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Eastern Connecticut State University

Transfiguration

Installation

Reception

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Date of Show: October 14 - December 16, 2004

Curated by: Marion M. Callis

Artists:

  • Eda Easton
  • Laura Elkins
  • Mary-Beth Gregg
  • Joni Sternbach
  • Luigino Valentin
  • Tim Wilson

 

The figure is the oldest subject in visual art, appearing perhaps first on the walls of the Lascaux caves 17,000 years ago. It remains our primary link with the classic disciplines, yet it's potency and relevance have not waned - the figure as a motive for an art idea is arguably the most loaded subject of all. Unlike other potential subjects from our experience, the figure is us - and thereby capable of a far wider range of form and meaning than any other subject.

The artists of Tranfiguration are well acquainted with the figure as a compulsive subject - it has, after all, held its postion as an academic exercise and a measure of artistic mastery for centuries. But beyond practical matters is it's capacity for expression - we give to it, and recognize in it, our memories, desires, energy, ecstasy, humility, ethos and pathos. In Transfiguration, Eda Easton explores the psyche and the physical body as they affect one another, and the transformative quality of the exchange. Laura Elkins' self portraits present the figure as a metaphor for political battlegrounds in two series, Stop Work and First Ladies. Mary-Beth Gregg's preternatural figures embody emotion and instinct with such frankness the viewer is unsure whether to embrace, or run from them. The immediate allure of Joni Sternbach's Silhouette series lies in it's apparent formal familiarity, but we quickly discover that the images and our expectaions have been tampered with. Luigino Valentin finds an enigma in the quotidian by intensly delicate observation, ultimately exposing more details of our own psychology than of the scene being played out. Tim Wilson populates narratives with abandoned toys to revisit a childhood paradise, evoking irony and nostalgia for personal histories, however revised.

The newly minted images of the figure in Transfiguration are histories without boundaries, as are the figures in ancient cave images - they are us, then, now, and tomorrow.

Marion M. Callis
October 2004