A peripheral panorama

Minkyu Lee, “Crescent #13”, Padauk and oak woods. Minkyu Lee, “Crescent #13”, Padauk and oak woods.

Digital montage and geometric repetition at Rosewood

By Jud Yalkut


Minkyu Lee, “Crescent #13”, Padauk and oak woods.

Minkyu Lee, “Crescent #13”, Padauk and oak woods.

The two artists in concurrent exhibitions at the Rosewood Gallery through October 21 deal with fragments and impressions from nature that synthesize into new visionary forms. Gary Mesa-Gaido merges “multiple digital images to create one panoramic photograph” and ceramicist Minkyu Lee explores the “geometric structures,” which “underlie our world” including “all organic and inorganic matter.”

Mesa-Gaido, who received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University in 1992, is a professor of art at Morehead State University in Kentucky, from which he has received several Creative Production Grants, culminating in a 2010 Distinguished Creative Production Award, as well as a Kentucky Arts Council Grant as an Al Smith Fellowship in Frankfort, Ky. His major technique involves slowly panning in a 180-degree rotation “recording up to 50 consecutive images with a digital camera. This permits him to “select anywhere from 18 to 50 photographs to be digitally stitched together using Adobe Photoshop software; thereby creating one panorama.”

The resulting panoramic images stretch the capabilities of peripheral vision of the human eye, allowing “multiple perspectives at the same time” converting a cubistic reality into a homogenous whole. By photographing all of these permutations from the exact same location, there is seamless reality, which belies the impossibility of such real perception. Mesa-Gaido points out “the juxtaposition of improbable angles provides evidence that what the viewer sees may not be possible in the real world.”

Mesa-Gaido’s panoramas swell out to approach the spectator in the two views of European train stations in the show, with the profuse stylish advertisements and contemporary fashion billboards as a continual array above the slightly blurred time-lapsed people in motion in the “Stazione Centrale Roma Termini, Rome, Italy. The curving balustraded balconies of an unnamed “Train Station, Paris France” suggests the ongoing renovation of a venerable structure with safety enclosures around crumbling concrete work under the expansive classic glass arches.

“Architectural spaces are of primary interest because of the history held by these particular locations,” noted Mesa-Gaido. The dramatic, monumental upsurge of the island of “Mont Saint Michel (Night), France” is captured at twilight against the sea, and the sweep of the Parisian skyline stretches across the view from atop “La Tour Eiffel, Paris, France” with the tower’s structure visible in the curving perspective of this very non-touristy view of a memorable moment.

The Louvre Museum in Paris     is shown in two manifestations, with the crowded atrium around the Venus de Milo in “Louvre Venus Salle, Paris, France,” in which the fabled statue is framed in a bright trinity of windows, and gigantic baroque canvases create their own elegant corridor in “Les Salles Rouges, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.” Perhaps most dramatic of all of Mesa-Gaido’s images are his vertical panoramas like the stone walkway leading up to the reliefed statuary of the “Notre Dame Exterior,” and the domed oculus above the cathedral spaces of the “Duomo Siena, Italy.”

Minkyu Lee is an assistant professor of art in ceramics at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who received Master of Fine Arts degrees from both Seoul National University in Korea and the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Ceramics Monthly featured her in “Minkyu Lee: Hidden Structures Revealed” by David Damkoehler in its March 2011 issue, in which he wrote that the ceramic sculptor “focuses on the parts of his work that are not actually there, encouraging viewers to complete the work in their minds.”

The artist notes that “repetition, for most people, is an integral part of their daily lives,” with “recurrence, routine, cycles and rituals” as universal principles. By the use of repetitive geometric forms, Lee suggests parameters of his work that extend beyond the confines of what is visually perceived. In the white slip-cast porcelain ”Hidden Structure Revealed #10,” the conical section’s interior is lined with an array of recessed squares, and “Cube Tower” and other white glazed pieces are built up of either internal or external dimensional squares.

Other pieces are suggested oblate spheroids with suggestive titles like “Moon,” “Crater #1” and the “Meteorite” series with round depressions and metallic toothed interiors. The toothed variations recur throughout a number of Minkyu Lee’s pieces, most prominently in the iconic “Crescent Series” in which glazed stoneware invokes inlaid wood and actually manifests as a wood piece in “Crescent #13” with its Padauk and oak segments faultlessly merged together.

The “Crescents” line the walls of the gallery with effective lighting creating dramatic shadows, and some of the “Crescent” pieces with openly stretched arms, all bare variations of jagged tooth edges, some fine and restrained and others expressing almost savage aggressiveness. This confrontation of contemplative symbolism with an intrusion of danger into our peaceful consciousness leaves us on edge. This artist is not content with complacency as he investigates “principles that structure nature and human existence.”

The Rosewood Gallery is located at 2655 Olson Drive in Kettering. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information call (937) 296-0294 or visit www.ketteringoh.org.

Reach DCP visual art critic Jud Yalkut at Visuals@DaytonCityPaper.com.

NY born, moved to Ohio in 1973 to be Assistant Professor of Art at Wright State University (1973-1977); in NYC taught at School for Visual Arts, York College of the City University, and NYU Continuing Ed; six-time recipient of OAC Individual Artist Fellowings (including one in Criticism); 2005 Ohioana Citation in the Visual Arts in Ohio; 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District.

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