Wednesday, January 13, 2016

DURHAM, NH –Two new group exhibitions, Groundswell and Natural Wonderwill be on view at the Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire beginning January 26, 2016. A reception takes place on Friday, January 29, 2016 from 5:30-7:30 pm. The Museum of Art and its programs are open to the public free of charge. The exhibitions run through April 3, 2016. The Museum will be closed March 11-20 and March 27, 2016.

Groundswell presents three artists, Sophia Ainslie, Nathan Miner, and Cristi Rinklin, whose paintings originate from specific locations and sets of conditions used as departure points to explore perception, memory, history, and motion. Rooted in landscape and mapping, the works of art diverge from depictions of mimetic physical reality to forceful abstract expressions of places and moments.

Sophia Ainslie, born Johannesburg, South Africa, maintains a studio in Somerville, MA. After the death of her mother, Ainslie began to using a single X-ray of her mother’s abdomen combined with her surrounding landscape as source material. She selects shapes, marks and dissects elements from the X-rays to create a composition and her own visual language. Ainslie says “I am interested in forming a collage-like space that reflects the relationship between the body and landscape as interconnected and parallel experiences. Drawing becomes a tool where observation and imagination intersect resulting in a relationship of connections and disconnections between inside and outside or absence and presence.”

Nathan Miner, maintains a studio in Somerville, MA. The majority of his studio practice is painting however Miner also incorporates photography and digital printmaking in his process. Miner’s large scale works of art are about slowing down and looking closely. He says, “I meticulously craft the surfaces of my work to possess a visually seductive softness and yet a feel that is bold and dynamic at the same time. The works are invitations to visually journey, not simply traverse across the surface of the work, but also to delve deep in illusory fields. In this way I extend the pictorial space of the painting beyond the confines of a ‘canvas’, beyond the gallery wall and out into the space of the viewer in an effort to evoke the feeling of being surrounded by nature and time at both a micro and macro level.”

Cristi Rinklin, maintains a studio in Boston, MA. A painter and installation artist, Rinklin’s work explores the natural world. Her source material comes from sampling and appropriation from details of paintings, scenic wallpapers, Google image searches, and collected photographs. Rinklin says “As a painter, I present a pictorial language that is altered by technology, in turn becoming a lens through which we translate our contemporary understanding of space. Imagery in my work is constructed and manipulated through opposing forces and visual impossibilities, via intense color, and optical effects.”

The Museum of Art’s ArtBreak series will feature gallery talks with Groundswell exhibiting artists: Nathan Miner presents Wednesday, February 10, Museum of Art, Paul Creative Arts Center, UNH at 12 pm; Cristi Rinklin discusses her work Wednesday, February 17, Museum of Art, Paul Creative Arts Center, UNH at 12 pm; Sophia Ainslie presents Wednesday, March 30, Museum of Art, Paul Creative Arts Center, UNH at 12 pm. Groundswelland Natural Wonder and accompanyingprogramsare supported by  Friends of the Museum of Art and Public Value Partnership Grant, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.


Natural Wonder

Artists Christina Pitsch, Shelley Reed, Rick Shaefer, and Randal Thurston reference humankind’s complex relationship with nature through visual and literary symbolism found in works of art and material culture of the past reinterpreting it for contemporary audiences. In Natural Wonder the dramas and quiet splendors of the natural world are amplified through meticulously wrought larger-than-life paintings and drawings and in the proliferation of hand-sculpted decorative ornamentation.

Christina Pitsch maintains a studio in Manchester, NH. Pitsch is a mixed media artist whose practice includes installation, sculpture, and printmaking. Her work is a hybrid of materials and techniques driven by larger conceptual questions of cultural iconography and gender identification, particularly hunting trophies. Pitsch says “I have always seen deer as something that is quintessentially masculine: the trophy, the reference to hunting culture, the readability of the antler rack as a masculine symbol/indicator while at the same time the gracefulness of the forms feel very feminine. The delicacy of the deer skeleton suggests femaleness, strong yet delicate, swift and graceful.”

Shelley Reed maintains a studio in Hyde Park, MA. Reed is a painter who finds inspiration from Northern European art from the mid-17th through 18th centuries. She uses source materials such as photographs from art history textbooks, borrowed themes and imagery from Old Masters paintings, creating her own compositions. Reed’s use of animal allegories create visual parables about the strengths and failings of human nature. Her large mural sized monochromatic work In Dubious Battle is an 11-panel painting, measuring 7 feet high by 47 feet wide that encompasses an old world feel with a contemporary twist.

Rick Shaefer maintains a studio at The Nest in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Shaefer studied painting at Duke University and then took up the study of photography at Art Center College, LA. Shaefer has devoted his time exclusively to painting and drawing. His work reflects the effects of human activity on nature. His large scale charcoal drawing, Rhino, a 148” triptych, seeks to capture the animal in gestural lines and marks that inevitably draw the viewer in for a closer look. Shaefer says “Because of my photography background and countless hours spent trying to secure a rich array of grays and blacks in the prints, creating a full range of tones in the black and white drawings is important. But for these larger pieces it has been crucial for me to create the tonal range by line alone – without smudging and rubbing the charcoal in any way. Maintaining the crispness of the individual marks is the goal—not unlike that of an etching, engraving or woodcut—with rich blacks being crucial to the conveyance of shape but also to the sense of bulk and weight.”

Randal Thurston maintains a live-work studio in the Brickbottom Studios, Somerville, MA. Thurston creates site-specific installations using hand-cut paper silhouettes. His work explores themes of beauty, mortality, and the natural world. For Natural Wonder Thurston hand-cut dozens of large-scale insects installing them directly on the gallery walls. Thurston says “I am interested in the architecture of memory. Using the forms and relationships inherent in subjects such as nature, perception, organization and display, my overall desire is to use shadows as a way of echoing the world.”

In conjunction with Natural Wonder, the Museum of Art’s ArtBreak series will hold gallery talks with the exhibiting artists: Shelley Reed presents Wednesday, March 2, Museum of Art, Paul Creative Arts Center, UNH at 12 pm; an evening gallery talk with Rick Shaefer will be held on Wednesday, March 9, Museum of Art, Paul Creative Arts Center, 5:30 pm- 6:30 pm; And on Wednesday, March 30, Sophia Ainslie will discuss her work Wednesday, March 30, 12 pm, Museum of Art, Paul Creative Arts Center. Groundswell and Natural Wonder, are supported by the Friends of the Museum of Art and Public Value Partnership Grant, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.