JORDYN RUSSELL – STAFF WRITER
“Pour, Spill, Drip, Stain” will be displayed in the Main Gallery of the Strohl Art Center through Aug. 27 — highlighting surface and fluidity as both technique and inspiration. The exhibition features six nationally recognized contemporary artists and their respective mediums, showcasing multicolored paintings, encaustics, works on papers and ceramics.
One of the artists in the exhibition is Josette Urso, a painter governed by intuitive leaps of scale, color and wayward geometry.
“I love the title ‘Pour, Spill, Drip Stain.’ It is a great theme, and I am so happy to be a part of it,” Urso said. “My two largest pieces in the exhibition were painted outdoors onsite in the rugged, west coast of Ireland, right by the sea.”
Urso chose to use watercolor for her pieces in this exhibition, making exploratory and playful choices with her works of art.
“It was windy, rainy and sunny,” Urso said. “It is a great challenge putting yourself in a situation where there is a sense of chance, where something that may happen that I cannot quite predict, like a surprise.”
Urso says viewers often tell her that her work “reminds them of a dream they had as a child.” She encourages this type of response, using her works of art to discover “worlds within worlds within worlds” through her paintings. Urso deliberately creates open-ended art through her practice, allowing room for discovery and connection with the viewer.
“(The chance) makes me feel present, playful and in the moment,” Urso said. “I thrive on not knowing and figuring it out along the way. Ff I understand too much, I’m not as interested in the journey.”
Tony Landolina, an abstract artist, paints with beeswax, a propane torch and razor blades, utilizing an ancient technique that dates back to the 5th century B.C.
“I wanted to do a very drippy, painterly show,” said Judy Barie, the Susan and John Turben Director of Chautauqua Visual Arts Galleries, acting as curator. “It ended up having this gorgeous, prominent blue theme.”
To create his art, Landolina fuses together layers of beeswax, tree resin and pigments, using a blowtorch to combine them. He then scrapes patterns into the surface.
“Beeswax is not a common medium that people typically work with,” Landolina said. “… It has a transparency to it that differs from oil and acrylic — oftentimes, the light will bounce off the painting in a different way, with a more vibrant feel to it than traditional painting mediums.”
Shiyuan Xu is a sculptural ceramic artist highlighted in the exhibition who demonstrates focus on nature, emphasizing her curiosity surrounding the micro world through her artwork.
“For my recent body of work, I am focusing on the growth of microorganisms, but in a very abstract way, focusing on rhythm and energy of how things grow,” Xu said. “The structures, for me, are the traces of how they grow and respond to movement, time and space.”
Xu is fascinated by the shapes, patterns, structures and textures involved with these microorganisms, working to reinterpret these elements into sculptural forms.
“My process is a very tedious and slow one, kind of like building a three-dimensional puzzle, always slowly moving outwards to get bigger forms,” Xu said. “I think people will see the movement within the piece, but I am open and excited about everyone having a different interpretation.”
Ashanté Kindle is a current master of fine arts degree candidate at the University of Connecticut, having received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Austin Peay State University. In her artist statement, Kindle said being an artist has significantly helped her improve with the development of her voice.
“The presence of wave forms found in hair, nature and handwriting allow (me) to find connections with a focus on placing Black hair into the conversation of art as a form of expression,” Kindle said. “Physically, emotionally and metaphorically.”
Kindle is currently focusing on repetition as a form of personal recovery, reflection, remembering and reclamation. She works to underscore the creative process, stressing the importance of appreciating the journey as an artist.
“The process of creating becomes as important as the final piece as transformation begins to occur,” Kindle said. “Each repeated mark begins to represent the echo of a soft whisper or a frenzied scream of emotion.”
Ceramic artist A.J. Collins creates his one-of-a-kind works of art at his studio in Pittsburgh, specializing in handcrafted pieces.
Collins uses “porcelain and an original palette of matte glazes to handcraft his ceramics, ranging from marbled bowls to mid-century urns,” according to his artist statement. His artwork explores a tension between line and form, as well as art and function.
Additionally, Collins oversees his own ceramics practice, Jowdy Studio. The studio is celebrated for providing modern ceramics and tableware, featuring bold and striking colors.
Pittsburgh-based artist Zoë Welsh received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Tyler School of Art and Architecture in Philadelphia in 2016, currently working out of her studio at Radiant Hall Studios.
Welsh creates “mixed media paintings based on her interest of translating mental space into symbolic landscape,” according to her artist statement.
Throughout her artistic process, Welsh explores personal narrative as it represents journey, obstacle, time and experience. She utilizes her inspiration drawn from the natural world to develop symbolic forms within her works of art.
“Through a process of pasting strips of paper underneath layers of transparent color, the architecture of an intuitive image emerges,” Welsh said. “Transforming the surface into a figurative and at times literal window, giving way to an environment that is felt beyond the edges of the canvas.”