Ameristar Gallery Archive
featuring juried artists from the Foundry Art Centre's Emerging Artist Series.
Looking for Beauty in the Overlooked
November 18, 2016 – January 6, 2017
“Photographs of people, buildings, and objects that at first glance would be unnoticed or passed by.... but upon closer inspection, perhaps with a different perspective, are worthy of our contemplation and perhaps even our admiration.”
After my two children graduated from high school, they moved away… and so did my first wife. So for basically the first time in my life, I was living totally alone. Looking to fill the void, in 2007 I bought my first (and only) motorcycle and my first digital camera. I still have both, but photography has become dominant. My goal is to retire from my day job at my earliest opportunity and then pursue my photography full-time.
I remember, as a child, living in Houston during the Golden Age of manned space exploration, riding in the back seat of my parents car, looking out the window. As we passed old, dilapidated, and abandoned buildings and signs, I would think: How come they don’t tear them down and build something new? I wanted everything to be new, shiny, modern, and “high tech,” just like the Apollo space program that my father worked on.
Fast forward almost half a century. I have enjoyed a computer career for over three decades. It’s “high tech”. But when I am driving in my car, looking out the window, it is those old, dilapidated, and abandoned buildings and signs that I yearn to see.
In fact, I go out of my way to seek out those sights. I have hooked up with a small band of similar-minded photographers and we periodically explore various old neighborhoods – including burned-out inner city streets and industrial areas that sometimes seem as desolate and foreboding as the lunar landscape.
When my wife and I go on vacation, we sign up for walking tours, preferring to see the city on foot, intimately, rather than from the inside of a sterile tour bus. She enjoys the historical narrative of the tour, I enjoy the opportunity to shoot. But she also has a good eye, and has spotted several of my best shots. Laura and I make a great team, in more ways than one, and she is the love of my life.
I would also like to acknowledge some of the photographers who have influenced me: Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Steve McCurry, Greg Nation, and Jason Gray, among others.
Thank you for reading this and for viewing my photographs. I hope that it will help inspire you to look at the world differently and to find beauty that, otherwise, you may have overlooked.
September 30 – November 11, 2016
Art for me has always been about the process of discovery, taking the “what if’s” and making them a reality. At no point in a person’s life are the “what if’s“ more prevalent than in the imaginative mind of a child. A single stick in a child’s hand can be anything from a wizard’s wand, to a snake, to a divining stick to Atlantis. The work I create revisits that time in my life when anything was possible and the rules of reality did not seem to limit what you could do. Taking old commercial molds & molds I have made myself of kitschy porcelain knick-knacks, I turn myself into a ceramic Dr. Frankenstein. Cutting apart and splicing together different combinations of animals or dolls just to see what new creatures will come alive. Each of the pieces have their own personality and history, which brings to it a slightly twisted sense of humor that I enjoy. Whether it be just the curious combinations or the unexpected act each piece appears to be doing, I hope the viewer at least gives just the slightest uncontrollable smirk at each piece they see. These ‘toys’ signify for me that time in our lives when life was carefree and you did not have a million e-mails to read, errands to run, or meetings to attend. The only thing that mattered was deciding what toy you were going to play with next.
June 24 - August 5, 2016
Several years ago on a drive across the United States I encountered an expansive view of sunlight streaming perfectly through a sky filled with clouds as I crossed the Continental Divide somewhere between Montana and Idaho. This fleeting scene ignited a desire in me to create works inspired by everyday transcendent moments. I explored this calling in works I made as the 2011-2012 Printmaking Artist-in-Residence at the Lawrence Arts Center in Kansas. Many of the works displayed here were made during and after this year-long residency program.
The pieces with bees are about finding hexagonal shapes in ordinary objects, such as a floor mat or the sole of a sneaker. I’m interested in the interconnectedness that we have to the natural world and the fact that we unconsciously replicate geometric shapes, like the hexagon, that nature creates. The pieces featuring bees are also influenced by the idea of colony collapse disorder where bees abandon their hives due to changes in their environment.
In other works I am using circular shapes and radiating lines to symbolically represent light. Lines and circles materialize from a central focal point and reference the brilliance of light that shines from the sun and also from within. In all my pieces I like to use accessible print methods as much as possible, such as image transfers and woodcut stamps. That’s a technical thing with my work - translating simplistic processes and materials - and it's something I've incorporated into my sculptures, as well. I’m strongly influenced by the Italian art movement called Arte Povera, in which everyday materials are used to create works of fine art.
Portraits of Oriental Nostalgia
May 6 - June 17, 2016
In this solo art exhibition, I want to feature my portrait paintings in Gongbi style, which is a meticulous style of Chinese painting. In these works, my goal is not only to show what I have seen and felt, but also to share the deepemotions of my models. My paintings convey the deep and subtle feelings involved in the connection between my models and me. The layers of emotion I feel for them results in the quality of my paintings.
Chinese Gongbi painting has a long history, stretching back almost 1600 years. I have been deeply in love with this type of art since I was a college student. Portrait and figure paintings specifically interest me because they allow me to search the soul as it is reflected through a person’s face and body posture. When a person starts to model for me, I form a deep connection with them. No matter what their status is in life, every individual starts to show me an authentic face. My portraits are a way of revealing a state of mind that is shared by every human being, a common concern about mortality and eternity. The Chinese philosophy of painting incorporates the belief that painting is also meditation, a mode of communing with divine Existence. Chinese painting is executed on silk or on Xuan paper. Both silk and Xuan paper were developed in ancient China. Only brushes carefully made out of animal hair, such as goat, rabbit or weasel, are adapted to such fine, sensitive materials. These materials are necessary to draw the precise lines and paint the intricate and layers of detail central to Gongbi style, which allows me to depict all the layers of subtle feeling that make up our inner lives.
While these emotions can easily be found in the best renaissance artwork, which is my second major influence, I believe they are best captured by Gongbi style.
Though Gongbi painting is very unique in its style and application, it is a classical art form that not very well known outside of the far east. I want to introduce this style of art to people in the western world, as I believe it is as elegant and expressive as classical western art.
March 18 - April 29, 2016
As an artist, I am most drawn to alternative and antique photographic processes. I appreciate the quantity of labor and time needed to complete these types of images and I enjoy the tactile quality of the resulting work. These photographs are aluminum plates with hand-applied emulsion. This process includes preparing the metal, hand-coating warmed plates, and printing on the plates in a traditional darkroom. Due to these steps, each plate is unique and imperfect. Individually, each image comprises 10-30 hours of interdisciplinary efforts.
In my general art practice I am interested in process, materials, and craftsmanship in conjunction with concept. I often feel compelled to represent the figure (both animal and human) in my work. Reimagining and reinterpreting stories, magic realism, and creating tableaus are all of interest to me.
This exhibition, comprised of two related series of work, deals with identity and represents the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world. The main objective of this work is to encourage a dialogue regarding the relationships between the shared cohabitants of (kingdom) Animalia.
December 11, 2015 - January 22, 2016
Leah Schreiber Johnson
LÚ | WAY
October 22 - December 4, 2015
My artwork is varied in its media and approach, and I use this diverse practice to investigate how day-to-day physical experiences are altered by science and cultural landscape. My curiosity often starts with found sources such as medical manuals, maps, and historical records as points of reference to create works that explore the less absolute experiences of observation, sensation, and fantasy.
This work is inspired by my visit this summer (2013) to Wuhan, China, where I spent 6 weeks teaching and traveling. Looking at art around the city, I was struck by the pervasive Chinese history of ink and water, and found the meditative but public Chinese practice of painting calligraphy in water on the warm ground poetic in its expression of both the ancient and the temporary. Rich with texture, pattern, and ornament, the busy city sidewalks became an important physical and visual experience- heightening my awareness of both my need to avert the attentive gaze of those around me, and the varied and cobbled terrain of the growing urban landscape.
These works on paper are monotypes- made with pigment, ink, and water, responding to the historical significance of these local materials and traditions, while taking record of a physical moment in time. The process for making these works became public performance- carrying my materials with me as I walked, I brushed the sidewalk with water and ink often gaining attention and the assistance of curious passers-by. Sometimes alone surrounded by a skeptical crowd, but more often working together, we pressed the paper onto the wet surface, absorbing the water, ink, and dust left by the Wuhan air. The resulting prints become like archeological records, reflecting the contradictions embedded between China’s esteemed ancient customs and the fleeting nature of its quickly shifting
populations and places.
SPEAKING OF FIBERS
September 3, 2015 – October 16, 2015
Presented by the Missouri Fiber Artists Organization, and juried by Sandy Webster, this exhibit included selected works of art from the entire exhibit that was shown at Maryville University November 12 – December 16, 2015.
April 10 - May 22, 2015
Before I was a painter, I was a kid in my mom's fabric store, surrounded by prints and textures. I learned to play rhythm instruments such as the piano, the guitar, and the xylophone. I spent time in my grandparent's basement—a wood-shop, where they repaired and refinished old furniture bought at auctions. This may be why as an adult I have a strong affinity for places like hardware and fabric stores, or why my artwork is more influenced by the music I hear than the visual art I see. I have decided to explore these affinities in my practice.
Foraging for "art media" in fabric, hardware and thrift stores welcomes discovery at every stage of the art-making process. My palette is inspired by the spectrum of these materials (e.g. glues, found fabrics or flooring). I've varied my mark-making applications well beyond brushwork to include pairing, tearing, pushing, sticking and scraping. I'm currently in the process of cataloging this mark-making and material research. I'm also "marksourcing" with my camera phone, taking note of interesting lines and shapes found in sidewalk cracks, electrical wires, peeling paint, and other everyday imagery.
I call this body of work Ostinati because visually it embraces an aesthetic that is similar to that of minimalist music - layered textures and constantly repeated patterns which are subject to gradual changes. Materially, it explores utilitarian themes steeped in the painter's tradition. Personally, it draws out my innate aesthetics and intertwines them.
Lost and Found
February 20 - April 3, 2015
As a tangible item, currency is one of the most ephemeral things in the external, practical world, constantly redefined in relationship to its fluctuating value. Regardless of its fickle nature, money is an essential constant in society. As consumers, we use money as the mediator for such things as physical sustenance, pleasure, and status, all of which may be described according to shifting individual or societal value. Money has become such an integral part of our consumer-based existence that the motif of currency is commonly used as a symbol of value or purchasing power. We are bombarded with its imagery, especially within televised advertising, printed coupons, and journalistic illustrations. Even with technological substitutes for money, paper currency —actual, physical money—is still plainly capable of evoking delight and mystification.
My work investigates the notion of consumerism through the exploitation of money and value in multifaceted projects that incorporate the iconography and motifs from U.S. currency, generating a dialogue about the interplay of both spending practices and value assignments that penetrate our daily experiences. I examine the role of these assessments through both color theory and subject matter, challenging viewers to reconsider the value systems so deeply embedded in the American psyche in the consumption of goods and services, but is directly tied to the human desires, fancies, and whims in our post-industrial consumer society. The decorative elements speak to a number of issues surrounding societal assessments, particularly in relation to home improvement, public art, and art as commodity.
The thrust of my work is to provide viewers with the ironic sense of the sublime as related to the dry motif of money, while raising issues of artistry, value, and pictorial worth. What do we value (monetarily, conceptually, or aesthetically)? For what reason, and to what end? By what standards are these judgments made? In context of the critical assessment and consequent taste of the viewer, I regard my work, not as the answers to these questions, but rather, as the inquisitors.
January 8 - February 13, 2015
I think of my drawings as records of my experience of landscape, both conscious and unconscious. These experiences filter into my work in ways I can’t always track or anticipate. The subject matter I render connects my intuitive and observational studies. Guided by curiosity and instinct, I attempt to inspect and study the place around me.
My most recent work is based on abstraction and landscape with distorted geometric shapes funneling into swarms of spinning and twisting clusters. My imagery hints at both natural and manmade forms, suggesting structures and systems that resonate through internal and external landscapes. On my daily trek, I witness growth and decay in nature and in our urban landscape as well. Lately, I have been looking closely at swarming birds and smoke-lined skylines; these ephemeral scenes inspired me to begin the “Flutter” and “Coil” series.
Little Nameless Objects
September 25 - November 7, 2014
In my practice, I make objects. Because I am free to spend a lot of time in my studio, I turn out many, many of these pieces, and they are created with a wide array of materials and techniques. Usually, for exhibition, I work in large formats. This exhibition has given me the opportunity to show a collection of small pieces, for which I am very grateful.
August 8 – September 19, 2014
May 2, 2014 – August 1, 2014
Foundry Art Centre Studio Artists
March 14 - April 25, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
6:00pm - 8:00pm
The Ameristar Gallery featured eight of our Foundry Art Centre Studio Artists: Natalie Rupp, Chris Sharp, Dale Shannon, Ann Croghan, Spming Hansen, Laura Lebeda, and Laura Hohn.
January 24 - March 7, 2014
The desire for freedom, escape, and exploration influence the narrative of my artworks. I create works that examine the possibility of utopia and dystopia through the escapist tendency to create a parallel realism. The depictions that I fashion are a method of storytelling through the invention and reuse of signs and symbols. The pictorial environments are meant to emphasize a disconnection to a tactile reality, where ideas and experiences are confused. Uneasiness and improbability are abundant in this imaginary voyage, so are feelings of familiarity and imminent danger of the sublime.
Since I am concerned with human nature and social critique, I find myself dealing with concepts of power struggles and in turn the nature of free will. I look to contemporary events, my life experience, memory, and artifact objects to inform my theater-like arrangements within my works. As a result, situations of anxiety and the poignant blend with fantastic invention.
In analyzing my own efforts as a method to provide structure and autonomy to the inherent turmoil of vulnerable human life, the artwork becomes a window, with the act of viewing involving a game. The attempt at detangling of the narrative has both the curiosity of discovery and the helplessness of a related history. The work then harkens the history of man and to that of humankind, in all its injustices and failed endeavors. The act of making from which I cannot separate myself feels hopeless yet fulfilling, in my search for meaning through struggle.
Enraptured By Messages
October 3, 2013 - January 17, 2014
It is a sentimental gesture to desire and have your presence noticed. We claim and interact with space by our gestures of sentiment. We brand certain places special by living and interacting with them. We grow and change, as do they. These themes are what I think about in relation to my work. I see that there is an inclination in people to make an impression. There is handwriting by people everywhere and all around us. These marks are there own class of something that is special with their own moments and their own time. There is deconstruction and reconstruction of all our surroundings. We all have our own ways of treading a path that is unique through space. Places contain the remnants and proofs of our existence. They wear our paths, like scars on a body.
This work began in the Bay Area by simply taking a walk. By taking a consistent path everyday I became captivated by carvings in concrete and people’s interactions with the city and the daily flow of life. The things that the carvings said were my main captivation for a long time. The aged or youthful look of each piece was significant. The more that I walked by them they all became very familiar to me. I could not ignore the messages and images. I soon became enraptured by many similarities throughout the cities that I visited. My work is often about discovery and paying attention to subtle connections. It is about imprints of people on their communities. I feel that the work is inclusive through process and mixing photo-intaglio with traditional intaglio processes. I find and document images. I execute them through Printmaking usually. The work has elements of time capsulation and physical layers of history. I am recently focusing on the energy of marks through their states of existence. This has to do with erasure juxtaposing against seemingly archival messages as well as overlapping proof of memories.
Drawings and Paintings
August 16 - September 27, 2013
"Whenever I have the pleasure of viewing Alan Caine's paintings, I experience a wide range of reactions: I am moved by his harmonious and subtle balancing of colors, excited by his forceful manipulation of light and shadow, drawn in by the melodious pulsation of his varied layers of expression: the odd bits and ends in a waste-paper basket turn into a view of our universe; the tree trunks standing in a springtime forest are an introduction to a marvelously patterned chaos; the distant views of Italian hills and valleys are rhythmic variations on familiar memories." - Yorick Blumenfeld
Alan Caine has exhibited work in the USA and the Czech Republic as well as various places in the UK including Nottingham's Castle Museum, Leicaster's Haymarket Theatre, the Broughton House Gallery in Cambridge and the Wimpole Hall Gallery. During his years at Leicester University, a dozen exhibitions marked his position as organising staff tutor in art for the Department of Adult Education.
May 17 - June 21, 2013
This is a body of work that until now had served a purpose; but as my search for my biological family has come to fruition I feel that I have reached a plateau and it is now time to change direction with my art.
Much of my previous work dealt with my adoption. I have created a loosely knit body of work in which each creative effort represented a part of myself that pinpointed a state of loss, abandonment, or vulnerable fear, with a hope that it would fulfill a perceived void.
This work is of the past; the old me. For now, to let go of this work is to move forward.
Thoughts of the Mind, Interpretations in Indigo
February 8 - March 22, 2013
Bonnie Smith is a fiber and mixed media artist. Her fiber art work has been featured in many national and international juried exhibitions and publications. Bonnie has been the recipient of the NICHE Award and is a finalist for 2013, besides being juried into Quilt National and 9th Quilt Nihon. She is in love with texture and creating fiber art that flows allowing the eye to appreciate her use of color and design. Bruce Hoffman, formerly Director of the Snyderman Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA describes her work as "simple, powerful, successful: design and craftsmanship working together." All words every artist is waiting to hear.
April 20 - June 1, 2012
Shooting Square: iPhoneography
March 2 – April 13, 2012
“Shooting Square: iPhoneography by Michael Schoenewies” features photography shot and edited through an iPhone. The iPhone and apps such as Instagram have changed photography and enabled people to share photos and build communities worldwide. Michael's photographs encompass urban decay, street photography, and scenic photos including locations from the United States to Canada to Israel.