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“Transformation: A Journey into Abstraction” Opens Oct. 11 in Department of Art & Art History
10.09.12 |

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The work of four LVC student artists and professor Michael Pittari will be on display Oct. 11 through Dec. 6 as part of the “Transformation: A Journey into Abstraction” art exhibit in the Department of Art & Art History. An opening reception will be held in Lynch Memorial Hall Oct. 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The project was funded by the Edward H. Arnold and Jeanne Donlevy Arnold Program for Experiential Education, which supports high-impact student-faculty collaborative projects on campus.

“Transformation: A Journey into Abstraction” is an exhibition of abstract paintings by five artists — Brittany Flood, Julia Hurley, Alena Langan, Michael Pittari, and Taylor Saraiva — based on the shared theme of transformation.

“While thematic grouping is not unusual, what is noteworthy here is that the artists — four undergraduate students and a professor — worked alongside one another during the summer of 2012 to produce their individual interpretations of the theme,” Pittari writes in an essay describing the exhibit.

Abstraction was the dominant artistic mode of 20th-century modernism, embodying a quest for new ideal forms befitting a new technological era. Abstract painting, in particular, was rooted in European Impressionist painting of the late 1800s. Complex and varied, abstract painting was (and remains) neither a style nor unified movement.

“Despite the prevalence of abstraction as a ‘defining practice’ of the 20th century,” Pittari writes, “within college and university art programs of the last 50 years abstraction is typically utilized only as a means to an end — a way to understand visual elements such as color, shape, and space — rather than as an ideology for the creation of meaningful art.”

He continues, “In observing the evolution of each artist’s work, it is accurate to suggest that the goal of the Arnold Grant program—new avenues of exploration—have been achieved: In the colorfully appealing work of Brittany Flood, each painting depicts an abstracted state of water evoking primordial moments of creation. Julia Hurley’s grouping of three lush, cataclysmic paintings offers a literal transformation of repeated visual elements in sequential (or transformative) states. The amalgamative abstractions of Alena Langan are inspired by stained glass, but are rooted in the modernist concept of ‘visual music’—in which visual elements are empathetically felt in one or more of the other senses. My own densely layered paintings, bearing the traces of architectural and natural forms, are created through successive building up and breaking down of the picture plane until a balance of image and surface is achieved. The work of Taylor Saraiva is both intensely personal and universal; for her, color and brushstroke are symbolic of physical, psychological, and spiritual states of transformation.”

Each of the student-artists selected a quote that exemplifies their tie to abstraction:
  • Brittany Flood, "The exclusion or inclusion of nature is…not a matter of the individual artist's choice. For art, nature is unavoidable." – Elaine de Kooning
  • Julia Hurley, “The truth of the world is that it is chaotic…. The world is rudderless.” – Alan Moore
  • Alena Langan, “Color directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposively, to cause vibrations in the soul.” – Wassily Kandinsky
  • Taylor Saraiva, "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted." – Job 42:2

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