The Cleveland State University Art Gallery will present the exhibition The Human Subject, an exhibition of drawings, sculptures, paintings and mixed medium works that focus on the human being , opening Friday, October 23 and running through Saturday, December 5.
An opening reception will take place on October 23 from 5-7 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
Curated by CSU Art Gallery assistant director Tim Knapp, the exhibition features drawings by Susan Hauptman of New York, NY, sculptures by Sean Henry of London, England, paintings and mixed media works by CSU alumnus Misha Kligman of Kansas City, MO, mixed medium works by Baila Litton of Cleveland, and mixed medium works by Jenny Scobel of New York, NY.
“We decided it was time to do an exhibition that focused on portraits or the human figure, which we have not done for many years,” said Knapp. “After researching, I decided on these artists because all the work had the common element of ambiguity due to a lack of (or very little) context, along with a common lack of expression in the subjects, causing the viewer to come up with their own conclusions. All of the artists are asking you what you see, rather than trying to tell you.
“We include nationally known (Hauptman), internationally known (Sean Henry) and local artists (Litton), and the addition of Kigman, a Cleveland State alumnus, rounds out the show very well.”
The Human Subjet is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and presented with support from the Ohio Arts Council. The Art Gallery is located at 2307 Chester Avenue. Summer hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
About the Artist in The Human Subject
Carefully crafted, Hauptman’s life-size charcoal self-portraits stare directly and unabashedly at her viewers, daring her audience to look at her directly. Her approach, however, is less confrontational than analytic, as she exposes every aspect of her persona in each successive work. The artist appears both naked and clothed, symbolically surrounded by the landscapes of her real and imagined lives. Hauptman’s capacity for frank self-revelation is unmatched, and her technical ability is unsurpassed.
Hauptman’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; and the Norton Gallery of Art, Palm Beach, FL. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and been a visiting artist at Harvard University, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Skidmore College.
Sean Henry uses sculptural figures as convincing representations of life. They draw you into their states of mind with the convincing illusion of animation and thought. His work has an assured, up-front humanity, used to portray the modern "everyday heroes" of contemporary society.
Color is central to Sean Henry's sculpture. He is one of very few contemporary artists who grapple with the challenges of polychrome sculpture, which has been the subject of animated academic debate since the 18th century. Henry's figures are never shown laughing, crying, speaking, or otherwise physically expressing themselves. Their identities and personalities remain largely a mystery, or are at most only hinted at by some unselfconscious hand gesture, by their contemporary dress, or by a judiciously placed fashion slogan or symbolic object. Henry has a way of alighting on a certain kind of contemporary dress that speaks meaningfully of the deeper drives that inform our identities as citizens of an advanced consumer society.
Henry lives and works in London. His works are in the collections of the Frisia Museum in Holland; Cass Sculpture Foundation, Sussex, UK; Paddington Central Development, London; University of Virginia Art Museum, USA; River and Rowing Museum, UK; Le Meridien Cumberland Hotel, London; and Royal British Legion, London, among others.
Born in Kazan, Russia, Kligman's family immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 and settled in Cleveland. In 2001 he earned his BA in Art from Cleveland State University and in 2009 received his MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Kansas. Misha's work has been exhibited regularly in solo and group shows in the Midwest. Currently he resides in Kansas City, Missouri and teaches drawing at area universities.
Of his work, Kligman says, “Through the lens of my family’s history and personal experience, I am examining ideas of home, exile and cultural belonging. I am interested in the 20th century history of the Soviet Jewish Diaspora and the residual psychological effects that the continuous ethnic repressions and the Holocaust had on generations of Russian Jews. I attempt to recover and piece together what remains of a lost and scattered culture.
“By combining drawing and painting with materials such as salt, ash, and gold, I aim to transform the images from mere nostalgic artifacts to containers of cultural memory. The process provides me with the opportunity to not only reexamine the past, but to identify my place in history, and the cultures that I inhabit.”
Of her work, Scobel says, “There are no hard fast rules, but most always the men and women in my paintings are constructed from found images. Faces will come from one source, bodies from another. Backgrounds vary, sometimes rooms are decorated with imagined wallpaper, thirties era cartoons, or subway platforms. Still the work rests on an individual face and the people are stopped in a moment of thought, as we are when going from one place to another.”
For Litton, each person is a unique mapping of qualities and energies that are invisible to the naked eye. Often, we react to each other based on skin-to-skin appraisals or other superficialities. Yet, some part of us intuits the presence of much, much more.
Herstories, Volume 1 & 2 are an ongoing series of mixed media paintings exploring the face as a mask and the tattoo as the indelible mark, shield, and sacrifice. The subjects are women Litton photographed. Their faces are tattooed with images relating to each woman’s life and something beyond, mythic and archetypal. The markings include ancient characters, symbols, and maps that emerge as cryptic images.
Litton's work is layered with many skins of collaged paper, drawings, paint, and bits of fabric. The skins transform the mask into the portrait and bring surface and depth together as one. Her goal is to create compelling images that bring full attention to the subjectivity of perception. The viewer confronts an image textured with character and history. In the end they “ face” their own perceptions.
In Gallery C:
October 23 – November 10, 2009
A DIFFERENT WORLD
Featuring works by self-taught visual artist, poet and writer Virginia Konchan
Gallery talk with the artist: October 23 at 6 p.m.
Nov. 13 – Dec 5
A THIN RED LINE
For more information, please visit www.csuohio.edu/artgallery or call 216.687.2103.
Available Images – The Human Subject
Still Life (with Leonard), 2006
Charcoal on paper
Courtesy of Forum Gallery, NY, NY
Sandra (waiting), 2003
Bronze and oil paint
Courtesy of Forum Gallery, NY, NY
Young Pioneer, 2009
Graphite and salt on paper
Mixed mediums on rice paper
Flower Vault, 2008/09
Pencil, watercolor, wax
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