Fall 1999 Exhibition Schedule

August 23 -
September 15
1999 Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition
August 23 -
October 13
The Road to Roswell:
UFO Pilgrimage Photographs
by Bob DeBris
September 22 -
October 13
The Sublime and the Ridiculous:
Sculptures by Max Coots

Lance Myler:
He Quilts

October 21 -
December 10
Reconsidering Nature:
Frank Owen/Amanda Means

1999 Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition

The fine arts faculty present their work in the Gallery every other fall semester in such media as photography, drawing, painting, and sculpture. The current exhibition is organized by Roger Bailey, professor and chair of the department. Three of the artists have provided statements about their work, as follows:

Roger Bailey, Searching for Grace and Beauty,
1999, digital photograph, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches

Roger Bailey
The work I am presenting here was play. I enjoyed every stage of creating it. In some ways this work is an example of the gap between the body and the mind. I began using the digital camera to make a photographic record of parts of my face. These images said something about how my particular face appeared from a particular camera angle in a particular light. As purely sensuous impressions, these images captured some sense of the real world, but they were rather unremarkable documents. Then I became involved in the surprising and exciting act of translating those images, through intuition and reflection, into another state of existence. I made minor adjustments to the images in the computer and then printed each image twice: once on photographic paper and once on transparency film. By using the collage techniques of cutting, pasting, and layering, I created new forms that engaged my mind, and hopefully the mind of the viewer as well, in play, illusion, abstraction, and expression.

- RB

J. Michael Lowe, Flat Fold,
copper, 37 x 24 x 1 inches

J. Michael Lowe
I am a sculptor/designer. I make objects, which for want of a better term, are called sculpture. I believe they are devoid of any social or political content; my focus is the object. I am concerned with composition, form, space, line, texture, color, craftsmanship, and presentation, to mention but a few factors of construction. The works in this exhibition represent some recent efforts working in various metals, including copper, aluminum, and steel. I hope you will find my contribution to this faculty exhibition interesting, challenging, and thought-provoking. Your comments are always welcome.


Faye A. Serio, A Bruges Vision,
digital image, 7 7/8 x 10 1/8 in.

Faye A. Serio
For me, photography has changed from a method of reproducing what the eye sees to a means of re-creating or re-presenting what the subject expresses. Using 35mm slides or negatives as stepping stones, I experiment with various techniques and materials to discover original ways to interpret each subject. Because of the methods and the types of paper used, all the images (except for the digital ones) are unique; unlike images in regular photography, they cannot be reproduced. Images for the Lampson Falls series began as slides. I exposed each onto color Polaroid film, heated the Polaroid film until the emulsion (the actual image) was jelly-like, and then pulled it off its backing and placed it onto watercolor paper. I created waves and ripples by wrinkling and moving the image. Images from Acoma Pueblo and Taos began as photographs. I coated canvas with primer, painted it with light-sensitive emulsion, and exposed and developed it as I would regular photographic paper. The rough texture of the canvas resembles the rough texture of the pueblo walls. I hand-painted the images from Giverny, France—Monet's home. I intermingled and framed color with black and white to place emphasis on portions of the subject. The digital images began as color prints. I scanned several photographs and then manipulated them on the computer to create each final image. The techniques I used included overlapping, layering, warping, altering color, and using transparencies. I printed the final images on watercolor paper.


Guy Berard

Guy Berard, Bottom Feeders, 1999,
acrylic on paper, 30 x 22 inches

Linda Strauss

Linda Strauss, Tilted Shed, 1997,
photograph with hand drawing, 20 x 16 inches

Obiora Udechukwu

Obiora Udechukwu, In the Beginning (detail),
1998, acrylic and pencil on canvas,
36 x 24 inches

top of page

The Road to Roswell:
UFO Pilgrimage Photographs by Bob DeBris

  • August 23 - October 13, 1999
Bob Debris, Alien Commerce, Alien Expo,
Roswell, New Mexico, 1998, C print, 15 x 15 inches

Bob DeBris photographs "not only the events surrounding [the annual Roswell] UFO Encounter Festival, but also…strange and curious encounters—odd new realities made possible by mass culture, [including] the extraterrestrial image in advertising, space-themed diners, oddities and freak images, and [our] fascination with science fiction."

- Michael J. Riley, Ph.D., Roswell Museum and Art Center, NM

Obsessed with Obsessions
Bob DeBris is drawn to the odd, quirky, and often downright bizarre things that Americans find themselves obsessed with—"historic" sites, "museums," festivals, and other famous or not-so-famous roadside attractions devoted to the obscure or the offbeat. Recent subjects include the Smoky Bear Museum in Capitan, New Mexico ("Have you seen the stained glass window at their café?"), a field of giant concrete corn cobs in Ohio, and the now defunct Enigma Museum in Roswell, New Mexico which featured "The Roswell Room." Bob also loves western stuff and has photographed the Bob Wills Museum in Turkey, Texas, and the Gene Autry Museum in Gene Autry, Oklahoma. ("He visited there once, y'know.") One body of work is entitled "Monumenta Mobilia" depicting temporal "big, ridiculous things." He has also photographed 2nd-string wrestlers and famous old strippers who live in Exotic World in the Mojave Desert. His "Palace of Love"—a "1950s canned ham-profile trailer" with Spanish architectural exterior and pink Sistine Chapel interior—is used to photograph newlyweds.

Q: "Why do you photograph this stuff?" A: "God only knows, people have passions."

Special thanks to Todd Matte '01 and Kirsha Frye '00 for wrangling with several paintbrush- and pizza-wielding minors: Emily Cania, Irene Carroll, Tosh ("I am GREAT at aliens!") Cornwell, Jessa Davis, Mary Davis, Kate Harloe, Ariana Hernandez, Willie Kahn, Caleb Whalen, and Nathan Whalen.

- Catherine Tedford and Carole Mathey

top of page

The Sublime and the Ridiculous:
Sculptures by Max Coots

Max Coots, Man with Head in His Hands,
1995, ceramic, 9 x 8 x 13 inches

Max Coots is probably best known for having been the Minister of the Canton Unitarian Universalist Church for 34 years from 1958 to 1992. Some may also know him from his published writings or from the years he was adjunct professor of sociology at Clarkson University. His sculptures may come as a surprise. Since retirement, he has been auditing sculpture, ceramics, and printmaking courses at St. Lawrence University under Michael Lowe and Roger Bailey. The artist writes:

My work is really play, and the exhibition title is quite apt. It reflects the whimsy, the playfulness, the seriousness, and the grotesqueness of one who comes to art-making late in life. There is a freedom in my sculptures to the extent that I am not building a career, an artistic reputation, nor defining myself by what I do. All that is in my professional past. My amateur present and the resulting "works" are, though I take the pieces and processes seriously, a romp with assorted materials, subjects, and moods, which, as you can see, are sometimes sublime, often ridiculous, and often flawed. I hope the viewer can be as relaxed about what they see as I was in the making.

- Max Coots

top of page

Lance Myler: He Quilts

Lance Myler, Halloween, 1999, quilted fabric

The first time I met Lance Myler, he played one of Bach's "Preludes" on a 692-pipe organ that fills every square inch of the sunroom in his Victorian home in Potsdam, NY. Half a dozen children ranging from one to 15 years old careened in and out of the house, spraying several beautifully tended flower gardens, two cars, and each other with a hose. The older kids tended to the younger ones while Lance's wife Candy prepared dinner and juggled one of two little boys covered with pink spots on her hip. "You've had chicken pox already, right?" I wasn't exactly sure.

Having moved to northern New York a year ago, Lance teaches biology and chemistry at Canton College. He also sews gorgeous quilts. When we met, he pulled out dozens of them, scattering them on the floor and describing the hand sewing and machine techniques he incorporates—appliqué, tatting, marbleizing, crocheting, and knitting, among others. Some of the quilts were worn and faded with use and laundering. The smallest child crawled all over everything, oblivious to his father's careful needlework.

Each quilt had a story. An early quilt was pieced together from Candy's bridesmaids' dresses—red satin and dark green lace. In 1998, his "Easter Eggs" quilt won a blue ribbon at the local county fair and later went on the win first prize at the Michigan State Fair. That afternoon, Lance showed me a new quilt that he was working on, "Halloween." After our meeting, I was inspired by the artist's desire to create and give structure and meaning to a sometimes chaotic world.

- Catherine Tedford

top of page 

Reconsidering Nature: Frank Owen/Amanda Means
A two-person exhibition curated by Nathan Farb

Art, like politics, is always local. Amanda Means and Frank Owen have both spent significant parts of their careers working in the Adirondacks, and this exhibition explores how both have taken the nature of the region to heart and into their studios. Each artist, through dramatically different methodologies and sometimes with dramatically different motivations, pursues, like a particle physicist, clues to the secrets of the universe. With varying and often changing degrees of intuition and intellect, both artists have invented specific methodologies and techniques to move their work and their discovery forward.

Amanda Means probes the very relationship between light and life itself. In her photographs, the subject appears to give birth and die at one and the same time.

Frank Owen examines the nature of cognition and knowledge. In his paintings, space and object simultaneously move forward and recede, while the material coalesces into order and concurrently disintegrates into chaos.

These are two artists with whom I have had wonderfully supportive friendships. They have influenced me, and each has altered the course of my work. To paraphrase Picasso, I respect those who I can steal from.

Amanda Means and Frank Owen are dedicated and serious contributors to the art world. It is our good fortune that they have been attracted to and work in the North Country. It has been a pleasure to curate this exhibition that I am sure will challenge, excite, and stimulate the St. Lawrence community.

- Nathan Farb

Amanda Means has been working in the field of photography for 20 years. She received a B.S. from Cornell University and a M.F.A. in photography from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. She has exhibited in numerous group and one-person shows in the United States, Canada, and England. Her work is in private, corporate, and museum collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Museum of Photography, Film, and Television in Bradford, England; and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. She has taught at the New School for Social Research, NYC; the International Center of Photography, NYC; and SUNY Plattsburgh. She is a professional black-and-white printer specializing in large photographs up to 50x60 inches. Her clients have included Robert Mapplethorpe and the Smithsonian Institution. She is a contributing editor for BOMB Magazine, a New York-based quarterly on culture. Her work is represented by Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York City.

Frank Owen received both his B.A. and his M.A. from the University of California at Davis. His work has been shown in dozens of in solo and group exhibitions across the country and is included in such museum collections as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and the Fredrick R. Weisman Foundation of Art, Los Angeles, CA. He has taught at the University of Vermont in Burlington since 1992 and has been a visiting artist/lecturer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Frank Owen received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1978-79 and in 1989-90; more recently, he received a faculty development grant from UVM in 1993-94. His work is represented by Nancy Hoffman Gallery in NYC.

Amanda Means, Hyacinth 2, 1998,
gelatin silver print, 60 x 50 inches

Memory of Loss
I grew up in a rural environment, close to nature, observing the changes of seasons and weather, the changes of light on the fields and in the woods. I remember walking through our apple orchards in spring, the tress full of blossoms, the hum of bees, the warmth of the sun.

Our cobblestone farmhouse, built in the early 1880s, was constructed with small palm-sized stones naturally created by water from the shores of Lake Ontario. One hundred acres of apple trees surrounded it. The farm was in a rich agricultural area of Dutch farmers, a strip of land on the south shore of the lake, near the small town of Marion, New York. The area was a fruit belt of apple, peach, and cherry trees. In addition, there were areas with rich black soil good for growing celery, lettuce, cabbage, and carrots. Dairy farms were numerous. Over the years, our orchards were turned into pastures for dairy cattle. My sensibility as an artist is woven from a deep connection to this childhood on the farm. I slept in a tree house in summer and spent a great deal of time alone in the fields and woods. I built small nature worship shrines of sticks, mud, and stones.

Small farms cannot survive today. This is an era of agribusiness. In my childhood, farms were controlled and operated by one family. Enormous barns, empty and decaying relics of this time gone by, are scattered throughout the countryside in upstate New York.

I move to New York City to study art.
We lose our family farm.
My father dies.

As an art student, I loved the biomorphic paintings of Gorky, Pollock, and de Kooning, the early works of Rothko and Newman, and the paint-charged vista of surface, light, and color of Abstract Expressionism. The move to the largely man-made urban environment of New York City intensified my sense of loss of nature. My photographs of vegetation – plant forms and flowers – are a metaphor of this sense of bereavement.

I do not photograph these forms with a camera. The photographs are made placing a flower in the head of an enlarger. Light passes through both the flower and the lens to the paper surface. This is a different kind of light than the reflected light used by cameras containing film. The light of my photographs seems to emanate from the image itself, in much the same way as the light that comes from within the accumulations of paint in a painting.

- Amanda Means

Frank Owen, Floor of the Forest (detail), 1990,
acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 102" x 25'

Paintings by Frank Owen
Barnett Newman once said, "When a painter wants to try something new, he turns to black and white." In this exhibition are some of my "black and white" paintings. They are instances where I have explored some new aspect of making. The resulting works are characterized by a limited palette, a degree of didacticism, and a poetic that is sometimes stern, dark, and severe. After an exhibition in a commercial gallery, I am usually left with one or two of these "tough" pieces. They return to the studio to be pondered. It is from my holdings of these works that the Brush Art Gallery's exhibition is made, providing a wonderful opportunity for me to see a number of them together in a context dedicated to teaching and learning. Yet I anticipate learning the largest lesson.

My paintings are matrices of visual and physical events that occur in layers and varying scales, utilizing juxtapositions and overlays of painted and photographic images. A dependence upon an inquisitive, discursive collecting impulse involves making thousands of photographs and photocopies from multiple sources, excavating from information fields such as natural science, art history, science and technology, political history, and architecture. In many instances, these findings accumulate and build for years before precipitating into paintings. When that happens, the works occupy dense pictorial spaces that owe much to the influence of Abstract Expressionists upon my early development. These artists established a definition of painting that collects and represents fragmentary experience in a pictorial field similar to the way a mesh sieve collects and presents fragments of matter.

In the exhibition are three paintings with eccentric yet integral frames. The imagery includes fragments of halftone reproductions derived from books, magazines, technical journals, and catalogs. What interests me is accounting in some small way for the flood and flux of all of the print images I have been fascinated by since my earliest years. The other two large paintings, Pendulum and Corona/Carone, are a continuation of my attempts since 1971 to create a kind of abstract baroque pictorial space constructed of mark and image that come together in an imaginary depth possessing the verity of a photograph's finish.

The largest work in the exhibition, Floor of the Forest, 1990, was a response to the regional uproar that ensued following the publication of the recommendations of the Cuomo administration's 21st Century Commission on the Adirondacks. I covered the events of 1989-90 like a reporter, attending and photographing the meetings, conferences, rallies, protests, and hearings of all parties. The intention was twofold: to get me out of the studio and into the world and to set me in pursuit of a mutant species of socio-political Adirondack landscape painting to augment traditional "views" of the region.

- Frank Owen

top of page  

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.

Gallery hours
Friday and Saturday
12-8 p.m.
12-5 p.m.

top of page

Exhibitions | Permanent Collection | Educational Programs 
Student Opportunities | Course-Related Projects
Contact Us! | Gallery Info | Gallery Home

© SLU, 2/3/98
Designed and maintained by:  Carole Mathey  
St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York  
Last updated: Monday, May 14, 2001