Clear Blue Sky
Drawings by Scott Espeseth
August 16 - September 27, 2006
Crater, 2004, graphite on paper, 3 x 4 inches
My recent drawings are idiosyncratic, intimately scaled images derived from personal memories, boyhood fantasies, and the visual environment of my home in the upper Midwest. Carefully drawn in graphite or silverpoint, they are modest in scale, often not much larger than a credit card. Despite their size, they are vivid and dense with information, giving the impression of vast worlds compressed into a tiny field of vision. With their richly rendered, shimmering surfaces, they bring to mind the drawings of Vija Celmins, though they contain an element of humor more reminiscent of a Gary Larson cartoon. This humor stems from their pathos, as the drawings depict a world where the forces of nature have turned against us, making comic props of our material presence on the planet. Images of floods and fires seem silly and naïve, yet are eerily similar to recent pictures from New Orleans or Sumatra. Other drawings represent visions of failed utopian ventures and slightly ridiculous science fiction fantasies of moon colonies and space travel. Mundane domestic spaces become laced with doom and portentous omens while dangers are concealed in fog and hide under blankets. Cumulatively, these drawings express a sense of unease and become metaphors for uncertainty, neglect, disappointment and the failures of contemporary life.
Barbecue, 2004, graphite on paper, 3 1/4 x 4 inches
An artist based in Madison, Wisconsin, Scott Espeseth teaches drawing and printmaking as assistant professor of art at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. He is represented by Dean Jensen Gallery in Milwaukee, and his work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the country, including the Milwaukee Art Museum, the James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in Madison, and the Stray Show of Chicago. Scott previously taught studio art at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned an MFA in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000 and a BFA from West Virginia University in 1997.
The exhibition and artist's lecture are supported by the Jeanne Scribner Cashin Endowment Fund for Fine Arts