“Constructed Territory” at Wright State

"Due East over Stokes Mountain" By Matthew Rangel
"Sense of Place" By David Cogorno

Exhibit explores real and imaginary landscapes

By Jud Yalkut

"Sense of Place" By David Cogorno

Through January 9, the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries at Wright State University is home to real and imaginary worlds and landscapes in the exhibition “Constructed Territory.” Working with expansions of geographical locations, the reworking of cartographic and topologic details, and even the transformation of the Earth’s globe, 32 artists inject their images with exploratory and navigational spaces, which exist on Earth and in the collective mind.

Curator Tracey Longley-Cook, assistant professor of art at WSU, has chosen works in media-transforming hybrids ranging from digital photography, sculpture and mixed media, to drawing, printmaking and book arts. Her statement points out that “maps traditionally present regions of space, which are transformed into condensed descriptive visual references …” and that the artists in this show “examine and redefine the established conventions of our understanding and connection to place.”

“Taskscape 01” (2006) by Emily A. Abruzzo and Gerald J. Bodziak is a large-scale digital video projection on a darkened gallery wall in which a net of subtle oscillating blue-white waveforms become an abstract seascape. Anne Stagg uses disparate mixed media elements suspended on pins like plastic mesh and netting to produce a wall-sized site-specific abstract schematic of clouds and sky over landscape in “Motions of Escape” (2010), while Chad White miniatures his landscape choice in the handmade books of “Postcards from the Salt River” (2009) combining digital prints, maps and photos ranging from dead birds to views from a parked car.

The most dramatic piece is the steel schematic “Sense of Place” (2010) by David E. Cogorno, delineating the sweeps of mounds and hills before a half expanse of gallery wall. Hanging from two stories up in the dramatic gallery space is “2030” (2009) by Stephen Cartwright with its glistening downward sweep of stainless steel horizontal webbings supporting birdlike acrylic forms.

Nick DeFord has produced the most iconic pieces in “Constructed Territory” with his three office material manipulated Earth globes: the multi-layered crisscrossed Scotch magic tape of “Space IV (Mist);” the layered white reinforcement tabs covering the globe’s surface of “Space IV (Triangle);” and  “Space II (Distance)” in which the globe’s surface is obscured with white-out revealing only specks of city names scattered around the globe.

Alien cratered moonscapes are created in four large wall pieces by Marc Leone, using unusual combinations of materials like carbon, graphite, latex paint, earth, acids and burlaps. These four highly textural amalgamations are dark spatial voids on the wall, with titles like “Carbon & Crust #16” and “Carbon & Crust #21,” and two with the addition of volcanic ash like “Mighty #1328” and “Mighty #1298.”

"Due East over Stokes Mountain" By Matthew Rangel

A large spaced-out Mandala called “Germinate” (2009) by Shannon Rankin is formed of small circular fragments from maps of sea and land secured to the wall by tiny redheaded pins. Beth Howe has build an expanse of reams of office paper in which she has produced her “Topography” (2006) by meticulously hand-cutting the sheets in imitations of hilly landscapes and rocky ravines, and also includes three other small framed hand-cut pieces, which gain a leisurely feel compared to the large “excavation.”

“Topography” is situated between two books pieces: Allyn Stewart’s “Lost” (2010) spiral-bound book of digital images with bold font words and animal engravings; and the rather large blue fabric-bound tome with the abstracted blue watery expanses of Lauren Rosenthal’s “Political Hydrological: A Watershed Remapping of the Contiguous United States” (2006), a limited edition artist book.

John Holmgren uses acrylic engraving to imprint signs and symbols in his “Not to be Used for Navigation #2” with a man approaching a break in the ice with a swimming orca whale, and “Not to be Used for Navigation #4” with its imprinted spiral and disjointed maps. Large unframed paper pieces by Val Britton, “Extended Macro Universes” (2008) and a companion piece in the outer gallery, both share free form configurations of ink drawing, collage and cut-out paper producing abstract tracks in indefinable expanses of space.

John Mann has a series of digital C-prints, all untitled but with descriptive suffixes, like “Untitled (Eclipse)” with its recumbent half globe with black center, the fragmented color map of Africa with an outline in “Untitled (Libya),” and the propped slanting square of imprinted map against a vague horizon in “Untitled (Ocean).” Other artists include: Huckleberry Starnes with the construction “Beacon #19”; Jill Daves with her map and colored pencil blends in “Marseilles, Nashville, New York and Nice”; and Peter Happel Christian with his cryptically-titled silver gelatin prints “#03-12B,” “#12-04B,” and “#12-01B.”

The Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries are located in the Creative Arts Center of WSU at 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy. Gallery hours are 10 – 4 p.m., Wednesday. 10 -.7 p.m., Thursday. 10-4 p.m., Friday and 12 – 4 p.m., weekends. A special performance for the exhibition is “Le Chemin de Salut (The Way of Salvation)” performed by the Bowling Green State University New Music Ensemble on January 11 at 8 p.m. in Schuster Hall in the Creative Arts Center, followed by a reception in the Stein Galleries. All free and open to the public.

Reach DCP freelance writer Jud Yalkut at  HYPERLINK “mailto:JudYalkut@daytoncitypaper.com” JudYalkut@daytoncitypaper.com.

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