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Janet Ballweg

The Weight of the World

 

 
 

INTERNAL

LANDSCAPES

 

 

 

 

Works by Graphic Artists

Janet Ballweg,

Kathleen Thum,

and

Kristen Martincic

 

Kathleen Thum

Lining

 
 

Kristen Martincic

Pink Trace

 

NOVEMBER 1 --

DECEMBER 20, 2008

 
 

 

Opening Reception

Saturday, November 1, 2008

6:30-8:30 pm

 

 

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Artists' Statements

 

 

Janet Ballweg

Kathleen Thum

Kristen Martincic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My work investigates human relationships through the use of inanimate objects. Appearing superficially calm on the surface, these domestic scenes slowly transform into a mounting unease as the viewer voyeuristically steps into the midst of an intimate conversation yet finds only silence. In most of the works, the space is set for two, giving a distinct sense of being alone, of engaging someone or something that is not there.

 

What is left to contemplate is the aborted conversation, the miscommunication, the silence, the emptiness of words, the unspoken thoughts. These works are about capturing the tension of that moment. In their state of suspension, the personified objects communicate a sense of waiting and wanting, as well as a mixture of hope and despair; they speak about the expectations, the potential, and the psychological tensions that exist within a particularly decisive moment of time.  The viewer, always arriving too late, can only guess at what has transpired.

 

Common household imagery is used throughout this body of work to create a sense of memory and nostalgia for time past, and an appreciation for the humor, oddity, and mystery that exist within ordinary life. Playing off inherent dualities, these works intertwine past with present, dream with reality, and emotion with logic in an attempt to provide some insight or explanation for what is, was, or might be.

 

I think of my drawings as internal landscapes of our bodies: cells, veins, skin, nerves.  These landscapes are systems that our lives depend upon.  They circulate blood, compress or expand to breathe, filter or cover to protect and carry signals or messages.  They are all inter-related and inter-dependent. I use these systems to construct various structures in my drawings.  Like our internal systems, the structures are linear, flowing, clustered, dense, and intertwined.

In the work, I draw a matrix of lines to represent our skins.  The matrix becomes a transparent membrane that is flexible.  It morphs and changes as our skin does.  It reacts to its surroundings and can be pushed or pulled to form lumps and bumps.  I use groupings of white dots to make a barrier or an edge, which is soft and willing to yield, envelop and grow around other structures.  Color emphasizes areas of tension, heat and sensitivity in the drawings.

The materials and the presentation of my work are as important as the imagery. The immediacy and directness of the medium (gouache and graphite capture the movements of my own body drawing) and the material (a delicate, skin-like, rice paper) echo the content of the work.  By presenting the layered drawings pinned directly to the wall or laid out on a table like a map, the viewer has a more intimate experience with the work. My hope is that the viewer will make an emotive, physical connection to the impermanent, ethereal nature of the pieces.

 

 

The issues of vulnerability and awkwardness are at the core of my work. When creating two-dimensional imagery, I choose processes and materials that emphasize these concerns. I use various printmaking techniques; most often using etching and relief processes. By contrasting the fragility of thin Japanese papers with the physicality and dense ink saturation of etching, I am able to reinforce the emotional tone in my work.

This body of work entitled lay bare, consists of four related pieces that seek to reveal very private, vulnerable moments and emotions. By exploring what typically lies hidden beneath the surface, I strive to expose vulnerabilities, make absence apparent, and push the boundaries of privacy. Garments are used as a metaphor to explore both protection and exposure; the closet as a symbol of ultimate privacy; and hangers as the apparatus for the exterior self. I use these domestic objects in conjunction with dramatic and internally lit installations to reinforce notions of intimacy, emotion, and private space.

 

             
 

Janet Ballweg has been Professor of Art and Head of Printmaking at Bowling Green State University since 1990.  Her M.F.A. was awarded by the University of  Illinois (Champagne-Urbana).  In addition to having exhibited in numerous juried national and international shows, she has work in significant permanent collections throughout the United States, has won numerous prestigious awards, including “Best of Show” at the Toledo Museum of Art (1993), and has been the recipient of the coveted Ohio Arts Council “Indiviudal Excellence Award” (2008).

  Kathleen Thum is Visiting Assistant Professor at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.  She has won numerous awards, fellowships, and grants to pursue her work, has served as artist in residence in Ithaca, NY, Corvallis, OR, and at the Columbus Museum of Art among other venues, and has exhibited broadly in galleries throughout the United States.    Kristen Martincic holds a B.F.A. degree from Bowling Green State University (2000) and an M.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2005).  She has exhibited widely and has won multiple awards for her work, including “Best of Show” in the 48th Annual ArtSpace/Lima Spring Show (2000).  She currently holds a position as Professor in the Fine Arts Studio at Indiana University, Bloomington.  

 

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Images from the Exhibition

 

 

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Janet Ballweg

 

 

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Follow the Truth

10000-Voices

Lying in Wait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

The Farce

The Weight of the World  

Third Eye Watching

 
         

 

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Kathleen Thum

 

 

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    Drip Drop

     
             
 

     

 
 

Lining

     

  System Series Drawing

 
             
 

 
 

BullsEye

 
             
 

 
 

Wallows-5

 
             

 

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Kristen Martincic

 

 

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One Drop

     

Pink Trace

 
             
 

     

 
 

  Long Shadow

     

      Reach

 
             

 

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