Play: An Iconography Of Sport
The Mueller Art Gallery at Caldwell University presents:
PLAY: AN ICONOGRAPHY OF SPORT
Tom Berenz, Sara Douglas, Robert Otto Epstein, Jason Stopa, Clintel Steed, Barbara Friedman, Lee Goreas, James Prez, Jennifer Watson, Lisa Young
Mon. Sept 10 – Tues. October 9, 2018
Artist’s Talk: Wed. September 12, 5-6 pm
Opening Reception: Wed. Sept. 12, 6-8 pm
Gallery hours: Mon-Sat
10 am – 4 pm
This event is free and open to public.
PLAY: AN ICONOGRAPHY OF SPORT brings together ten contemporary local, national and international artists who use images of sports in their work to speak about a variety of issues. Depictions of players engaged in sports and its attendant trappings, baseball cards, and tennis courts are used by the artists as metaphors for speaking about a range of political, social, philosophical, and spiritual concerns.
Tom Berenz, Backyard Football
Tom Berenz uses the chaos of the game as a metaphor to discuss personal, sociopolitical, environmental and ideological issues. Through the motif of confusion, he explores the existential self and examines personal narratives, with some being more literal and others more enigmatic. Notions of loss, place, memory, space and time are central to his work.
Sara Douglas, The Game
Sara Douglas’ own training was as a dancer rather than an as athlete. Because of this, her attraction to a particular sport has often begun with an appreciation of its aesthetics rather than a thorough understanding of its rules and history. What strikes Douglas about soccer from observing the game is its strange abstract quality and how even as the players are focused on the metrics of the matches, on scores, plays and minutes left on the clock, their physical movements and facial expressions suggested an almost transcendent experience, a kind of transfiguration brought about by the physical and mental exertion that the sport demands.
Robert Otto Epstein, Baseball Card Series
Robert Otto Epstein‘s baseball card painting series represents his interest in language and symbols—how a signifier both represents and takes precedence over the meaning of its subject. Batting and fielding stances are reduced to simple forms. Epstein pulls from a nostalgic past as he renders familiar “collectable” objects into deconstructed visual fields.
Barbara Friedman, Thirty Love
Barbara Friedman’s tennis court paintings speak about loss.There is an air of denial and defeat in Friedman’s tennis-court paintings that connect to Vittorio de Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. The images she most remembers from that film depict a wealthy Jewish family in late-1930’s Italy enjoying tennis on their private court oblivious to the threats around them. In the end, the family faces a fascist court and are shipped to concentration camps.
Lee Goreas, Par National (Lost &Found)
Lee Goreas posits his position to both high and low culture, through objects and images related to the subjects of leisure and sport. He is interested in the rituals, laws and rules that govern them, the physical environments they take place within and the specific paraphernalia and objects used in their agency, not as ends into themselves but as complex systems of signs and symbols of desire, power and embodied perception.
James Prez, John L. Sullivan
James Prez’s silhouettes of baseball players present the player in action — throwing a pitch or swinging a bat. Much is made of the childlike in contemporary art, which seems dominated by cartoon characters and other forms of kitsch, but what is truly childlike is the combination of playfulness and obsession that cuts to the root of the imagination. And to come across a work that accomplishes that, as Prez’s vulnerably artless ballplayer icons do, is both startling and poignant.
Clintel Steed, Runners #4
Clintel Steed makes thickly encrusted, expressionistic paintings that are about the explosion of an image and the impact that it makes. Steed is inspired by how the Olympics challenge the human mind and spirit when he makes his paintings of divers and runners.
Jason Stopa, Foul Play II
Jason Stopa uses iconic imagery from sports including fields, nets, and goals as a means to explore formal possibilities. The resulting works feature layered patterns with optical effects. His surfaces alternate between thinly brushed oil paint and heavy impasto.
Jennifer Watson, The Sweet Spot
Jennifer Watson’s tennis paintings involve the juxtaposition of a sport where women are powerful yet perform in a space dictated by rules of the game but also those of fashion and “beauty”. These works correlate to a culture in where women are in environments that bind and constrict under the guise of “performing.” The paintings bear Watson’s distinct handling – obsessive attention to details like hair, glassy, thin applications of precise paint handling, and the subtle use of modulated color with a candy-pop appeal to the flat, bright color.
Lisa Young, Drives
Lisa Young loves watching televised golf for its quiet sonic landscape, the abstract trajectories the ball makes on the grass or against the sky, the tension of the putting green, and the feeling of gravity-defying joy she experiences when the ball is airborne. Through repositioning elements of the game, golf-as-subject becomes a metaphor for looking at aspects of studio practice, highlighting the marginal and the overlooked, questioning success/failure binaries, and investigating the incomplete and transitory qualities of the sublime.