Narratives at Cazenovia College Art Gallery

Everything Begins with a Story – sculpture exhibition opens Oct. 11

The Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall will host a group exhibition of sculptural narratives: Everything Begins with a Story, Oct. 11 through Nov. 2. An opening reception and Artists’ Lecture are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, 4– 5:30 p.m., in the gallery.Jen Pepper, director of the Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall, says, “considering the numerous disciplines our gallery hosts – photography, video, design, various studio arts – curating this particular exhibition was exciting from the get go. This show’s selection in particular, brings together sculptors who tell incredibly imaginative and surreal narratives in three-dimensional materials, allowing for us to walk within the constructed worlds and fall down the rabbit hole, so to speak, as Alice did in Lewis Carroll’s written adventure.”The artists include ceramicist Roxanne Jackson; sculptor Mark McLeod; sculptor Lindsay J. Palmer; and ceramicist Errol Willett.  (See below for more on each artist.)Beginning in October in the Sculpture Court, international exhibiting sculptor, Rob Licht will be on site for ten days working with students on a site-specific work titled “Domestic Landscape.” Exhibition continues through Oct. 23, 2013. Visit www.roblichtstudio.com for further information on Licht’s previous works.

The Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall, 6 Sullivan St., is on the corner of Sullivan and Seminary streets in Cazenovia. Hours during the academic year are: Monday through Thursday, 1-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.; Friday, 1-4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 2-6 p.m. Summer hours vary. Exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public. The gallery is handicapped accessible.

For information contact Jen Pepper, gallery director, by e-mail to jpepper@cazenovia.edu. Information is also on the Web atwww.cazenovia.edu/art-gallery.

About the artists:

Roxanne Jackson (www.roxannejackson.com) is an assistant professor of ceramics at the State University of New York, Oswego. She has been a resident artist at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China; the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; the Ceramic Center of Berlin (Germany); and the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon.

Jackson has recently shown her work at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, and the Brooklyn Artist Gym in New York. She has also shown work internationally in London; Berlin; Chicago and various cities in Romania. Solo exhibitions include venues such as Thomas Hunter Project Space in New York; Dubhe Carreno Gallery in Chicago; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Artcite Incorporated Gallery in Windsor, Ontario; Gallery Homeland of Portland, Oregon and more. Jackson’s work has been acclaimed in publications such as O.K. PeriodicalsCeramics Monthly, Beautiful/Decay, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many others. She has been the recipient of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, Kansas City Artist Coalition, Oregon Arts Commission, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Regional Arts and Culture Council and more.

In her artist’s statement she leads with a quote from Carl Jung: “A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there.”

She continues, “I explore images of extinction, death and transformation. I am fascinated with the natural processes of decay and destruction—particularly when in conflict with human systems. Nature is referenced, not by depicting the virile stag, but by illustrating its inevitable decay. Valuing macabre sensibilities, I create sculptures that cross over the slippery edge of life into what might lie beyond…

…Occasionally, I use imagery from horror films and the moment of transformation—particularly, when a human becomes a beast. This transgressive imagery creates tension in the work, especially when produced from the medium of clay—with its strong historical ties to comfort and beauty. Rooted in traditions of pantheism and superstition, the horror movie depicts a dark side of human nature. Mutated creatures, such as the ravenous werewolf, are created in the murky depths of our collective subconscious. These images ride the boundaries between animal and human, instinct and reason, the conscious and the subconscious.”

Mark McLeod (www.markmcleod.org) is a sculptor based in theatrics currently living and working in Chattanooga, Tenn. He is assistant professor of art and gallery director at Cleveland State Community College, in Cleveland, Tenn. He’s been in numerous exhibitions and has organized on-campus artist residencies for the past five years. Most of his work deals with issues of memory, with some forays into the economy and masculinity.  He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Syracuse University a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C.

Of his work, he writes, “These works document a beautiful moment that now only exists as a disjointed memory, shifting from fact to fiction in an unbridled narrative. The glass domes exist as “curtains” which memories have found comfort in hiding behind. These containers serve to protect the memories that we hold most dear, the ones that we want to remember as they actually happened.  Unfortunately, with each remembrance, we edit these past events, focusing on the good (or the bad) to create a new reality, a false reality.

“To actually view what is hidden would simultaneously bring to life and condemn to death that moment. By not allowing oneself to revisit the memory the event exists in this perpetual state of unchange. Whether these moments are found through faith, the bodies of others or the inventions of man, these moments of past events, of nostalgia, are the source of our longing.”

Lindsay J. Palmer (lindsayjpalmer.com) works as a member of the Austin Green Art Creative Team Collaborative, and also teaches with Theatre Action Project, a non-profit with the goal of using arts and theatre education for social change. She focuses her work

primarily on the political impact of using one’s imagination. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Texas Tech University, and her Master of Fine Arts degree, also in sculpture, from the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Her work has been shown across the country and internationally, at galleries such as Museo De Las Americas in Denver, Colo.; The Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque, N.M.; and The Ice Box Gallery in Skagastrond, Iceland.

Palmer writes of her work, “I see gender and identity as another organizational structure that is constantly evolving. The way we structure our understanding of our world is surprisingly similar to the way we have structured our understanding of ourselves. The configuration of maps, for example, mirrors the way that we have divided up our human bodies. The process of understanding is the main function of maps. Much as gender does to the human body, contemporary maps have taken what for centuries humans were only able to speculate over, and turned it into an easily accessible grid of knowable symbols and signifiers. This grid becomes sedimented into experience, assumed to be a map of reality rather than an arbitrary representation.”

Errol Willett (www.errolwillett.com) is a member of the ceramics faculty at Syracuse University’s School of Art and Design and has lived in Fabius, New York since 1999. He served as chair of Syracuse University’s Department of Art from 2009-2012. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Penn State University and did his undergraduate studies in art at Colorado University-Boulder, Skidmore College and the University of Regensburg, Germany. He was a resident artist at the Anderson Ranch Art Center, Aspen, Colorado; the Peters Valley Craft Center in New Jersey; and the Banff Centre in

Canada.  Recent projects include the permanent installation, “Overlooked Information. The Carbon Espalier,” at the iSchool, Hinds Hall, Syracuse University; the exhibition “Affinity,” at the Incheon World Ceramic Centre, Incheon, Korea; “30 Teapots,” at the Baltimore Clayworks Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland; and the installation “Staying on Good Terms with Nature,” Everson Biennial, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY . Recent studio work has looked at the hubris of our instinct to control and organize nature; at Islamic patterns, Chinese grain baskets, hollowed-out wood bowls and glazes made from wood-ash.

Willett writes of his work, “My forms are often inspired by the parallel concerns of architecture and craft. Architecture often deals with inside/outside relationships, marrying the architect’s sculptural ideas with his/her concern for context and utility. The Egyptian pyramids and the earlier Ziggurat temples from the ancient near east are examples of this interplay between form and use. They also exhibit incredible creativity within the limitations of available, local materials.…

“…I am looking at modern architecture and also at the confusion in modern atomic physics over waves and particles – seemingly unrelated. Formerly, all life forms were broken down in physics to either waves or particles and behaved accordingly. Now at the atomic level scientists find basic life forms behave as both wave and particle simultaneously; matter which appears to be in motion and at rest. These discoveries in physics show the fundamental structure of life as many things simultaneously…”

Mark McLeod makes art that supersedes the visual

from the Chattanooga Times Free Press by Holly Leber

The aesthetic of art is often the least of Mark McLeod’s concerns.

It’s all about the perception, the anticipation, the creation.

McLeod, who teaches at Cleveland State Community College and holds a master’s degree from Syracuse University, likes to create works that deal with memory — and more importantly, the protection of memory.

“If you acknowledge the event, you destroy the experience,” he said. “So by covering those objects up, or covering up parts of that memory, you kind of protect them.”

This philosophy comes into play in his series Beautiful Things, part of which is on display in the Association for Visual Arts gallery. The series includes bell jars, which have been spray-painted deep colors, and canvases that have been faced toward the wall.

The question, then, becomes: Is there anything under the jar? What? Is there anything on the canvas? What?

And, most importantly, does it matter?

“Did it matter if I did anything on the canvases or put anything underneath the bell jar?” mused McLeod. “The more I think about it, I think the answer is no. In the long run, the title sums it up — it’s about these events in our lives we hold near and true, and we don’t talk about them because it would destroy them.”

At some point, he said, he puts an object beneath the jar and later removes it.

“The temptation is to look, but once you look, you destroy those moments where you’re hesitant.”

McLeod made reference to one of his favorite works, “Erased de Kooning Drawing.” A drawing by artist Willem de Kooning was gifted to, and then erased by, artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1953. The work hangs in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“You have the question, what’s the drawing,” McLeod said. “Is it the erased part or the (original) one he destroyed?”

In other words, perhaps, art is more than meets the eyes. The creation and intention supersedes the result.

“My students look at Jackson Pollack and say, ‘I could do that,’ and of course they probably could, but it’s more about he’s reacting to his environment at the time that the average person may not know.”

He’s made pieces, he said, strictly for the aesthetic — “Hey, this just looks neat.”

“I don’t feel as emotionally connected to those as pieces that have an embedded story behind them or there’s a gut feeling as to why I made them,” he said. “They look interesting to me, and I have hundreds of them in my studio. But I just can’t figure out where to go with those.”