Exhibition Schedule - Fall 1998

August 24 - October 14 Fourth Biennial Alumni Exhibition 
Formulation: Articulation  
A Double Portfolio of Prints  
by Josef Albers
October 22 - December 11
 Text(ure)s of Memory:
Paintings, Drawings, and Prints 
by Obiora Udechukwu
Student Works
Fourth Biennial Alumni Exhibition   This exhibition is actually a collaboration between four artists and the art department.  It has been designed to help our current students and the University community better understand this activity we call "art-making."  More than a show of techniques or formal issues, this exhibition is about work and play, about commitment and passion, and it is about how four individuals have each made their own art-making into a way of life.  I hope that everyone who views the exhibition will also attend the gallery talks.  These presentations will allow the artists to define their major experiences related to art since graduation and to make the connections between their art and their lives. 
- Roger Bailey 
Professor of Fine Arts 
Blaylock Peppard 
Blaylock Peppard graduated from St. Lawrence in 1975, and attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, Hoffberger School of Painting, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree.  He has been living and working in NYC and in 1990-91 received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in painting, sharing this experience with his wife JoAnne '75, a bio-tech advertising executive, and young son Indigo.  In 1993 they bought an old farmhouse in Pennsylvania and have been spending as much time there as possible, working, dreaming, and keeping bees. 
Blaylock Peppard, untitled, 1992-93, 
oil and wax emulsion, 28 x 34 in. 

Creating imagery is a curious thing.  I can't begin to explain it.  I find it painful much of the time, and a grand world in which to live.  Early on, it seems that my work was informed by the currents and concerns of the art world.  Youthful issues of recognition, comparison, and acceptance inflected my output.  In more recent years, even more youthful and hopefully wiser forces have punctuated my work.  The attempt to simply make a picture, like the line of an unspoken poem, humbles me.  Lately I have felt more than at any other time images slipping into place.  "Look," "think," "make" in any order and sometimes the act of "seeing" is revealed.  

Bobbie Bush 
After graduating from St. Lawrence in 1984, Bobbie Bush worked a few years in art galleries and was persuaded by her family in 1986 to get a Master's degree in business and a "real job."  For the next several years, she embarked on a corporate track while pursuing photography as a hobby.  As her interest in photography grew, interest in her "career" declined rapidly.  When she realized that her job was getting in the way of her photography, she knew she had to make some serious changes.  In mid-1996, she cut her corporate ties to begin life as "a starving artist and struggling photographer."  Two years later, she writes, "I have a terrific studio and the beginning signs of survival as a self-supporting photographer." 
Bobbie Bush, Playa Bonita, 1995, Polaroid on linen, 3 x 4 in.
I seek to take the photographic image beyond the traditional print.  Always looking to go the next step, I regularly experiment with a number of alternative processes -- hand-tinting, hand-applied emulsions, Polaroid transfers, black-and-white infrared film, and capturing images with plastic toy cameras.  Composition is an important element in my work, whether consciously or spontaneously captured in the frame.  Subject matter, for me, is always secondary to composition and the two-dimensional design elements such as shape, texture, light, and shadow.  Choice of subject matter varies with the tools and medium of expression.  I find that landscapes work well with the black-and-white infrared film, while the plastic camera lends itself to highly spontaneous hip shots of people.  
Kristin Landau 
Since graduating from St. Lawrence in 1978, Kristin Landau has managed to maintain a studio of some sort, no matter how small.  She is now active in a local artists' group and shows her work locally.  Landau returned to school and received a Master of Art in Teaching degree from Manhattanville College in 1997, and she currently teaches art part-time in a public school. 
Kristin Landau, Prima Donna, 1996,
acrylic on canvas, 50 x 28 in.

I constantly seek the "common thread" which ties my work together.  My work is mostly about joining parts together to form a whole, unified image.  I enjoy taking a piece from here and a piece from there to create a new visual experience.  At times this is done with content in mind, and at other times it is purely visual.  I see the body of work as one constant process, a process that involves the evolution of ideas and materials.  As part of that process it is important for me to experiment.  I am not afraid to jump ahead or get side-tracked, because in the end I somehow bring something new back to the beginning.  

Jane Lincoln 
Jane Lockwood Lincoln entered St. Lawrence University the first year studio fine arts was offered as a major and spent four years in brand new facilities.  After graduating in 1972, she worked for newspapers and moved to Cape Cod in 1973.  She continued her creative study, enrolling in the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown (begun by Charles Hawthorne in 1899 and devoted to the study of color outdoors).  Her work has developed into colorful landscapes in pastels.  Lincoln has received over fifty awards and had thirteen one-person shows.  In addition, she has been featured in American Artist, is a member of the Pastel Society of America, and is listed in Art in America.  She is represented by the Jacob-Fanning Gallery in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and The Market Barn Gallery in Falmouth, Massachusetts. 
Jane Lincoln, Gold Across the Marsh, 1998, 
pastel on paper, 18 1/4 x 22 1/2 in.

Color is my primary motivation for creating.  I combine this with my love of nature to depict Cape Cod landscapes.  I strive to go beyond the mere depiction of the scene to reach a statement based on the specific color and light that inspired me.  Pastels provide the immediacy, sensitivity, and variety of color which work best for me.  Each year I concentrate my work on a particular aspect discovered on location painting.  These have included notes of color, curves, pools, and fields.  
I prefer my exhibitions to be unified with these elements.  My attitude toward my work is always to be a student, exploring new subjects and media and remaining fresh for inspiration.  

Additional funding for the exhibition and related educational programs is provided by the Jeanne Scribner Cashin Endowment for Fine Arts. 

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Formulation: Articulation by Josef Albers 
  • August 24 - October 14, 1998 
Josef Albers, Folder 18, from Formulation: Articulation, 1972, 
screen print, 159/1000, SLU 85.201.18

Albers began his lifelong interest in education with his training as an art teacher in 1913 at the Königliche Kunstschule in Berlin, Germany.  Seven years later, he began studies at the Bauhaus in Weimar.  The Bauhaus School, founded by architect Walter Gropius in 1919, sought to integrate art and technology, recognizing no difference between the roles of artist and artisan.  There, Albers' talents were quickly recognized, and he was one of the first students selected to become an instructor.  From the time he became affiliated with the Bauhaus, Albers ceased to create figurative works of art other than photographs.  Most well-known as a printmaker, he also created glass assemblages, collages, and oil paintings, and designed functional objects such as tea glasses, bookshelves, tables, and chairs. 

In 1933, the faculty of the Bauhaus closed the school under increasing harassment from Nazi functionaries.  That same year, Albers was invited to the United States to teach at the newly founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina.  At Black Mountain, a progressive and experimental curriculum emphasized the importance of the arts in culture and education.  Albers described his goal, "We want a student who sees art as neither a beauty shop nor imitation of nature, as more than embellishment and entertainment; but as a spiritual documentation of life; and who sees that real art is essential life and essential life is art." 

Albers remained at Black Mountain until 1949 and subsequently joined the Department of Design at Yale University, where he taught until 1960.  During his years at Yale he published Interaction of Color, an important text investigating the properties of color, and worked on Homage to the Square, a series of over one thousand paintings examining color relationships through the depiction of nested squares of color.  Homage was left unfinished at his death in 1976. 

These prints are from the double portfolio Formulation: Articulation, a gift made possible by Gary Fish through the Ackerman Foundation in 1985.  Published in 1973, the portfolios include 127 screenprints, representating concepts developed by Albers concerning color and form. 

-Carole Mathey, Collections Manager, 
and Cristianne McKenna '99
The concept of this publication is the realization rather than the reproduction of the essential ideas in Josef Albers' works.   It is our intention to show the artist's methods of formulating his ideas and thus demonstrate the manifold potentials in his unique concern for color and formal relations, rather than to reproduce selected paintings from special collections.  We have tried to show how he has continually worked in series; for example, in one folder the same image will be developed several times, the only difference being that the same color (or similar colors) is distributed in different quantities and therefore assumes new characteristics.  Or, in another folder, we will consider the visual dialogue between versions of the same painting in the same hue: reds, greens, grays. 

Works have been selected from forty years of Albers' search and offer an unusual opportunity for study of this significant artist's direct participation in an original development of his own work.  The conceptual relationships between color and form inherent in each particular work have been restudied and developed for the medium of screenprinting.  This medium has made possible the maximum control of Albers' color interactions.  

Finally, in Josef Albers' own words:  "Our aim is not a retrospective report; the book aims at Art itself, meaning: no retrospective in the usual sense.  These are visual realizations here presented outspoken in silkscreen."  

- Norman Ives and Sewell Sillman 
From the preface to Formulation: Articulation
Research sources: 
Josef Albers and François Bucher, Despite Straight Lines, revised edition, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1977. 
Mary Emma Harris, "Josef Albers: Art Education at Black Mountain College," in Josef Albers: A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1988. 
Harris, The Arts at Black Mountain, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, ca. 1987. 
Nicholas Fox Weber et al., Josef Albers: A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1988. 
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Textures of Memory: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints by Obiora Udechukwu 

Prior to coming to St. Lawrence, Obiora Udechukwu was Professor of Drawing and Painting at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he received his B.A. and M.F.A. in painting in 1972 and 1977, respectively.  Internationally known, Udechukwu has exhibited in many countries including Nigeria, Britain, Austria, India, Cuba, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany, Zimbabwe, and the United States.  Most recently his paintings, drawings, and prints were included in the group exhibition The Poetics of Line: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group held at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC from October 1997 to April 1998. 

From 1997 through 1999, Udechukwu is the Distinguished Visiting Dana Professor of Fine Arts at St. Lawrence University.  As artist and art historian, he has incorporated his creative and scholarly endeavors into courses in both areas of the department, teaching Mural Making, Contemporary Nigerian Art, and Uli Drawing.  Mural Making is an introductory course in which students work collaboratively utilizing various techniques of painting and mosaics to design large-scale public works of art.  The Uli Drawing course emphasizes the formal and iconographic aspects of Igbo body painting and murals.  Contemporary Nigerian Art is a survey of colonial and post-colonial periods and addresses such issues as multiculturalism, cultural nationalism, and internationalism.  Udechukwu also gives occasional lectures, seminars, and readings of his poetry at St. Lawrence and across the country.  The exhibition at the Brush Art Gallery also includes in the hallway gallery examples of student works derived from the themes and issues examined in Udechukwu's classes. 

As one of the leading figures of the Nsukka School, Udechukwu is influenced primarily by uli body painting and murals, as well as nsibidi scripts which derive from the Ejagham group and are associated with men's secret societies.  There is a broad thematic range in Udechukwu's work dealing with folklore, landscape, portraiture, music, and literature.  However, socio-political issues are significant to the artist, as reflected in his concern with "man's responsibility for action, the effect of action, and the burden of the effect of action."   His work often deals with the cruelty of contemporary society and its apathy toward the struggles of the poor and weak.  Common subjects range from nightsoilmen, refugees, and mothers, to the relationships between those in power and the subjugated masses. 

Udechukwu's work often stems from first-hand experiences of genocide and war-related suffering, hunger, and air raids.  Significantly, it reflects a traditional Igbo saying, "Not to speak out is the bane of the mouth, not to listen is the bane of the ear."  His work attempts to expose societal injustices, as seen in the etching Chameleon, which depicts three figures in the foreground who represent the three main politically influential ethnic groups in Nigeria.  Like the politicians' willingness to change their beliefs and actions abruptly, so does the reptile's skin change colors. 

An analysis of Igbo drawing and painting reveals that space, line, pattern, brevity, and spontaneity seem to be the pillars on which the whole tradition rests.  It is these same qualities that I strive, both intuitively and intellectually, to assimilate in my work. 

Haiku poems by Obiora Udechukwu 

Portraits and Landscapes 

Maru the Mad 
Has gone for a walk 
Our hill is now littered 
With pellets of goat shit 

It is fall season 
Thousands of miles from Lagos 
How fares my country? 

This expanse of green 
Basking in the noonday sun 
How cold will winter? 

The maples are stripping 
It is autumn in Canton 
Farewell Nsukka 

Bushy-tailed squirrels 
Trees undressing in the yard 
Farewell to summer 

The exhibition and related educational programs are funded in part by the Gallery's Barnes Endowment and by the Cashin Endowment for Fine Arts. Special thanks to Cristianne McKenna '99 and Alison Loucks '00 for research assistance and to Sharon and Larry Adams, Simon Ottenberg, Janet Stanley, and the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, for lending works to the exhibition. 

Research source: 
Udechukwu, Obiora.  "Of Nightsoilmen, Refugees, and Politicians: Or Peculiar Situations, Peculiar Responses."  Conference paper for The Nsukka Group and the State of Nigerian Contemporary Art,  National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1997. 

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Student Works 

  • October 22 - December 11, 1998
Todd Matte, Creation, n.d., ink wash on paper
An exhibition in the hallway gallery of works by students in Obiora Udechukwu's classes in drawing and mural painting. 
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Gallery Hours 
Monday-Thursday 12-8 p.m. 
Friday-Saturday 12-5 p.m. 

All exhibitions and related educational programs are free and open to the public.  The Gallery welcomes individuals and groups for guided tours; please call (315) 229-5174 for information. The Gallery will be closed October 15-18 for mid-semester break and November 21-29 for Thanksgiving. 
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