Small Works: 2008 International Orton Conebox Show,
Ed Cook, Nancy D'Agostino, Juliette Herwitt,
Nancy Staszak, Sadia Uqaili, Anne Von Ehr
On Display: November 13, 2008 – January 5, 2009
Artist Reception –December 5 5-7pm
Fermilab Art Gallery, Wilson Hall
The 2008 International Orton Cone Box Show
This competition was started by William Bracker in the early 1970's. The original idea was to encourage and promote creativity and excellence in the ceramic community. The Standard Orton Cone Box was chosen as the size limitation for the show, all entries had to fit into the interior space of a cone box, 3" x 3" x 6".
During the seventies the show was held at Purdue University (1975) and The University of Kansas (1977 & 1979). Inge Balch, Professor of Art at Baker University, a good friend of Bill Bracker has been the curator of the show since 1994 when it first was held at Baker University. Professor Balch made the international aspect of the show possible and has since been held biennially.
Mr. Cook has always had an appreciation of the precise which is reflected in realistic highly detailed miniature works of art. The paintings have been recognized for their quality and merit in International Miniature competitions. In 1995 Mr. Cook was invited to London to participate in the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Miniature Society which is under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth II. His work has also been recognized by the Miniature Artists of America and Whiskey Painters of America, organizations dedicated to promoting miniature art.
Mr. Cook has a love of nature which can be seen in the selection of his subject matter. He enjoys painting rural landscapes, old buildings and barns, steams and waterfalls as well as intimate views of water lilies which he feels have a particular beauty.
My paintings are an expression of the love and awe I feel for the prairie. The works for this exhibit were created with inspiration from various natural and restored prairie sites in Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville and at Fermilab; in Batavia, Illinois.
Although I enjoy replicating what I see and experience in a realistic style, my work is not static. I enjoy expressing myself in an impressionistic, minimalistic and mixed media style, according to the feelings evoked by observation at the time. At times, I am inspired to color the prairie in blues, pinks, and purples. I often daydream, as I imagine the earliest Americans cultivating and caring for the prairie; some using it to build their homes; heal their sick, and as grazing fields for the bison. Never again will America see the vast prairie that once was; but with thoughtful restoration we can provide a glimpse of it for future generations. This is what inspires me to capture the prairie.
My paintings are of urban environments at night time. I am especially drawn to the brief moment that occurs some evenings after the sun has set but before all the natural light leaves the sky. During this time the sky often turns magical shades of blue providing a contrast for the warmth of the city lights. The way light reflects off surfaces and the abstract patterns made by light in the darkness are central to my work. Like Whistler creating his nocturnes, I am always considering the minimum amount of light needed to define a scene.
These works are very small and intimate. I am literally and psychologically trying to contain the chaos of the city. I often use an exaggerated scale, such as a very tall and thin format or very wide and short. This scale results in capturing an abbreviated view of a larger scene and serves my attempt to reveal a slice of life - a brief moment in time.
I often fill my images with moving cars and faceless people, waiting for the bus, hurriedly crossing the streets, all on their way somewhere. But whether the scene is still and silent or bustling and noisy, my desire is to convey the lonely anonymity of urban living, that sense of being alone in a crowd.
I am a printmaker who likes to use multiple plates, images, inks and papers. Layering them together on my press creates serendipitous combinations. It is always a surprise to pull the paper from the press and plate and see what has happened.
I am fascinated with the lines, poles and complex towers that carry our electricity and telephone/cellular messages. We have transformed our landscapes and skyscapes to meet our needs for connection and power. These objects seem like so much visual clutter that we mentally tune them out---but when we look again closely, the structures and intersections and looping lines can be beautiful.
Multiple wires frame diamonds in the sky. Utility poles resemble crosses or the masts and rigging of ships now anchored along our streets. Microwave towers morph into ladders leading into the sky. How far do our messages reach?
Birds rest like notes on the rows of wires that resemble musical staffs. What harmonies would emerge from those orchestral scores? The very poles themselves are numbered and mapped--- each one a little different from the next.
I ask the viewer to look up at those poles and lines again--- and to consider the meaning of our very visible desire for connection---and to wonder at the patterns mankind has made of our means to get there.
Having lived in five different countries on two continents I have had the fortune to experience a panoply of cultures and the people who make them thrive. I have enjoyed the process of learning how to function and perform in very different and distinct environments, following the ebb from one society to the next-and the subcultures within each-in a constant fluid motion.
Through these influences I have over time come to be wrapped in a fabric of numerous emotions, values and, of course traditions sewn by histories that belong both to me and the elders I've met along the way who so eloquently weaved their stories heavy with nostalgia.
These past encounters I carry daily and those I experience in the present, blend to create a rich infusion of memory and desire. It is an alchemy that compels me to express them in images. My work then is, in part, an inquiry of how our individual pasts inform our present, and so leave us open to undefined possibility.
Often inspired by nature-both inert and human-my work explores the intimacies and distances that exist between individuals and objects, the inherent energies possessed by each, and the potential fusion that may bind them together.
Anne Von Ehr
A native of Aurora, I have always been involved in the Arts. Encouraged by my parents and teachers I pursued a degree in Art Education. After teaching Art, I completed an additional degree in Interior Design and worked as a Designer. Fourteen years ago I returned to my artwork.
The first time I touched pastels to paper I felt a connection. The immediacy and soft glowing colors drew me to this medium, which has become my mainstay. Since that time I have been working, painting, and growing artistically, in addition to teaching pastel workshops nationally. I also paint with oils and oil pastels, which I feel expands the depth of my work.
Much of my work is organic and lyrical, an exploration of place. The pull of the land and nature is so strong that I feel some of my pieces are produced as a meditation, in part consciously, but at another level subconsciously. Drawing my viewers into my work I challenge them to experience their own connection to those places I visit.
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