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Archive for September, 2015

Entry into the Giles Gallery, Sept. 24, 2015

My Artist at Exit 0 show opened at the Giles Gallery on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.  I was able to make the opening reception which is a two-hour drive from my house.  Gallery Director, Esther Randall did a great job of installing the artworks so they flowed easily from one piece to the next.  I was wondering if I had brought too many or too few art works, but it seems everything worked out just right.

"La Belle Riviere" at the Giles Gallery, Eastern KY University, Sept. 24, 2015

I was especially interested in how Esther would display my giant necklace entitled “La Belle Riviere”?  She mounted the piece in a corner of the gallery and created a shape similar to the one I photographed on the willow tree.  I had a new enlargement of that image created, a dye sublimation print on aluminum and it looked great located near the actual necklace.

Dye sublimation print, "La Belle Riviere", Giles Gallery, E.K.U., Sept. 2015

What was especially gratifying was getting to meet and talk with some of the art students and faculty members who attended the reception.  Many of them had previewed the show and a few had formed opinions which they shared with me.  There was a lot of curiosity about the work.  In general, the artworks were received favorably, however, knowing what my materials are and how I obtained them is also a sad state of affairs that left a few of the students feeling conflicted.  My art is my attempt to reconcile those very same feelings within me.  I describe the situation as being “absurd” which to me is a word that encapsulates both comedy and tragedy.  Many of my Falls artworks have a surface charm to them, but when you dig a little deeper you find a darker side that critiques our handling of and perceived place within nature.

Al with students (1), Giles Gallery, E.K.U., Sept. 24, 2015, photo by Esther Randall

The reception lasted just a couple of hours and the time went by quickly.  Before leaving for home, I did a quick spin around the space and made these snapshots of my work installed in the gallery.  At home, I’m used to seeing them stacked on boxes or leaning on one another in my basement.  Lack of storage space is also one reason I don’t save every work I make at the Falls of the Ohio.  For me, it is also an odd feeling seeing my work on pedestals and treated the way other art is presented.  That is another whole discussion altogether and it was touched upon in my conversations with the students.  Following are a few more gallery views.

Al art on exhibit at the Giles Gallery, E.K.U., Sept. 2015

Giles Gallery, E.K.U. September 2015

Giles Gallery, E.K.U., "Yellow Concentrate" and "Styro-beaver", Sept. 2015

Giles Gallery, E.K.U., Sept. 2015

Giles Gallery, E.K.U., Sept. 2015

Gallery view, E.K.U. Sept. 2015

Here’s a few images of new works and details from favorite pieces.  Let’s start with my plastic bottle piece, “Petrochemical Color Spectrum”.  It’s a more formal work, but I like the color it brings to the show.

"Petrochemical Color Spectrum", found materials from the Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2015

Another bottle piece from a few years back and made with found coal, plastic and glass bottles, and wood…entitled, “Mountaintop Mini-bar”.

" Mountaintop Mini--bar", found materials from the Falls of the Ohio, Sept. 2015

Here’s a detail from a figurative sculpture I created entitled “The Inhaler”.  Finding the inhaler on the riverbank was the starting point for this work.

detail from "The Inhaler", Giles Gallery, E.K.U., September 2015

A recent figurative work…”Jimmy D.”  This piece has a nice presence to it.  I think making the eyes a bit mismatched contributes to that.

Detail of "Jimmy D.", Giles Gallery, E.K.U., Sept. 2015

A couple more images before closing this post.  I did send Esther an artist’s statement I used unsuccessfully while applying for a grant.  She did a good job editing it and this was posted on the gallery walls.

Artist's Statement, Giles Gallery, E.K.U., September 2015

I was sorry to see the night drawing to an end, but there was one other nice surprise in store for me.  On the drive home, I was treated to a really wonderful sunset!  The exhibition will remain on view through October 16, 2015.  See you soon near the banks of the Ohio River.

Kentucky sunset, Sept. 24, 2015

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E.K.U. show card, Sept. 2015

Although this is my first post of the month…my heart has not been far from the river or the odd kind of art that I make from the found remains of our material culture.  A few months back, I accepted the generous offer from Esther Randall, who is the Gallery Director of the Giles Galleries at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond to show in their upstairs gallery.  The bottom gallery will hold the colorful welded sculptures of Walter Early and his show will run concurrently with mine.  I do like the postcard Esther created.  She found two works by two very different artists that share the word “star” in their titles.  Our exhibitions will open during the upcoming week and if you happen to be in the area.  Please do stop by and check out our art shows.  Richmond is about 22 miles past Lexington, KY or about an hour and 45 minute drive from Louisville.  Here is the reverse of the card that gives other particulars about the opening reception and run of the show.

E.K.U. show card info, Sept. 2015

As you can see, my show is called “Albertus Gorman: Artist from Exit 0”.  For all the work I’ve done at the river, I still identify very much with the “Exit 0” sense for place and the slightly existential “feel” that it implies to me.  So much of my river art has been located in that interstitial area between the natural and artificial, between water and solid land, and between my own despair for the continued environmental degradation I experience in the park and the hope and optimism I want to feel as a human being rooted in the physical world.  So what am I going to present in this newest exhibition?

Al's art at home, Sept. 2015

Like many artists, I have the world’s greatest collection of my own artwork…or at least the pieces I’ve bothered to save from the river.  Like many artists, I tend to keep moving forward making new stuff which means that many pieces exist that may have been shown only once or not at all.  Of course, that is a big shame because different contexts bring out different qualities in the individual works and potential relationships that exist with the other pieces on exhibit.

Al's art at home, Sept. 2015

Here are a few more artworks I have “staged” prior to loading them in a cargo van.  I have many figurative Styrofoam sculptures that I have never shown in exhibition contexts.  In the above image, you can see my latest piece which continues the work I have been doing with found plastic containers.  I built a wall-mounted shelf from river-gifted wood and arranged the colorful plastic containers that I have also scavenged off the riverbank.  The individual bottles have Velcro on their bottoms to help secure them onto their narrow shelf.  A length of twine is there to help keep the bottles together while in transport.

Delivered sculptures at E.K.U., Sept. 2015

All of these Styro-sculptures have stories associated with them and I remember them like old friends!  This blog is their genealogical source recording their creation, their “lives” as art objects, and in some cases…even their demise.

Unloaded art work at the Giles Gallery, Sept. 2015

My work prior to installation at the Giles Gallery, Sept. 2015

I have five new works that were created specifically for this show.  Three of them are larger photo enlargements I have had made that show works I created in the contexts of their river environments.  For now, I will let Esther work her magic and I will post other images from the completed installation.  I also have one other project going on that I have remained mum about so far.  As you might remember, the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center has been closed for renovation as they upgrade their displays?  Well, they have contracted with me to create an assemblage on a roughly 8 foot by 4 foot wooden panel showing some of the river junk I have collected within the park.  I am really excited by this since this panel will be a part of their new presentation and will be the last panel seen as you exit the new displays.  Thousands of people (many school tours) will get a chance to see this piece which will document many of the things that you can unfortunately find in the Ohio River.  This panel is due soon and I have a lot of work left to do on it.  Once completed, it will slide into a vertical case with a sheet of plexiglas with some text elements on it to help explain, cover, and protect it.  It has already gone through several permutations, but for the moment, I will show just a few images taken of it in progress.  Here are images from Phase 1.

Panel for Interpretive Center, Phase 1, August 2015

 

Falls Panel, Phase 1, Aug. 2015

Detail, of Falls panel, Phase 1, August 2015

As you can tell, this can go in a lot of different directions because of the wealth of materials available.  All the stuff going onto this panel will have been collected within the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  There is no need to go anywhere else!  I want it to be as authentic as possible in so far as representing the kinds of stuff you can find floating in the Ohio River.  Since these images were made, Solidlight (the Louisville-based company creating the new Interpretive Center displays) has suggested some changes.  They want to see more driftwood used as a unifying element which should be easy enough to do.  I hope, however, that they will appreciate that people will be just as interested in the variety of crap I’ve collected as well and not settle for a cross-section of materials that can be found at the water’s edge.  To see that, a visitor simply needs to go down to the river to experience that already in place.  My good friend, sculptor Tom Butsch is letting me use his studio to construct this.  My own space at home is simply not large enough to accommodate this.  A couple more pictures before ending.

Beginning of Phase 2, Sept. 2015

A river found barge cable and section from a set of stairs are big individual elements going onto this panel.  I keep playing around with different compositions.  The trick for me is in keeping it more informal.  My impulse as an artist is to want to order this in some more formal way.  I will let you know how all this turns out.  I have an early October deadline, so this panel will be my focus for the next few weeks.  Until then…and from the banks of the Ohio River…see you next time.

Falls panel, Phase 2, Sept. 2015

 

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