Maryville College hosts gallery, open reception for 2011 artist-in-residence
By Wes Wade (email@example.com)
Remodernism. Neo-minimalism. Pseudorealism.
It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the artistic trends and stylistic innovations that come and go and come back again. Remodernist-post-neo-naturalism, anyone?
Now, let me stress that (a) Don’t bother looking any of those terms up, unless you’re that interested, and (b) because it really doesn’t matter. Even contemporary artists can’t keep up with it all.
And perhaps that’s a good thing, as much for them as for everyone else.
“There’s always something going on, of course, but I’m not real involved with any of it,” said Ohio-based painter Mark Giangaspero, who visits Blount County Monday through Friday, March 21-25, as Maryville College’s 2011 artist-in-residence. “I’m a little past the age, certainly, where I’m looking for a style or way of working; so I keep up on it, I read it, I see it when I go to New York (City) or places like that.”
The point is that art is art. It doesn’t really matter what terms balding academics and enigmatic clove-smoking bereted artistes pull from the shadows to try to describe it. It is what it is. You like it, or you don’t.
For Giangaspero, who will speak during an open gallery reception on the Maryville College campus the night of March 25, the art he currently creates is that of the human being as they are or were.
“My main concern is the portrait — the issues of people, of human beings,” Giangaspero said. “I’m not sure what that means always, and that’s what the work is about. So I’m investigating that. I’m going to talk about how work can develop and the different directions it can take — whether you want it to or not.”
Recent work, which often portrays close friends and family members, will be displayed at the event. For his portraits, Giangaspero works chiefly from photographs, using charcoal and pastels in addition to the occasional water color.
“There’ll be several of my wife, who’s a cancer survivor. And I document it, if you will, with her permission of course, and took portraits of her through that process. (There will be) several of my father and mother and so on, who I’ve lost recently ... the hardest part is avoiding the sentimental part, which I don’t enjoy (when) looking at a painting. I don’t want these to be cold images because they meant something to me, but at the same time I’m trying to avoid these sentimentalities.”
In addition to Friday’s reception, Giangaspero will give an artwork cleaning demonstration at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, in Room 218 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Art and Recital Hall. This demonstration is also free and open to the public.
“I haven’t seen the piece yet, so I can’t say what all I’m going to be doing,” Giangaspero said. “Sounds like we’re going to be cleaning it and revarnishing it. I won’t be able to do that entire process in front of everybody because it takes much longer than a few hours or whatever it’s going to be. But (I’ll) especially be talking to the students about handling a work of art in restoration.”
Giangaspero’s longtime friend and colleague Carl Gombert, professor of art at Maryville College, explained that a portion of endowed funds brings an artist-in-residence to campus every year as part of their art program.
“It’s important for us to bring in nationally known artists and different points of view,” Gombert said. “Last year we brought in a print maker, this year we’re bringing in a painter; next year we’re bringing in a ceramicist. So it’s part of our ongoing program.”
So, pointillism? Postmodernism? Meh. Though the current twentieth century art student could tell you all about them, and there’ll probably be plenty to ask at either event, it’s not necessary to enjoy a piece of art. To become fully engaged with an artist’s work — to put it into a context that matters — that process is something else entirely. It probably can’t be defined by adding a simple suffix such as –ism.
Wes Wade has been the arts and entertainment columnist for The Daily
Times Weekend section since August of last year. This will be his last one for a while, as he joins
The Daily Times as a full-time reporter. We wish him luck as our colleague. You can contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)