THE VISUAL ART QUARTERLY OF ST. LOUIS
Eileen Cheong, Ode to Spring, (image courtesy of the artist)
CONTENTS IN REVIEW (PGS. 01-09) EXECUTIVE EDITOR AND CO-FOUNDER SARAH HERMES GRIESBACH
CREATIVE EDITOR SUKANYA MANI
COPY EDITOR HILARY HITCHCOCK
DIRECTOR OF LAYOUT AND DESIGN MAXINE WARD
PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHER RICHARD REILLY
CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS AMY BAUTZ LEW BLINK TERRELL DICKERSON KATRYN DIERKSEN AMELIA GOLDSBY SARAH HERMES GRIESBACH CARRIE KEASLER TIM MCAVIN
GLYNIS MARY MCMANAMON LACY MURPHY FATIMA LA’JUAN MUSE TARA O’NAY THOMAS PFUHL JANET RIEHL LEOR SHOMRONI SUSAN WEBER MARIANNE WILSON
A great deal of cross-artist, cross-neighborhood, cross-discipline pollination went into our reviews for this issue. Amelia Goldsby who spends her days in the Classics Department at Washington University in St. Louis and helping things happen at Flood Plain Gallery on Cherokee gave her worthy two-cents to a youth exhibition at COCA In University City. Fatima La’Juan Muse paused in her pursuit of doctoral research in the Psychology Department at St. Louis University to interview Fontbonne art student André Henderson. Marianne Wilson made a first visit to the Bermuda Projects gallery in Ferguson to meet Brooklyn artist Jason Mason-Macklin. This is exactly the intent of our call to you, our readers, to contribute reviews of art exhibits you might not have ventured out to see.
ARTIST INTERVIEWS (PGS. 10-14) Interviews in this issue take on the Spring 19 “Art School” theme. Glynis Mary McManamon, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Arts Center in Ferguson, devoted an exhibition to local art teachers then shared those teachers’ thoughts in these pages. Graduate art therapy student Nala Turner’s descriptions of her recently exhibited clay vessels will make you see their images on this issue’s covers with much greater appreciation than when you first picked up the magazine. Janet Reihl asks questions of architect-artist Brad Eilering that pull up his very childhood as part of what makes him the curious art explorer he is today.
COMMUNITY VOICES (PGS. 14-21) When art is seen as a luxury, rather than the work of culture to express itself, traditional art school is often out of reach. This section holds artists’ explanations of how their artworks can be used to teach, how their art practices lead them to learn and what past experiences they now regard as their art education. Art school can be an expensive, excruciatingly difficult enterprise. Art school can be a time of exploration, even rebirth. Our society reaps great rewards when we support transformative educational experiences for the artists in our midst.
COMMENTARY (PGS. 21-22) St. Louis Artists’ Guild Education Coordinator, Carrie Keasler, offers our readers a summary of the Guild’s programs and their value. Theirs is but one of our region’s art education mainstays.
Front Cover: Nala Turner, The Aunts (detail), (image courtesy of the artist) Back Cover: Nala Turner, Mother (left) and Aunt Bo (right), (image courtesy of the artist)
Eileen Cheong, Split Gold, (image courtesy of the artist)
We’ve been happily schooled on what “Art School” can mean. Contributors responded with such a variety of life stories that we had to publish an extended issue, four pages longer than usual. Even then, some submitted content did not make it in. We do our best to include all who are brave enough to put fingers to keypad. Anyone not included in one issue will have priority for the next. We hope that you will do the same kind of far-reaching thinking when responding to our Summer 19 theme, “Art in the Garden.” The garden need not be literal and it can reference anything from Eden to MoBot to growing up influenced by the decor at Olive Garden. You set the limits to how far these themes stretch. There are incredibly exciting art exhibitions coming to you this spring. Because All the Art is largely a form of documentation and discussion around regional exhibits, rather than a calendar, most of what we reviewed is closed by the time you read about it in our pages. It is worthwhile to mention a few especially promising upcoming exhibits:
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) holds its Exhibition of Quilts (March 22 - April 19). Yvonne Osei curates Text as Visual Language at COCA (April 5 - May 19). The Saint Louis Art Museum presents animation by Oliver Laric in Galleries 249 & 250 (closes May 27) and a retrospective of renowned British artist Rachel Whiteread’s 30 year career (March 17 - June 9). The Pulitzer interprets ancient Egyptians objects as agents of cultural meaning in Striking Power: Iconoclasm in Ancient Egypt (March 22 August 11). We applaud the ambitious institutions and small venues that have put together such a fabulous cornucopia of visual art events and recommend that you go see All the Art. All the Best!
Constructs of Meaning, featuring artists Howard Jones, Stefanie Kirkland, Belinda Lee, Benjamin Lowder and Ethan Meyer at Duane Reed Gallery (closes March 23). The Philip Slein Gallery holds a retrospective of the work of Arthur Osver (closes March 30). The Foundry Art Centre of St. Charles presents Figurative Works II in which regional artists answer the question “What is a modern portrait?” (closes April 5) Freedom in a Platform reopens The Luminary Center for the Art’s reconfigured galleries (March 8 - April 13).
Executive Editor and Co-Founder
ALL I HAVE LEFT IS THE SKY
DREW HENRY SALON AND GALLERY
Eileen Cheong’s prints played me like a player piano. Drew Henry, both hair salon and art gallery, is a stimulatingly social setting for viewing art. A cut and style was in process for part of the time I pursued Cheong’s exhibit. As a person interested in the arts infusing all of life — more and more of my life anyway — and as a person fond of new and clever solutions, the combined purposes of the space complement and tease, asking “What about here? What about now?" Cheong’s artworks are luminous, layered, rhythmic, humble in size and arresting in their color combinations. She dapples lines of ink over each other so they become not just color, but texture. Each swoosh of color is evidence
of the breezy movement of her application. They are poetically titled and, above all, musical. Slow to Open, Split Gold, All the King’s Horses, Hot Sauce and Mango — sound like musical compositions and look something like musical scores written in her own form of notation. Some of Cheong’s prints in this exhibition set are lively and joyous, some stormy, some still. Quite a few seem to reference moments of awe in the natural world — Fire Series, Water Series, Fish Bursts, Spring Dance with the Wind, Blaze, Dragon Scales. Their easy immersiveness struck me. Our minds are forever trying to find patterns and
known things in abstraction, but Cheong’s artworks moved me more like Zen Buddhist koans than Rorschach inkblot tests — bypassing rational process and showing me into a moment. It’s almost like there’s a form in these works that leaps out from the 2 dimentional, something happens in that interplay between viewer and motion-filled print, the gestural drips like those old instructional footprints placed on the floor in the shape of a dance. It sculpts people and places I’ve been; am; am becoming. After my first spin around the show, I circled back and finally read the artist’s statement about her work: “Layers of lush sounds [...offer] a listen into the songs within [Cheong’s] mind.” The gentle leading and nudging sense that I felt was as intended. Cheong tells us that “each image carries its own melody to be resolved by the viewer.” Cheong writes of an “uncertainty of process” as “the press changes the ink painted on the glass.” It is this very rhythm of painting, pushing textures, placing the paper and running it through the press that remains constant even as the outcome becomes unpredictable. Beneath the Vastness of the Sky is a nourishing body of work. We meet Cheong’s devoted “hands, playing with the drips and the streaks, creating chaos and a ground for us to sink into all at the same time.(Cheong)” In that moment we are held softly beneath the fearsome clanking din of a warped social machine, beneath the crashes or whirring foreground of our personal daily struggles as Cheong feeds paper through her process, letting art become.
Eileen Cheong, Blaze, (image courtesy of the artist)
Eileen Cheong, Water Series, (image courtesy of the artist) 01 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
THE BERMUDA PROJECT
A nondescript commercial building houses the Bermuda Project gallery on West Florissant, in Ferguson. Last January, Jacob Mason-Macklin brought a series of 2 dimensional artworks from his new(ish) Brooklyn, New York home to line the walls of the bright white gallery space. All of the artworks in the exhibit were relatively small. Why? Mason-Macklin had to keep his workspace and storage space at a minimum due to the small living space in his Brooklyn apartment. He found he quite liked doing small works after necessity required them. A large number of the titles on the exhibition checklist are first listed as self-portrait then followed with an identifier for the actual subject. Mason-Macklin has an unexpected and elaborate answer to the question of why these are “self portraits” when they are not images of himself. The not-self “self portraits” are an exercise in empathy for Mason Macklin. He sees something of himself in the men he draws and paints. There are points of entry that he explores between them, researching the lives of known individuals and allowing himself to be vulnerable with his concept of who he is and what he is capable of, imagining himself as these men whose stories are not easy or his, yet still resonate within him.
Mason-Macklin describes a phenomenon many can relate to, of shape-shifting in new places when surrounded by new people. He notices how he and others use different personas depending upon their circumstances. His portraits of strangers as self portraits examines that ability to be many people in one. Mason-Macklin describes an experience of self-shifting from the person he was growing up in Columbus, Ohio to a different, equally authentic, self in his current Brooklyn neighborhood.
The exhibition title, Roadhouse Blues, is taken from the Doors song of the same name. Mason-Macklin envisions his artworks as a visual interpretation of Jim Morrison’s song of “traveling along the outskirts of town toward a seedy bar populated by wanderers of all types.” He imagines that “the Bermuda Project gallery space transforms into the Roadhouse, and the works inside become the transients.” -Marianne Wilson
Interspersed among the self-portraits of others are collages of words and images that convey readable messages and drawings along with finely rendered portraits of dogs. The loose pattern of collage - portrait - dog created a rhythm in the cycle of artworks along the wall in the bright Bermuda gallery. Mason-Macklin’s collages hold messages that require connecting the dots between complementary and contrasting words and images. One collage makes a bleak juxtaposition between sliced-up notices about a lost dog combined with the printed mug-shots of two black men. The collages look weathered and appear to have existed for a long time, giving their content an aura of lost wisdom.
Jason Mason-Macklin, Lost Dog Flier (Flyer for Dylan and Desmund Smith), (photo credit: Rachel Youn of the Bermuda Project)
Jason Mason-Macklin, Self Portrait #2 (El Viaje Comienza Despues de la Muerte, (photo credit: Rachel Youn of the Bermuda Project)
Jason Mason-Macklin, Protector, (photo credit: Rachel Youn of the Bermuda Project) IN REVIEW
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GRAPHIC REVOLUTION AMERICAN PRINTS 1960 TO NOW
SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM The story of “modern American print” is about the permutations of a dizzying array of artistic and cultural movements: advertising, POP, abstraction, civil rights, appropriation, war and more — a lot more. Take all of that and add to it the science of print, and you start to grasp
the task of putting together a narrative exhibit. Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Now, at the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) did exactly that. It told the story of print while captivating art lovers like me with a definition-expanding group of artworks
representing the "graphic boom" and the evolution of the discipline. The roster of artists chosen for this exhibition is diverse, revealing ways that printmaking continues to produce new methods and materials, and demonstrating how the print artform responds to a dynamic culture. When curators Elizabeth Wyckoff and Gretchen L. Wagner organized Graphic Revolution, they included well-known artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella and Elizabeth Murray, but they also included several lesser-known artists such as Enrique Chagoya, Lorna Simpson, Sol LeWitt, Edgar Heap of Birds and Ellen Gallagher. With more than 100 prints drawn from the museum's holdings and local private collections, Graphic Revolution highlights decades of art interest in our region.
Rosa Lee Lovell, Figure Group Series (image courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum)
Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup II, (image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Andy Warhol Foundtion for the Visual Arts) 03 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
Robert Rauchenberg, Passport from the portfolio Ten from Leo Castelli, (image courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum)
Missouri-born Nick Cave (a SLAM favorite) broke out from the expected print form. In keeping with his reputation, Cave put aside traditional techniques and mediums when he accepted an invitation to work at Washington
University’s Island Press in 2000. He expanded the definition of what we call a print by combining it with textile and sculpture. Cave’s MASS 2000, a collagraph on two sheets and the collagraphic plate used to create it, hangs as a triptych and homage to those affected by HIV/AIDS. The plate was produced by sewing together button-down shirts collected from Goodwill Industries stores around St. Louis and coating them with acrylic. Analogous to the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, the work represents the often silent (and in this project anonymous) suffering brought by HIV/AIDS. Cave’s contribution to this massive collection of artworks labeled “print” is hardly the most
unorthodox. Richard Artschwager’s Locations Hair Blp consists of rubberized horsehair laminated in Formica. With a wry nod to the dry art humor in Artschwager’s conceptual art conceit, his artworks were hung in strange places throughout the galleries. Rosa Lee Lovell lived on Delmar in University City during the 1960s. Her screen print, Figure Group Series, captures the defining spirit of the mod movement with a silhouette of three on-the-move people on a taupe background framed by orange, red and green bands. Inside each frame are dusk-blue photographs. Some of the photos are of that era’s trendy “mods.” Others are of urban details including the old Tivoli Theater sign. Figure Group Series is an excellent example of the juxtaposition of geometric design with photography that was common in the 1960s print movement. One stunner — Epigraph, Damascus — a photogravure aquatint in six panels by Julie Mehretu, is ostensibly a landscape of Damascus referencing the Syrian civil war. I didn’t know that when I first saw it. I was simply struck by the extremely deft, bold, gestural marks reminiscent of Philip Guston’s best abstract expressionism. Then I saw the perfectly rendered architectural details of Damascus underneath all the gestural work and the nature of the abstraction changed. The marks became flying debris, figures fleeing, embers, the trails of bombs and ghosts. Mehretu says, “There is no such thing as just landscape.” I take her to mean that landscape, at its best, holds a narrative. In that sense, Graphic Revolution set forth a modern landscape of print. With all the intrinsic malleability that makes the medium uniquely suited to capture the zeitgeist of any time, the story of print could have been told countless ways. That SLAM chose to tell it the way it did, an inclusive and forward-thinking way, was a win for St. Louis. Exhibition was open Nov. 11, 2018 - Feb. 3, 2019 -Tim McAvin
Claes Oldenburg, Tea Bag (image courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum) IN REVIEW
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The diverse and robust collection of prints could have suffered from a sense of feel-good-inclusion, but it didn’t. Separated into seven sections, each grouping had a near perfect balance of familiar and esoteric work. On my first visit, I was excited about Warhol’s Soup Cans, Josef Albers’ White Line Squares, Lichtenstein’s woodcuts, and Rauschenberg's very first prints, License and Breakthrough I. On later visits, I spent more time checking out the methods and materials used by artists who weren’t household names.
RACE AND REPRESENTATION: EURO-AMERICAN DEPICTIONS OF NATIVE AMERICANS AND THEIR CULTURES
SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART Following a large donation by Timothy and Jeanne Drone of 19th-century historical artifacts and artworks, the Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA) is exhibiting Race and Representation: Euro-American Depictions of Native Americans and Their Cultures through May 26. The exhibit focuses on the interaction between European American and Native American cultures from the perspective of postcolonialism. Postcolonialism is the contemporary study of how imperial cultures interacted with cultures they imposed upon. In this exhibition, artworks and artifacts present insight into the skewed lens through which European American colonists viewed — and wished others to view — native peoples of North America. Two replicas of peace medals (the George Washington Indian Peace Medal and the John Quincy Adams Indian Peace Medal) tell an important part of the story being exhibited. The U.S. government gave these medals to Native Americans upon reaching diplomatic agreements or alliances that ultimately led to the loss of Native American land. Medals like these are worn by Native American dignitaries in multiple portraits and scenes presented in the exhibit. One of these portraits, by American artist Charles Bird King, is of Chonmonicase, a chief of the Otoe tribe.
That Chonmonicase wears the medal is, according to the curators, a reminder of “the treaties that led to the loss of his people’s land.” A dubious honor indeed. Several paintings exemplify the generalizations these artists used to represent cultures they were not truly qualified to represent. King’s portrait of Hayne Hudjihini, wife of Chonmonicase, portrays her in clothing, jewelry and hairstyle found regularly in his paintings. The culturally evocative accoutrements were likely props with origins King thought insignificant and that his viewing audience could hardly have questioned. Nathaniel Currier’s General William H. Harrison at the Battle of Tippecanoe includes fallen Native Americans lying at the future president’s feet, alluding to their death at the hand of the general in battle. The artwork gives no indication of what tribe the people belonged to, which the curators note exemplifies the “cultural homogenization that serves to characterize diverse identities as a single type.” Included in the exhibition are lithographs of five oil paintings by George Catlin, a 19thcentury American artist who made a career out of his observations of Native American people. His depictions of various activities (hunting, rituals, games) through the eyes of an outsider
show questionable accuracy. Nonetheless, the images he left provide an extensive and interesting window into lives he was privileged to witness. In The Bear Dance, Catlin depicts a ceremony performed by people of the Sioux tribe. Leading the ceremony is a medicine man wearing a peace medal like the others shown in the exhibition. At first glance, a subtle detail like this medal wouldn’t mean anything to the observer. But wearing the medal is described as showing the European American influence on Native Americans, as there are reminders of the U.S. government’s presence in their lives even in their most traditional activities. We have always been able to find history in art, and preserving this history allows society to move forward with greater wisdom. The artworks presented within the exhibition provide important points for contemplation, although they give inaccurate and even offensive depictions of preyed-upon people by members of the culture that claimed their land and worked to destroy their culture. The exhibition offers an opportunity to question the value of stories told by outsiders to the story. At the same time, this record of 19th-century European American artists’ biases provides a history of that bias, an outcome completely unintended by the artists. -Leor Shomroni
www.slu.edu/sluma John McGahey after a painting by George Catlin, The Bear Dance, (image courtesy of St. Louis University Museum of Arts) 05 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
MILLSTONE GALLERY AT COCA
The exhibition Art.Write.Now.Tour 2018-19 features a selection of prize-winning works from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a nationwide competition for student artists and writers in grades 7-12. Spanning various types of media, including painting, photography, sculpture, and illustration, and creative writing, Art.Write.Now presents the diverse creative output of teen artists. The show, held very fittingly at the arts education center COCA, aims to show off the talent and skill of Gen Z creatives and the issues they’re passionate about. Art.Write.Now arranges the work in clustered, loosely-themed groups. Not surprisingly, as the contributors are members of the generation that’s touted as the most progressive, these themes have a strong social and political slant. Issues of gender, race, sexuality, and politics are considered, often bluntly. Some works show conceptual restraint, like the delicately-rendered x-ray view of a suitcase that comments on the state of privacy today (Curious Seeking, Michelle Jeong), while others, like the cartoon depicting Donald Trump with devil horns (Opening a Can of Worms, Julie Sharpe), decidedly do not. Pieces that don’t grapple issues of social justice and identity are conspicuously outnumbered by those that do. These young artists clearly
want to engage with and change the world they live in using creative means, and they have the skills and conviction to do so. Overwhelmingly, Art.Write.Now is earnest. Too often, sincerity is treated as something to grow out of 一 it’s not necessarily a flaw, but a sign of inexperience. Earnestness seems to be considered the mark of student work. Art.Write.Now wears the label “student work”
Maha Almatari, Ideal Reflection, (image courtesy of the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists and COCA)
proudly. It sends the clear message that earnestness should be celebrated and encouraged, and rightfully so. -Amelia Goldsby www.cocastl.org
Yunju Lee, The BLend of Cultures, (image courtesy of the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists and COCA)
Joy Han, Women of Comfort (image courtesy of the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists and COCA) IN REVIEW
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I AM THERE The diptychs Orlando Thompson creates by placing two 35mm photographs together have become his personal tarot deck. Tarot cards provide spiritual and symbolic meaning using numerology and color, and can be interpreted through emotional feeling and intuition. I am There speaks to the viewer through this same sense of introspection and self-awareness as it presents a series of photographs taken during the past two years of Thompson’s life. The diptychs were not compiled chronologically after the photos were developed. Thompson selected each grouping for the purpose of conveying a more complex narrative than each has on its own. This presentation of the photos in sets of two prompts the viewer to consider what connection the artist has drawn between them.
The possible meanings provided by interpreting the linked images that are set against each other adds an ambiguity similar to that provided by a tarot card. I am There, curated at The Dark Room in St. Louis’s Midtown Grand Arts Center by Gina Grafos, tells the story of Thompson’s adventures through deserts and desert-like cities. The photos have a dry, hot atmosphere. Industrial factories occupy many of the shots. There is something to be said for the emotion that rises when we view vast industrial scenes. The effect is compounded, or at least changed, by placing these industrial images beside natural landscapes. Thompson draws special attention to his own hands, which reach up into the foreground of
Orlando Thompson, Landscape (image courtesy of he Dark Room) 07 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
THE DARK ROOM several photographs. This is to say: I am black. I am the American romantic. I am the American poet. From a wall of striking black and white diptychs, one draws me in: a silhouetted woman holds a cigarette up to her lips—she is black, confident, elegant and happy. She is dressed in casual work clothes, and she smiles coyly while facing away from the camera as if turning away to conceal her identity. She drags on her cigarette. The partner photo in this diptych is an octagonal street pole with a heavily duct-taped flyer proclaiming, “LOST” above a gaping hole where the flyer’s other text has gone missing. We don’t know what has been lost: we’ve lost the notation of what was lost. And this woman doesn’t know what is lost either, although the juxtaposition of the two
IN REVIEW Orlando Thompson, Fish (image courtesy of he Dark Room)
images makes us see them as connected in meaning. Right now, as captured, she is lost in her cigarette and doesn’t mind that she doesn’t know. In a diptych hung above the lost/woman, the artist holds a white stone up to the camera lens, showing us his soft black hand in the foreground of a desert mountain horizon. This photograph’s partner pictures a massive transmission tower, a metal structure made to conduct high-voltage electricity across long distances. The symmetrical horizon lines from one photograph to the next in this diptych result in a serene continuity. A diptych in the black and white half of the exhibition shows an industrial power plant puffing smog clouds into the sky, and its partner image captures a similar view only framed by the passenger seat of a car facing another smokestack scene. Other black and white photographs depict rocky desert gravel, a shadow of the photographer casting his hand in a star shape, a silhouette of a basketball hoop, electric power lines dividing the sky, a rosebud whited out in a burst of light, and the bare chest, chain, chin and smile of the artist. Half of the exhibition is printed in color. The blue hues of these photographs help tell a story. One diptych presents a Christian flag
flying alone in the foreground of a dark green forest. The second image in that set captures an interaction between a white hooded sculpture holding a Christian flag and a black man eclipsed by the sculpted figure. The black man, barely visible, faces the sculpture as if in opposition.
When choosing to bring these images into one set, Thompson communicates a sense of the deeply rich and varied life of a black American. If drawn from a tarot deck this card might represent the real risks of black Americans having fun, even when things look peaceful and whimsical on the surface.
A photograph composed of a deeply saturated blue sky above the artist’s hand mirrors the shape of a dark green, forested mountain horizon, his fingers riding the ridge. The partner to this image is a bed of rich earth with a pink pebble hidden at its heart. Other photographs are printed in verdant color, picturing lush plants. In one, the lower half of a large tropical palm stands on a hot street corner: a pile of its giant leaves has dropped to the asphalt below.
A rainbow-colored parasol blooms on the rocky beach of a river, the other side of which is an expansive grey bluff. The swimmers are all black and playing in the deep water, which glows a little bit green. The partner to this image is taken again from the passenger seat of a car from which the artist captures a red car flipped upside down on a road in the desert: two black police officers watch vigilantly as a few black workers rig it to be pulled up by a truck. Tufts of clouds float above a dark tree line in a bright blue sky. IN REVIEW
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CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM ST. LOUIS
Greetings Earthlings and fine people of the Universe, My name is Thomas Pfuhl and I recently took a trip to the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) for Christine Corday’s Relative Points. Upon walking into CAM and
seeing massive iron curvilear figures arranged on the concrete floor, the first thought that popped into my head was, “how did they get here?” CAM Executive Director Lisa Melandri gave me a full explanation of how the giant 10,000
pound iron cylinders ended up at CAM. They weren’t teleported, and there weren’t any aliens involved. I was told that the 12 tank-like cylinders were loaded onto semi-truck trailers from a foundry in Ohio in multiples of three, then loaded into CAM one by one via forklift. The dozen iron forms look industrial. Imagine 12 diesel oil tanks — the ones that were once used to heat homes — scattered all over a gymnasium, that was my first impression of Relative Points. Corday was in her trademark blue coveralls when she gave St. Louis a first look into her tactile engagement with our galactic universe. That utilitarian outfit also hangs in the museum gift shop, (with a pricetag listing an astronomical number) as massive as her sculptures. Each slightly pointed cylinder is directed “meticulously” toward the center of the universe, explains Corday just before wryly mentioning that there is no center to the universe. She let us know that her material of choice for the metal van Gogh haystacks is iron and iron is star stuff. Quoting Carl Sagan, Corday reminds us that we are all star stuff. Corday invites museum-goers to reach out and touch the rough metal forms dispersed across CAM’s main gallery space, dulling or perhaps shining the metal with their touch, forever changing the objects. Traditional “don’t touch the art” rules hold for what hangs on the walls: rectangular metal sheets painted with primer, a very basic material that also becomes ethereal through Corday’s interpretation. Corday’s “all the universe in an atom” conceit is playful and intellectually stimulating. Some of the heaviest-hitting art theory is folded into minimalist artworks and Corday’s practice is a prime example of this tradition. Minimalist design sets the landscape here in St. Louis, literally, all one has to do is look up and see the Arch. Relative Points definitely challenges us to see how minimalist artworks serve as thinking prompts. It’s a good fit for St. Louis. -Thomas Pfuhl
www.camstl.org Christine Corday, artist renderins of Relative Points, (images courtesy of Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis) 09 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
LOCAL ART TEACHERS REFLECT ON THEIR PROFESSION By Glynis Mary McManamon Four North County St. Louis art teachers participated in the second annual Those Who Teach Can Too exhibition at Good Shepherd Arts Center in Ferguson during November and December of 2018. They shared their thoughts about their work as teaching artists with Glynis Mary McManamon, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Arts Center in Ferguson Veronica Ross-Mickan, Hazelwood West High School GMM: What is one thing you wish you had known before you jumped in with both feet into teaching?
Victoria Ross-Mickan: My love for art goes back many years when I began my studies in Fine Arts and German at UMSL in the early 1980s. I was required by the German Studies program to study in Munich, Germany. There, I passed the German for Foreigners Exam at the Universität Ludwig-Maximillian in Munich, Germany and stayed on, hoping to continue my studies there. Sad to say, I did not get into the Munich Art Academy and had to settle for my second desire, travel. I went on to study Business and Travel and worked many years in the travel industry, which was also great! I was able to travel and visit some of the world’s most intriguing cultural sites and fascinating museums.
VRM: I love art and I thought that most students would feel the same. Well, I found out that art is not everyone’s favorite subject. Many students take it for the Fine Arts credit that is needed to graduate. Still, I try to make it interesting for everyone. Also, I realize that I must slow down and explain many art techniques that I take for granted. Some basic things that were taught in school when I was a kid are no longer taught. I guess it is presumed that art skills are no longer needed. But then again, many of our students are really tech savvy and I learn from them as well.
In October 2009, I returned with my son to the St. Louis area and resumed studies, this time in the German and Art Education programs. I worked as a substitute teacher and as a student employee at Gallery 210 on the UMSL campus. In 2015, I graduated with a BA in both subjects. Guess you can say that my art career was put on hold for a while, but it was always my desire to become an artist and I love teaching.
VRM: Unusual? Well, I just taught a lesson in figure drawing and had my students work in groups to sketch a figure in a bathing suit or swim trunks before they worked on the project on their own. After explaining Da Vinci’s concept of the Vitruvian Man, each student was made responsible for drawing a specific part of the body. The composites came out a bit abstract, but very interesting in the end. Not just one, but many of my students have really “awed” me with their very exact portrait and figure drawings this semester. I expected them to be good, but they were really great!
Looking further back, my art and German teachers at McCluer High School were a great inspiration. I teach Drawing I and Art & Design I as well as German at Hazelwood West High School. It is amazing to see what terrific artwork students produce in these beginner classes. Imagine what great artwork they will create if they continue their studies in art at the university level! Wow!
GMM: What is the most unusual outcome of a lesson you taught?
my own artwork. If I see that a student shows great interest and potential, I would love to offer them the chance to exhibit at an early age. Can you imagine how it would feel as a 15 or 18-year-old to have your own art exhibition in a gallery space?
Victoria Ross-Mickan, (image courtesy of Good Shepherd Arts Center)
GMM: What are your future plans? VRM: Next, to continuing to teach. I would love to open a small art gallery myself. I am a small art collector and would love to exhibit my collection of artworks by other artists as well as
Victoria Ross-Mickan, Woman in Yellow Gele, (image courtesy of Good Shepherd Arts Center)
David Goodman, Vogt Elementary School Glynis Mary McManamon: Which came first, the chicken or the egg, i.e., the artist or the art teacher? David Goodman: I have been interested in art from an early age. I came to teaching after working with young people at summer camps
and ropes/challenge courses and enjoy being a mentor. GMM: What is one thing you wish you had known before you jumped with both feet into teaching?
DG: Managing student behaviors is one thing that is not adequately taught in college. Most of it must be learned by experience. GMM: What is the most unusual outcome from a lesson you taught?
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Glynis Mary McManamon: Which came first, the chicken or the egg, i.e., the artist or the art teacher?
DG: I was teaching kindergartners how to make a monster from a cardboard tube and construction paper. As the students finished, I allowed them to work further on their own. To my surprise, they began making masks and taught each other when they had questions. It was an organic, self-taught lesson.
DG: White and Gold or Black and Blue? White and Gold.
GMM: What is the most incredible work one of your students produced in your class? DG: I had a middle school student in summer school who produced artwork that was clean, graphical and well composed, yet he had no interest in art. GMM: What question do you wish I had asked, and what would be your answer?
David Goodman, Cracked, Wobbly-ass Pottery (image courtesy of Good Shepherd Arts Center)
David Goodman, (image courtesy of Good Shepherd Arts Center)
Tony Bodnar, Trinity Catholic High School, at home in his glass studio
Glynis Mary McManamon: Which came first, the chicken or the egg, i.e., the artist or the art teacher?
students that no one is a Picasso or a Rembrandt but if they try, they can be the best artist that they can be.
Tony Bodner: I decided that I wanted to teach when I was still in the military. I wanted to continue to serve by helping students see that there is more than one way to make something work. I decided that I wanted to teach art while in art school. I am formally trained as a glass and ceramics artist. I later received my MSeD in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in studio arts.
GMM: What is the most unusual outcome from a lesson you taught?
GMM: What is one thing you wish you had known before you jumped in with both feet into teaching? TB: It’s not easy and everyone that takes art is not taking it because they want to be there. The thing that keeps me going is that students don’t have a huge art background. I find it strange since Missouri requires art education. I tell my
TB: I recently taught a lesson that was based off skateboard art. I told the students that they could do anything they wanted as long as it fit on the skate board and that it was in one of these categories: fantasy, something that they stood for, or something that bothered them in their life. I was surprised and shocked, in a good way, by the outcome from this lesson. Students created works about social issues that bothered them, home life and some references the gaming fantasy world that they live in. The art work was amazing. The best I had ever seen from some of them. The best thing of all is they were excited to be doing this. It wasn’t just another lesson. They excited me so much that I had to work this idea into my own work.
GMM: What is the most incredible work one of your students produced in your class? TB: I have a student that needed something extra. I gave her eight ceramic crosses and asked her to do whatever she wanted to them as long as they reflected faith. She painted these crosses in a graffiti style with words of praise, references to different saints and to the Pope. I am now going to build a larger cross to hang these from to hang in our school office. GMM: How do you feel you influence your students? TB: I hope that my students take from me that not everything has to be perfect and that there is beauty in those imperfections. I want them to see the practical side of art and to be able to understand it even if they never create another piece.
Tony Bodnar, (image courtesy of Good Shepherd Arts Center) Tony Bodar, Ice Break (image courtesy of Good Shepherd Arts Center) 11 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
BRAD EILERING’S INTERDISCIPLINARY INVESTIGATIONS IN ART By Janet Riehl
Janet Riehl: Let’s start with your four harmonic sculptures because they bring in many of the strands of your practice: music, architecture and sculpture. Brad Eilering: I’ve come to realize just how instrumental music (ha!) was as I was growing up. Music was a common ground in my parents’ home, part of their socialization, a tool for raising a family. It was mainly recorded music, with live music on occasion. My father was an architect and my mother was a fiber artist, but music was a common chord (ha!!) that brought the family together. My mom was a member of the Columbia House Record Company and we would listen to each new album while playing checkers or Clue. JR: How did you come to make these harmonic sculptures? BE: When I started teaching design, after I had completed my graduate studies in architecture, I was attending lectures and talking to professors about the language associated with design, and this music professor came into the conversation and said, “That’s the same language that I use in music.” We discovered
this crossover with rhythm and chord and harmony with emphasis on creating a line., even a sharp versus a flat in explaining a value. So, I don’t think it was an original idea for me to create sculptures that have a harmonic quality. It was a natural progression of this thinking. JR: Okay, so, you came from a family where there is a surround sound. And then you’re moving into your design training and you come to this realization about the interplay between the design and the music underpinning. BE: You could say that I had to be hit in the head, or that it had to become obvious to me that there was a musical direction for me to proceed. While I was creating Maker — welding, fabricating and grinding, beautiful sounds were coming off of it. It was speaking to me. The long bars attached to a plate changed completely once it was set to vibration and the vibration created music, or at least sound. JR: So you could do it very intentionally at that point. You could say, “This was a lucky happenstance, but now let me see if I can work to make this happen.” BE: Yes, that’s true. But also, being skilled at problem solving and accepting the question of how to improve the quality of sound as a means of advancing the interactive quality of the work. I accepted this sculpture as an instrument, advanced the research though involving others, especially musicians, and considered the musical relationship to the form.
Architecture Meets Sculpture Exhibition Opening, Brad Eilering at left (photo credit: Dennis Dvoracek) ARTIST INTERVIEWS
I saw that there was something magical happening and thought, “I’m going to advance this idea through experimentation with the lengths of bar to see if I can achieve different tones, and then develop improved sound quality through reverberation.” This led to developing a body of works each with a hollow base which functioned as a resonating chamber and a reflecting board under it. Environmental influences are present. It sounds different based on what it’s sitting on: wood floor or concrete floor. JR: Have you thought to record this music? Or have you? BE: A couple musicians have provided some input and last weekend I talked with a composer. Essentially, what we are looking at is an unrefined musical instrument, a raw idea, a type of an instrument that is presented as a sculpture. For now, this opportunity is open to any viewers who interacts with the piece. I am intrigued by the range of sound produced by those with and without musical experience. The music is a natural outcrop of my interest in breaking with tradition and moving into a contemporary realm of the art-viewing experience. I have always been interested in taking my sculptures off of the pedestal and thus allowing them to engage in the space, pushing, pulling and expanding, creating a relationship with the surrounding architecture and with the viewer. As a contemporary viewing experience, the harmonic quality becomes a way of improving interaction and I’ve been
Brad Eilering, Harmonic Three, (photo credit: Dennis Dvoracek) SPRING 2019 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM 12
Brad Eilering’s recent project of sculptural music-making was born of an expanding architectural career in which academic rigor, professional development and brave curiosity result in experimentation. Janet Riehl drew Eilering into a discussion around his Architecture Meets Sculpture exhibition at Jacoby Arts Center in the fall of 2018.
wonderfully happy with the resulting viewer engagement. When a person comes up to the sculptures and begins to play it as an instrument, they often become self-absorbed even forgetting they are in a public place. And that is amazing.
traditional terms. I consider the works to be sculptural installations relating to expanded media.
JR: So, what you are really after is an interactive experience?
BE: Yes, there are many established precedents [for my practice] and just the simple act of moving sculpture off of the pedestal establishes a new game. Now it becomes more like architecture.
BE: What I’m after is a way to consider my work that is justified and makes perfect sense with all that has gone into it. I was trained both as a traditional sculptor and also as a contemporary sculptor, creating installation works and even large-scale public sculpture. In terms of how I measure success in sculptural terms — it is space, it is light and it is form — how those three come together creates the value of the piece. In terms of classifying or being able to talk about my work, it simply doesn’t feel right using
JR: And of course there are references you’ve researched and those form your community.
Jacoby Art Gallery (photo credit: Dennis Dvoracek)
THE COURAGE TO PUSH THROUGH
By Sarah Hermes Griesbach
Nala Turner’s capstone project for her Bachelors of Fine Arts exhibition at Truman State University solidified her notion of herself as a professional artist. What she initially intended as a group of five ceramic artworks turned into an impressive collection of 11 imposing vessels.
Turner found herself entering an acutely mindful state while meticulously building the large-scale coil vessels for that 2018 project. As she pulled up from clay coils to form 4-5 foot tall masterworks (they would be smaller after firing), she pulled up from her own roots. She accessed a technique she hadn’t used in years to form sculptural tributes to women who had shaped her deeply, women who had started
Nala Turner, Dema (left), The Aunts (center), Mother and Sisters (right), (image courtesy of the artist) 13 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
long before she was born to give shape to this life she now lives. Turner named each of her 11 vessels after a woman who has helped form her. She kept that woman in mind throughout the reduction and addition process as she carved each into a signifying pattern. Turner describes the sharp contrast between the smooth glazed interior and ornately carved exteriors of these
sculptures as strategic. She refers to the exteriors as armor and matches the motif of that armor to her model. Turner titled her exhibition of those carved coil vessels, Negritude or Attitude. Kara Walker and Hank Willis Thomas are both inspirations for her work. Turner interprets and expands her art practice through her awareness of work by other contemporary artists. Recently, at a major national conference, she made an effort to meet Judi Tavill, a ceramicist she admires. Afterwards, Turner learned that Tavill — this artist whom she had felt a thrill and some fear to meet — had integrated elements of her ceramic carving into her own practice, a great and unexpected compliment. Turner has thought quite a bit about the differences between making and sharing 2 dimensional versus 3 dimensional works of art: “For a period of time while I was a student at Truman, I was creating so much ceramic work that my professor was a little annoyed that the kiln was perpetually full of my stuff. I realize
now that I was having a reaction against the 2 dimensional assignments I was required to complete. Me and the pencil just weren’t working. I used to feel like two different people when I moved from 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional artworks. I’ve now found themes that are clear constants in my work: femininity, strength, cultural misnomers regarding black women. These things were showing up in all of my work -showing up differently, but always there.” She has since submitted artworks to printmaking exhibits and embraces 2D media without the acute ache to shape structure into clay. The push-pull of art materials somewhat parallels her battle between professional interests: psychology and ceramics. After the long battle she realized the war was unnecessary and she could embrace both her scientific, practical mind that enjoys datadriven research and her urge to knead earth and fire it into new forms. Today, Turner attends Pratt Institute in New York City. She’s working toward a
masters degree in art therapy and creativity development. She also works as an art handler at the C24 Gallery in Chelsea and is the first creative arts therapy intern at Mount Sinai Hospital. Her embrace of 2 dimensional art forms is a necessity in that work. She considers the soothing or inspiring, expressive or overwhelming qualities of the materials she offers patients. Sometimes that means watercolor, other times charcoal. Helping the patient connect to the media is part of the process in her work with them. At this point, Nala Turner has something to offer as advice to those pursuing art careers and those mentoring emerging artists. Expertise and hard work alone do not get a growing collection of artworks onto walls or into galleries. And art school often does not include instruction on how to exhibit work. Drumming up confidence to ask for leads from those a step ahead has taken Turner to where she is now. Were she in charge of curating art school coursework, she’d include access to resources that direct student artists toward opportunities to enter the fray.
RACHEL LEBO AND THE SOCIOLOGY OF ARCHITECTURE Since the beginning of her experience as an MFA student in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University (WashU), Rachel Lebo’s artistic practice has increasingly investigated the extent to which architectural space defines identity and shapes individual experience. In other words, Lebo’s practice is centered on the sociology of architecture: the study of the built environment and how designed spaces act as a visual expression of social structures.
Delmar Divide, a racial and socioeconomic dividing line between North and South St. Louis. This division was made stark after the city passed a residential segregation ordinance in 1916 that effectively sequestered African-American St. Louisans to neighborhoods north of Delmar Boulevard. It was the first referendum in the nation that ensured racial segregation through housing.
As a result of this ordinance, the racial makeup of neighborhoods directly north of the divide continues to be 99% African American. In addition, the median annual income of those living in that area falls below the federal poverty line. Only 5% of city residents who live north of the divide obtain a bachelor’s degree, as opposed to the 70% who live directly south of the divide. Life expectancy, infant mortality
Lebo’s interest in this broad-ranging albeit qualitative heuristic allows her to investigate the relationship of architecture to multiple identity markers, including race, gender, sexual orientation, class and disability. Which spaces are accessible — and to whom? How do these spaces actively determine the trajectory of a person’s life? These are questions Lebo seeks to explore in her work. A city like St. Louis, a place where the built environment determines much about a person’s life, is certainly an appropriate site for Lebo’s artistic inquiry. St. Louisans might be especially aware of the built environment’s intersection with race due to the enduring presence of what is often referred to as the
Rachel Lebo, Saturate (photo credit: Lacy Murphy) COMMUNITY VOICES
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By Lacy Murphy
rates and access to healthcare are also affected by the Delmar Divide. As illustrated by these statistics, architectural space in St. Louis has a dramatic impact on income, education and health. Before coming to WashU, Lebo had already begun an artistic practice that critiqued the cultural consequences of the built environment. Several of her early works reveal how power can literally be architected by deconstructing the physical and ideological underpinnings of designed spaces. In Lebo’s Living Room, several nude women serve as various pieces of furniture: a television stand, a chair, a sofa, a lamp and coffee table. The soft, curvilinear forms of the nude female form clash against the hard, rectilinear architectural space of the room. Through this composition, Lebo interrogates how physically constructed spaces and societal constructions of gender reaffirm each other, visualizing how women become marginalized when they are sequestered to the private sphere. In Lebo’s painting, women are not just permanent fixtures of domestic space as the homemaking and child-rearing counterpart to men; they literally become domestic fixtures — immobilized and peripheral.
Currently a second-year graduate student, Lebo has pushed her work beyond a critique of the consequences of architectural space to more actively undermining oppressive power regimes expressed by the built environment. This has involved a practice that includes working away from the canvas, as seen in her installations Dripping Fat onto the Lawn and Saturate. Through these three-dimensional works, Lebo more directly engages the bodily experience of the built environment. At over seven feet tall, the sheer size of Dripping Fat onto the Lawn makes it an
Rachel Lebo, Living Room (photo credit: Lacy Murphy)
imposing structure. Saturate, an installation constructed of pigmented glue, canvas, acrylic house paint and 2 x 4 lumber, occupies and transforms an entire room. Both Dripping Fat onto the Lawn and Saturate resolutely constitute an architectural space of their own rather than the illusion of one, providing a more physical experience for the viewer than Lebo’s earlier painted works. Lebo’s sociological inquiry into architecture reveals, critiques and resists the ramifications of the way we design the world around us. Her artistic progression during her time at WashU suggests that artistic education takes place not only in the classroom and studio but integrally through social interactions within a specific geographic location as well.
Whether Lebo’s time as an MFA student in St. Louis — a city where architectural space determines much about identity and experience — has indirectly or directly influenced her practice, it is crucial to remain mindful of the broader contemporary racial and socioeconomic climate. Young artists like Lebo are cutting their teeth during a time where neo-segregationist policies involving architectural constructions (e.g. Trump’s Wall) are becoming increasingly normalized in the discourse. These artists serve as cultural commentators by investigating the impact of these practices as they encourage us all to consider the sociology of architecture. www.samfoxschoo.wustl.edu www.rachellebo.com
THE POWER OF A STORY By Fatima La’Juan Muse
Anansi the spider is a folktale character originating from the Ashanti people of Ghana. Often described as a mischievous trickster, Anansi is far more resilient and wise than cunning. Andre Henderson was a young boy attending Neil Armstrong Elementary school, in Hazelwood Missouri, when an African storyteller regaled his class with tales of Anansi. It was the spiders’ wisdom, intellect and ability to prevail against the odds that appealed to Henderson. 15 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
Much like the fabled African hero, Henderson has overcome insurmountable obstacles. On a whim he took an art class as an elective in high school and realized he had a natural talent for drawing. Shortly after graduation while working in a factory his left hand was crushed. “It seemed like everything else in my life, you lose things as you get older.” Along with losing the hope of becoming an artist, Andre found himself homeless for years after having his identity stolen. “When you have nothing, you COMMUNITY VOICES
think there’s nothing they can take from you. Boy was I wrong. They can take so much more.” The road to becoming the man he is today involved being trafficked across the country in a debt scam, losing loved ones, bearing witness to sexual abuse, and physical and emotional pain. However, much like Anansi, Henderson found his way out of these dark and dangerous situations. The little boy in him remembered
the spider and used that memory to push himself forward. He eventually enlisted in the army where military physical therapy rejuvenated his hand. He could finally draw again. Through the military, he was able to pay for college and just completed his final semester as a graphic design major. For his final project at Fontbonne University, Henderson found it only fitting that he pay homage to the spider who gave him strength in the face of so much adversity. When asked what Anansi meant to him, Henderson replied, “He represents the opposite of everything said about black folk. The things they said we weren’t, he is.” This sentiment perfectly describes Henderson as well.
Andre Henderson, Anansi (photo credit: Fatima La’Juan Muse)
NO SEMBLANCE OF MEANING According to legend, the great abstract artist Kazimir Malevich experienced a spiritual vision in 1913, when he painted a black square on a white field, demonstrating that a painting could exist completely free of any reflection or imitation of the external world. In his defiant brush strokes he managed to transform art itself from the dead weight of the real world and appropriate a black square into a symbol
of iconic negation. He wrote: “Objectivity, in itself, is meaningless, the concepts of the conscious mind are worthless. Feeling is the determining factor... and thus Art arrives at non-objective representation.” Malevich’s Suprematism movement ushered in a new receptivity in modern art that could transform the pictorial arts into a “supremacy
of pure feeling.” Malevich became one of the most important artistic voices in postRevolution Russia. In 1928 his painting Head of a Peasant prompted public outcry because, critics claimed, he’d reduced the human face to meaninglessness. By then the Stalinists had taken power and declared Socialist Realism as the only official art form, Malevich’s work was destroyed and he was forced to paint representational art until his death. Another Russian abstract artist working with non-objective art was Wassily Kandinsky. He believed color contained a spiritual level that transcended meaning and moved beyond representation, that one could feel the essence of each color.
Draven Steinbecker poses beside her grandfather Randy Titus’s representational but still absurd painting in her Chop Shop hair salon in the Grove (left), Randy Titus (right), (image courtesy of Draven Steinbecker) COMMUNITY VOICES
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By Lew Blink
Art became an emotional aesthetic experience for Kandinsky as he created paintings that were non-representational and full of, what he referred to as spiritual vibration. He felt that only a true poet and a master of shape could create abstract art, his influence was nothing short of a cultural grenade with his conviction that art should be concerned with the spiritual rather than the material. No Semblance of Meaning is a 2005 painting portfolio by local artist Randy Titus. Abstract art served as an inspiration point for the artworks included, particularly Malevich’s Suprematism manifesto, and Malevich’s strange theory that the visual phenomena of the objective world was in itself...meaningless. To test this concept, Titus began to paint non-objective shapes on a series of squares. Typical of the abstract art world, he would describe his process and what led to the creation of the work: “I paper-masked the squares quickly and painted the opening pure white as a base to push color into”. These odd abstractions of shape attempted to be devoid of meaning or had no recognizable symbol of reality. This spiritual art experiment also had roots in Titus’s dedication to Zen meditation. He explored the Buddhist idea of “mu” or “no-mind” in his artistic creative process and completed the first part of the project relatively without meaning. As his oil painting squares became a portfolio, and the layers of the work manifested, he sought to recreate his own experience for the general public.
No Semblance was meant to push the viewer on a journey of non-meaning, but began mapping meaning over the images with absurd text and small graphic symbols. The totality of
Randy Titus, No Semblance portfolio images (image courtesy of Lew Blink)
the project was similar to a Zen koan in that it would confound the viewer and jolt them into their own thought process. The portfolio contained 24 squares, all filled with shape, color and meaninglessness. The individual squares are labeled and numbered with absurdist text descriptions such as Plate 7, Dance of the Gods, relates to the discovery of ceramic tiles in Hesperone. The tile designs were based on a traditional dance of the gods for the upbeat vestibular gavotte, a metaphysical choreography of a forgotten civilization. Of course there is no Hesperone or ceramic tiles, Titus was making it all up. At the heart of No Semblance of
Meaning is a supremacy of feeling that is not easily described in words — a notion that moves the viewer from non-meaning toward a transcendent understanding that ushers us hopefully toward our own non-representational spiritual experience. Randy Titus was a classically trained painter, philosopher, graphic artist, teacher and chess club coach. He was fond of saying about his art: “you either get it or you don’t.” He passed away early last year, and his legacy is currently being discovered.
THE ART EDUCATION OF PAULA MODERSOHN-BECKER By Susan Bawell Weber Paula Modersohn-Becker was a German painter, at the forefront of early Expressionism. She was born Paula Becker in 1876 in Dresden, where she grew up with her family before moving to Bremen in 1888. One of seven children, she grew up in a cultivated and intellectual household. At her father’s insistence, she completed her training to become a teacher and then studied from 1892 to 1896 at art schools and private institutions in Bremen. She spent 1892 at the 17 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
London School of Arts and the period of 1896 to 1898 at the association of Berlin Women Artists at a time when women were still not admitted to many art schools.
and his wife, Clara Westhoff, who were often in Worpswede. Becker then married Modersohn in 1901. This would prove to be a difficult relationship.
After meeting members of the artists’ colony in Worpswede in 1898, Becker decided to join them. She felt that she could more easily achieve artistic simplicity in a rural environment, and she studied there with Fritz Mackensen and Otto Modersohn. She became close friends with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke
Of all of the Worpswede group, Modersohn-Becker was most concerned with art history and modern art. During this time, her themes were drawn from the everyday peasant community around her as she attempted to depict a simple, naturalistic rural life. After becoming disenchanted with the
Worpswede School and the confines of the village, she decided that her further progress depended on fresh experience. Modersohn-Becker soon left for Paris, where she attended the Académie Colarossi and the École des Beaux-Arts. (She would later return to Paris three more times.) She also spent time in the museums, studying ancient Fayum mummy portraits, Gothic sculptures, Rembrandt and the Impressionists. The most significant influences on her work were Cézanne, van Gogh, and Gauguin. She felt that Gauguin especially helped her to achieve the simplicity she wished to portray in her portraits.
Today she is remembered as a pioneer of modern art in Europe, a woman unafraid to express her creativity and march to her own drum.
Modersohn-Becker's painting, Two Girls in Front of Birch Trees, ca. 1903, is currently on view at the St. Louis Art Museum in gallery 214.
Rainer Maria Rilke immortalized her in Requiem for a Friend: So your gaze was finally free of curiosity and so un-possessive, of such real poverty, it no longer desired self: was sacred. www.slam.org
During her stays in Paris, Modersohn-Becker also met celebrated artists Munch, Klinger, Bonnard, and Vuillard. She was constantly striving to educate herself and find ideas that she made her own by developing a personal abstract vision. Although it is viewed as normal today, at the time it was extraordinary for a woman to go off on her own to pursue her own development. In February 1906, Modersohn-Becker again set off for Paris, wanting to break away from the colony for good. She was also separated from her husband. She had become a prolific portraitist, mainly painting children, peasants and old women. It was at this time that she produced her most striking works of mother and child images. She portrayed many nude mothers as life-giving vessels for their babies — an image of femininity itself and a blatant departure from historical nursing Madonnas.
In the summer of 1906 Otto Modersohn joined his wife in Paris. By spring of the following year she was expecting a baby, and the couple returned to Worpswede. Modersohn-Becker died of an embolism at the age of 31, three weeks after their daughter’s birth. Her daughter survived. During her last years, she painted nude self-portraits — unusual for any artist, but even more unprecedented for a female artist. The most iconic are her nude self-portraits during her pregnancy. When Modersohn-Becker was alive, recognition was slight, with few exhibits and fewer sales. She was highly prolific in such a short time, producing some 400 paintings and more than a thousand drawings. She recorded her story in letters and diaries, first published a decade after her death. Paula Modersohn-Becker passed before Die Brücke group was formed, but she was undoubtedly an important precursor of that group and its successor, Der Blaue Reiter. Paula Modersohn-Becker, Two Girls in Front of Birch Trees (image courtesy of the Saint Louis Art Museum) COMMUNITY VOICES
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ART TO LEARN ENGLISH By Amy Bautz
Since 2016, I have collaborated with Stephanie Hirschman, an English as a second language educator at Sussex Downs College in Lewes, England, on an ESL textbook tentatively titled Full Color English for Teenagers, Young Adults and Adults. The book will provide practice in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation using visual puzzles. I think of these as paint-by-words puzzles because the unsolved puzzles look like unpainted paint-by-number canvases. In practice, the students use markers, not paint, but watercolor or gouache would also work.
The original concept was Stephanie’s. She selects the word sets and chooses the subject of the puzzles and she writes a lesson that goes with each. Because the learners are also gaining (British) cultural competency, our visual puzzles have iconic imagery like Stonehenge and cream teas. It’s been an enrichment for me to learn more about ESL education. As the artist in our collaboration, the challenge for me on each puzzle is balancing inscrutability of the unsolved puzzle, image detail, and space for the words, along with
aesthetics. I believe that students’ attention is better held with a sophisticated image and I pay a lot of attention to line quality, texture, perspective and composition. When we first started working on this, Stephanie felt that a correctly solved puzzle should provide an exciting reveal. We worked through several iterations and what I came up with is that the puzzles have emphatic lighting and spatial simulation that can only been seen when the puzzles are solved. It is my hope that the puzzles might be aesthetically pleasing enough that the students keep them when they are finished, possibly even hanging them up in their living spaces. As an art educator at Saint Louis University, my experience is that repeated exposure to lesson content strongly supports learning outcomes.
Articles about our puzzles have been published in ESL journals. Victoria Baxter, who teaches ESL at City of Oxford College, saw these publications and reached out to us in 2018. Victoria’s work is part of Activate Learning, which is funded by the British government to help refugees and immigrants better adapt to life in Britain. She thought our visual puzzles would be especially well suited to teaching Syrian refugees. This student population has substantial learning hurdles: some general literacy issues and also trauma. Victoria thought the coloring activity would allow her students to relax, concentrate, and be more open to learning. Victoria’s experience when testing visual puzzles in her classroom has confirmed this effect. In addition, Stephanie found that the coloring activity stimulated peer interactions. Research with traumatized learning populations suggests that peer support is very important; some of these learners may feel more comfortable asking for help from each other than from the teacher. Instead of using puzzles we already have, Stephanie and I have been working with Victoria to create puzzles specifically for ESL learners who are Syrian refugees living in Oxford. My favorite so far is the puzzle of the Bridge of Sighs in Oxford, probably because I enjoy drawing architecture. It is a capitalization puzzle, which requires the learners to first capitalize the words as needed, and then to color uppercase word areas tan and lowercase word areas blue.
Lesson Solved from Full Color English for Teenagers, Young Adults and Adults (image courtesy of Amy Bautz) 19 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
Victoria reports that the puzzles are very successful, with an extraordinarily high
completion rate and very visible error tendencies that allow the teachers in Oxford to see which vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation lessons need revisiting. Her feedback has been instructive for our textbook project. She has given us an excellent opportunity to assess the efficacy of a mindful, art-based pedagogy.
Stephanie and I will continue to create teaching materials for Syrian refugees in Oxford and we plan to incorporate what we learn to make changes to our manuscript before we send it out to more publishers. We are also seeking funding to support the creation and wider distribution of our visual puzzles for refugee and migrant populations in other locations.
HARD KNOCK SCHOOL OF ART By Terrell Dickerson
Picture this: My mother in the kitchen washing dishes and 3-year-old version of me sitting in front of the television watching Sesame Street, that’s where it all started for me… kinda. The colors, the shapes, the sounds captured my mind in a transcendental way and I was cognitive of what was consciously and subconsciously occurring. When I was 7 years old, the social worker at the grade school I was attending called my mother and asked her to have me scheduled to take an aptitude test because I was precocious, maybe even gifted, and so my mom understandably did so. Test day arrives, finally,and I go in with the mindset of "let’s just get this over with, I’ve got a bike calling my name.” I walked in the school and an instructor leads me to a small room where there was a chair, a desk with a timer, a test and pencil on it.
I sat down, the instructor started a timer and I started the test. The timer rings 25 minutes later and in walks the instructor, catching me doodling on a piece of paper, because I had finished the exam a lot faster than expected. He collects the test and escorts me to the office where my mom was waiting. A week later the results came and I scored great, a few points from gifted, but way above average. In my heart of hearts I knew I could’ve scored even higher, but that little rebel inside me was saying “screw you and your test, you morons don’t have a clue!” That same rebel exclaims to himself anytime there’s trash, paint, magazines, scissors or adhesive in my presence." You are a genius! You are socially enlightened. You are a collage of consciousness. You exude PTSD in oil on that seven foot piece of plywood you found in the alley.” Terrell Dickerson, In 5G We Trust (image courtesy of the artist)
Why? Well in the wise, minimal words of Andy Warhol: “Because I can.” My internal reasoning is “why not?"
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Here’s why: As a child I grew up in the treacherous North St. Louis streets: guns, drugs, death and despair.
weren’t home either. We barged in and started breaking stuff, turning over tables. It was horrible.
One morning, when I was 13-years-old, this gangster who lived next door to my grandmother came over while we were watching our favorite show, The Price Is Right. He handed her a small handgun and asked her to stash it, and she did. Later that day, while Grandma was napping, I crept to the spot where she’d hidden the gun and I took it.
Feeling even more mischievous, I decided to go out in the backyard, pulled out the gun and started firing bullets into this green, tin garbage can, that sat in the corner of the yard. The rest of the guys heard the shots and came running out. Now we’re all taking turns pumping rounds into this trash can. I got my turn, then passed the gun backwards. Two of them started wrestling over it, so I walked away.
My thinking was “why not?" If it was OK for that guy to bring my grandmother this shady revolver to hide for him, and it was OK for her to actually do it — not knowing or caring if he’d killed some person with it — then why would it be wrong for me to take it? They’re doing whatever they want, why can’t I? (On a tangent, this is why we must lead by example. This was atrocious. A few days later I graduated from middle school. I wasn’t allowed to participate in the ceremonies because I was smart but I didn’t fit in, so they sent me home in a cab. I got home and only my Granny was there, so I changed clothes, grabbed the gun, went outside and sat on the neighbors’ porch where I waited for my friends to get out of school. They finally did, so we got together and started terrorizing the neighborhood. We stopped at one kid’s house, because his parents
one up and get killed with it. Why do I blame our political officials? Because they are the only ones who have the powers to stop this flood, yet they open the dam even wider, and we all know why! This is the reason for the anti-political sentiment in my art.
As I was walking, I heard a voice that said “Terrell, you’re about to get shot!” I paid it no mind. I kept walking, then I stopped and started staring at the sky.
This event also formed my anti-corporate view because consumerism is one of the most decimating weapons they have in this war. They systematically program us to think we need all these guns to protect all the things. They’ve brainwashed us to think that we’re irrelevant to society if we don’t have them. This is the main reason poor people commit so many crimes. We’ve been psychologically manipulated by radio, TV and the internet that we must acquire this stuff by any means in order to fit into this matrix.
The gun goes off and I got hit under my chin. All my “friends" took off running, leaving me alone on the ground, paralyzed from head to toe, bleeding to death. I didn’t panic because my mother taught me that if I was ever in a traumatic event like this, not to panic because that’ll make your heart pump more blood. So I remained calm.
As I got older, I found out that there were other artists who had the same views and expressed them in the same extraordinary ways, similar to my artistic methods. Guys like Warhol, Basquiat, and Rauschenberg taught me that I wasn’t alone, but my emotional artistic training came from the Hard Knock School of Art: the streets.
Here’s how this awful event shaped my “Why Not” perspective that leads to the birth of most of my artworks. It gave me insight into how the politicians are at war with the people. This country is flooded with so many guns that any 13-year-old — or younger — can just pick
THE ST. LOUIS ARTISTS’ GUILD’S COMMITMENT TO INSPIRE By Carrie Keasler (St. Louis Artists’ Guild Education Coordinator) The St. Louis Artists’ Guild (STLAG) seeks to offer all people the opportunity to develop their creativity by experiencing the joy of making art. We believe everyone is creative and that accessing your creativity is inspiring and uplifting and gives the satisfaction of accomplishment. Through a broad portfolio of classes, workshops, demonstrations and lectures the STLAG educates people of all ages in art making and art appreciation.
Our classes fill with students who always wanted to try painting, or they loved to draw when they were young, or they see it as an opportunity to take a break from their day job. Learning to draw — “to see” — is an exhilarating and refreshing experience that requires a single focus. Perhaps you have an art degree but have not made art in years. STLAG is the perfect place 21 ALLTHEARTSTL.COM SPRING 2019
to reignite your passion, reconnect with the practice of making art, and network with other artists. Artists are connected and supported to explore, enrich, and develop their creative talents. Not only does the STLAG give artists an opportunity to connect artists with other artists, but we also provide artists with an opportunity to develop as teachers. All of our instructors are exceptional and professional artists who give students the opportunity to interact with masters of their medium and techniques. The Artists’ Guild is the most positive art environment I have ever experienced as a student or a teacher. Everyone here loves art in any form from any level student. The smaller classes allow me to teach more individualized lessons, to facilitate greater understanding and improvement.
Angela Weis, STLAG Instructor attests that “The STLAG offers opportunities for young artists to explore their creativity and to develop their skills. Parents, children, and siblings can work together on a project and view the artwork in the gallery during our Free-Family Saturday art activities. Classes in drawing and printmaking provide young artists with the skill-based instruction that they often crave in upper elementary and middle school.” The St. Louis Artists’ Guild values the social and emotional benefits of art education, which include insight into other perspectives gleaned from viewing and talking about art, responding to art through hands-on projects, and working collaboratively. Schools, after-school groups and adult programs visit STLAG throughout the year and have opportunities to interpret artwork, talk to guest artists, and use the classroom space to make original work.
Schools and community groups have also been invited to display their work in our Ramp Gallery, an area that is dedicated to community projects.
letterpress printmaking located in Old North, are collaborating to create poster art for Creative Reaction Labâ€™s Artwork for Equity campaign.
The STLAG is committed to being a part of the larger network of arts organizations making St. Louis a more inclusive and artful community for all. We strive to reach diverse audiences within the St. Louis area by providing art instruction in community settings and creating partnerships through artistic collaboration. This winter, STLAG and Central Print, a nonprofit organization dedicated to
I, Carrie Keasler, representing STLAG, and Marie Oberkirsch, director of Central Print in Old North, have made a successful proposal to lead middle school students in the Youth and Family Center's after-school program in the production of a poster. The poster will be a
part of an exhibit and live auction to benefit Creative Reaction Lab's Artwork for Equity Campaign. The campaign is in its second year and coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is March 21.
Saint Louis Artist Guild Classes (images courtesy of the St. Louis Artist Guild)
Receive your copy of All the Art in your mailbox! Support the Visual Art Quarterly of St. Louis Membership starts at $55 www.alltheartstl.com
University of Missouri-St. Louis The Des Lee Foundation Endowed Professorship in Museum and Community History Studies The University of Missouri-St. Louis seeks nominations and applications for the Des Lee Foundation Endowed Professorship in Museum and Community History Studies, a collaborative program of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the Missouri Historical Society. The professorship is part of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision, a community of thirty-five endowed professors across disciplines who collectively are dedicated to linking the knowledge and resources of universities with community partners through collaboration to build educational, cultural, and research opportunities for all members of the St. Louis community and around the world. The University of Missouri-St. Louis is a leader in these educational partnerships with key St. Louis institutions including the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Symphony, St. Louis Science Center, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden and others. The Museum Studies program partners with these and many other cultural institutions throughout the metropolitan region. The sharing of resources and knowledge provides innovative learning opportunities for the region and around the world. The successful candidate will be hired at the rank of associate or full professor and will sustain and coordinate the program in Museum Studies, currently consisting of an interdisciplinary M.A. degree housed in the History Department and a graduate certificate. The Museum Studies program will involve active collaboration with the Missouri History Museum and other institutions in the St. Louis region, using museums as instruments for community reflection. Teaching is an important component of this professorship. The expected instructional load will be consistent with the University of Missouri System and University of Missouri—St. Louis policies, as well as the position’s endowment agreement. This may include supervising assistantships, practica, and exit projects, engaging in research, and performing University and community service. The professor will participate in the Des Lee Collaborative Vision and connect with other endowed professors to extend and amplify UMSL’s impact within the greater St. Louis region and beyond. A Ph.D., significant publications and/or exhibits, a strong teaching record, appropriate museum or public outreach experience, a record of program development, excellent communication and motivational skills, and ability to synthesize disciplinary perspectives are required. The University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) is an urban institution located in St. Louis, one of the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. The St. Louis region is exceptionally rich in museums and cultural amenities, and is one of only two cities in the country which has established an area-wide taxing district to support its major cultural institutions, giving them the financial stability for continued growth and improvement. The University of Missouri-St. Louis has partnerships with the five institutions in this district, sharing resources and staff and creating special opportunities for students. For further information about St. Louis, please see: http://www.stlregionalchamber.com/life/overview. UMSL is one of four institutions in the University of Missouri land-grant system and is classified as RU-H (high research activity) and as a Community Engaged Campus by Carnegie rankings. Both the campus and the College of Arts and Science are committed to an inclusive campus community that values and respects all its members and achieves educational excellence through diversity. We encourage applications from individuals from diverse and minority backgrounds, including individuals with disabilities and veterans. For further information about UMSL, please see: http://www.umsl.edu/proud/index.html. Applicants must apply online at https://www.umsl.edu/services/hrs/careers/index.html (click on “Explore Faculty Careers,” “Prospective Faculty,” then register a new account, and look for job posting 28816.) Please submit a cover letter outlining qualifications and interests, CV, and names and contact information for at least three referees in a single .pdf or Word file. Applications received through other sources will not be considered. Review of applications will begin on March 15, 2019 and will continue until the position is filled. Anticipated start date is August 2019. Inquiries and nominations for the position can be sent to Andrew Hurley <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The University of Missouri-St. Louis is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity.