Making It in the Midwest: Artists Who Chose to Stay

June 20 - October 18, 2009



 

Wall labels and selected images for contemporary artists in the exhibition

(Each artist has a panel and these pieces will be grouped for each artist)
 
Stand
Matthew Davey
2009
Oil on canvas
 
Relax for the Moment
India Cruse-Griffin
2007
Mixed media on board
 
The Passion Keeper
India Cruse-Griffin
2007
Mixed media on board
 
Bare Naked Ladies
Rob Day
1999
Oil on paper
 
Founding Fathers
Rob Day
1999
Oil on paper
 
Portrait of John Mayer
Rob Day
2007
Oil on paper
 
Lighting Up the Cosmos
James Wille Faust
2002
Acrylic on canvas
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. John Rapp
 
Earthly Arrangement
James Wille Faust
1998
Acrylic on canvas
 
Frozen Lake
Tamar Kander
2006
Mixed media on canvas
Collection of Jenna Walls
 
Cherry Blossom Season
Tamar Kander
2007
Mixed media on canvas
Collection of Clayton Miller
 
Rows of Snow
Tom Keesee
2008
Oil on canvas
 
Spring Color
Tom Keesee
2008
Oil on canvas
 
Sun and Shadow
Tom Keesee
1999
Oil on canvas
Collection of Kristin and Peter Mohlman
 
Sciscoe Creek, 10/24/07
Charlene Marsh
2007
Oil on canvas
Collection of Pamela and Richard Sheets
 
Sciscoe Creek, 6/30/08
Charlene Marsh
2008
Oil on canvas
Collection of John and Lisa Scully
 
Sciscoe Creek, 5/2/08
Charlene Marsh
2008
Oil on canvas
Collection of Raymond Polstra
 
Sciscoe Creek, 1/9/09
Charlene Marsh
2009
Oil on canvas
Collection of Peter Witteveld
 
Fallen Angels
Charlene Marsh
1996
Hand-dyed wool and cotton
 
Iconic Bracelet No. 5
David Morrison
2007
Lithograph and mezzotint
 
Iconic Bracelet No. 4
David Morrison
2007
Lithograph, nose ring
 
Iconic Bracelet No. 10
David Morrison
2007
Lithograph, bracelet
 
Boat with Blue Stripes, Gozzo Ligure De Tillin, Santa Margherita Ligure
C.W. Mundy
1996
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. John Rapp
 
Portrait of Anne
C.W. Mundy
2006
Oil on canvas
 
The White Peonies
C.W. Mundy
2002
Oil on canvas
Collection of Emily A. West
 
Baby, Inch Beach, County Dingle
Cindy O'Dell
2006
Color ink jet print
 
Sisters, Valencia Island, County Kerry
Cindy O'Dell
2006
Color ink jet print
 
Mother, Father, Son, Achill Island
Cindy O'Dell
2006
Color ink jet print
 
The Legacy of Three Girls Murdered
Jay Parnell
2007
Oil on canvas
Collection of Alan Mills.
 
Messenger's Lament
Jay Parnell
2007
Graphite on paper
Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites
 
The Secret Lives of Anna Mae
Jay Parnell
2009
Oil on wood panel
 
Fall in Nashville
Todd Reifers
2008
Oil on linen
 
Early Autumn at Duck Creek
Todd Reifers
2008
Oil on linen
 
My Ava
Maria Tomasula
2007
Oil on panel
 
My Alba
Maria Tomasula
1998
Oil on panel
 
A Bouquet for You
Nhat Tran
1998
Urushi lacquer, gold and silver leaf on plywood with crushed egg shell
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Raymond Garcia and Fruzsina M. Harsanyi
 
Inclination to Believe
Nhat Tran
2004
Urushi lacquer and silver leaf on Polystyrene
 
Attached and Detached
Nhat Tran
2009
Urushi lacquer
 
And All Mankind #2
Audrey Ushenko
2007
Oil on canvas
Brauer Museum of Art, Sloan Foundation Purchase, Valparaiso University
 
(3-D PIECES)
 
A Kiss on the Lips
Matthew Davey
2007
Bronze
 
Arch
James Wille Faust
2005
Acrylic on wood
Collection of Jan R. and Cynthia Martin
 
Bird on House
James Wille Faust
2004
Acrylic on wood
 
Bench Maquette
James Wille Faust
2003
Acrylic on wood
 
Bloom
James Wille Faust
2006
Acrylic on wood
 
Laura IX
Les Miley
2007
Stoneware with Evans okra glaze
 
Astral Horizon XXXII
Les Miley
1995
Stoneware with black, copper, and rutile glaze
 
Harvest Bowl
Les Miley
1988
Salt-fired stoneware with rutile/iron slip
 
Nocturne Contours XXIV
Les Miley
1992
Combed porcelain with Albany slip and wood ash glaze
Bound
Les Miley
2005
Stoneware with variegated copper glaze
 
Octo II
Les Miley
2007
Salt-fired porcelain with saturated iron glazes
 
Spiral Trap
David Morrison
2008
Wood, leather and steel
 
Temptation
David Morrison
2008
Wood, leather and aluminum
 
Trumpf Cloud Cup
Malcolm Mobutu Smith
2008
Clay and glaze
Collection of Robert L. Murphy
 
Albedo Tripod
Malcolm Mobutu Smith
2008
Clay and glaze
 
Platter
Malcolm Mobutu Smith
2008
Clay and glaze
 
Myers Cabinet
Tom Tedrowe
2007
Wood; Mahogany, Makore, Ebony, Black Coral
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Robert K. Myers
 
Dream Repository
Tom Tedrowe
2009
Wood: Australian Walnut, Swiss Pear, Figured Black Cherry, Curly Maple
 
Antique Automatic
Tom Tedrowe
2009
Wood: reclaimed Honduran Mahogany
 
Jewelry Box
Tom Tedrowe
2008
Wood: Honduran Mahogany, Birdseye Maple
 
(Installations)
 
Urban Geometry
Greg Hull
2009
Steel, Fabric, Plastic
 
Untitled
Artur Silva
2009
Inkjet on Vinyl
 
 

Matthew Davey (b. 1962)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
Matthew Davey's flawless bronzes and sensitive two-dimensional works reveal complex human emotions through facial or bodily expressions. Described by the director of the North Carolina Museum of Art as being "in some ways tribal and in some ways contemporary," A Kiss on the Lips presents the viewer with many possible interpretations.
 
Davey attended the Herron School of Art and Design and the University of Illinois, studying both fine art and graphic design. He ultimately opted to earn his degree in engineering from Purdue University to secure a job as an electrical engineer. Exhibiting his work for the past decade, Davey's Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis in 2003 allowed him to pursue his art full time for a few years. Unafraid to compete on the world stage with his art, Davey has had significant success garnering prizes and acceptance in juried competitions in New York; Munich, Germany; Canada; and the Pacific Northwest.
 
 

Rob Day (b. 1962)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
Although Rob Day calls himself a professional illustrator, his works are far more than obvious representations of objects. His complex imagery, which invites multiple interpretations, is undeniably fine art. With his conceptual imagination and painstaking skill, Day utilizes landscape elements, portraiture, and references to Renaissance and Surrealist styles to illustrate people and ideas.
 
Raised in Carmel, Indiana, Day majored in graphic design at the Herron School of Art and Design. After graduating in 1984, he successfully blended fine art and illustration to make a living in the competitive commercial illustrator's world. His long list of work for magazines includes Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, and Sports Illustrated, as well as book cover illustrations for such publications as Alias Shakespeare, A Century of Spies, From West to East, and The Science of God.
 
 

James Wille Faust (b. 1949)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
James Wille Faust earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Herron School of Art and Design and Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Illinois. A native of Lapel, Indiana, his work has been featured in national exhibitions at universities, galleries, and museums. His recent projects -- including a permanent public sculpture for Artspark at the Herron School of Art and Design, and a mural installation at the new Indianapolis Airport terminal -- reflect his distinctive style of complex, colorful geometric shapes inspired by natural phenomena.
 
In 2000, Faust began creating wood maquettes representing arches, benches, meteors, and birds that move in the wind. He wrote, "My dream is for these models to become monumental pieces [that] people can walk through or sit on. I want my sculptures to work well in any environment, natural or manmade."
 

(above: James Wille Faust, Earthly Arrangement, 1998. Acrylic on canvas)

 
 

India Cruse-Griffin (b. 1958)

Richmond, Indiana

 
India Cruse-Griffin uses bold colors, shapes, and patterns to tell stories of love, pride, and community spirit. Her paper and paint collages often reflect her own upbringing. "My childhood is not a bad story or a tortured story," she explained. "My grandfather grew up a mixed race person near [Richmond] and he never allowed us to feel like we were different. He would take us anywhere and everywhere, daring people to say anything. He would tell me that people were staring because I was wearing a beautiful dress. I never realized that a lot of it was prejudice."
 
In addition to being represented by Artjaz in Philadelphia, Cruse-Griffin teaches art at Richmond High School. "I want the kids to understand creativity and know that everyone can be creative." She has served on the Indiana Arts Commission and is a current board member at the Richmond Art Museum.
 

(above: India Cruse-Griffin, The Passion Keeper, 2007, Mixed media on board)

 
 

Greg Hull (b. 1963)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
Greg Hull is a sculptor working with a variety of media including metal, wood, stone, glass, video, and light. An associate professor of sculpture and three-dimensional design at the Herron School of Art and Design, he creates sculptural objects, environments, and installations. His projects in the 21st century -including installations at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, the Richmond (Indiana) Art Museum, and the new Indianapolis Airport terminal -- often use movement or light to attract and capture the viewer's attention.
 
"For me, it's liberating to be able to work with every type of material," said Hull during a recent interview. "The fairly traditional materials as well as sound and light are still raw materials to me. My works typically begin with writing a lot of words and ideas rather than drawing. As ideas start to form, visuals also begin to form. The materials really present themselves for me toward the end of the process."
 
 

Tamar Kander (b. 1958)

Nashville, Indiana

 
To build her impasto surfaces, Tamar Kander works with a variety of materials, including powdered gesso, cold wax, drywall compound, acrylic medium, marble dust, and oils. She is inclined to create paintings in groupings of palette preferences, with large canvases often influenced by landscape or architecture. Although her pieces convey subjective responses to experiences and surroundings, like the Abstract Expressionists, her measured process begins with sketches, notes, and diagrams.
 
Kander has won numerous local and national awards and her work is included in permanent museum and corporate collections in North and South America, Europe, and South Africa. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of London. In addition to Ruschman Gallery in Indianapolis, Kander's work is represented in Bloomington, Indiana; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Louisville, Kentucky; Atlanta, Georgia; and Chicago.
 
 

Tom Keesee (b. 1954)

Fort Wayne, Indiana

 
"For years I have been attracted to painters that layer heavy amounts of paint on their canvases: Van Gogh and Soutine," writes Tom Keesee. "I try not only to create the illusion of space, but also a real space in my paintings. The three-dimensional property of the paint exists as a physical presence that enters the space of the real world. It is this play between illusion and reality that gives my work its meaning."
 
Keesee's abstract landscapes are about design, color, and shapes: "Sky becomes shapes, trees become lines, and designs found in nature become my inspiration."
 
Known for his printmaking, Keesee is an adjunct professor of art at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Herron School of Art and Design, and his Master of Fine Arts at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His work has been exhibited regionally and nationally for the past 20 years.
 

(above: Tom Keesee, Sun and Shadow, 1999, Oil on canvas. Collection of Kristin and Peter Mohlman)


Charlene Marsh (b. 1956)

Nashville, Indiana

 
"To me, [the woods] are very interesting because they change all the time," said Charlene Marsh. "And I've found in my third year of full time [painting en plein air] that I really know those woods... I know how the light falls in the valleys and on the hills. There's a saying, 'Some people travel far and wide. Some people travel near and deep.' I'm in the latter category."
 
Charlene Marsh has exhibited her tapestries throughout the United States and Brazil. She has won numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest Fellowship and the Indiana Arts Commission's Individual Artist Project Grant. Her work is in public and private collections, including the White House, Minnetrista Cultural Center, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Evansville Museum. Marsh's paintings are represented in the Brown County Art Gallery in Nashville, The Venue in Bloomington, and a gallery in Madrid, New Mexico.
 
 

Les Miley (b. 1934)

Evansville, Indiana

 
Ceramic artist Les Miley is Professor Emeritus at the University of Evansville and runs the Indiana Ceramics Workshop in New Harmony, Indiana. His work is in collections of the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, Evansville Museum, New York Stock Exchange, and Axner Contemporary Ceramics Collection in Oviedo, Florida, among others. His honors range from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana's 1996 Artist of the Year to the University of Evansville's 1986 Outstanding Faculty Scholar Award.
 
"Most of my pieces have titles. They come more from my days as a painter and a printmaker than as a potter," Miley said. "I'll make a basic kind of shape, but what I do with that will have a lot more to do with sculpture than to [making] pots." Recognized for his innovative salt glazing techniques and surface treatments, Miley is also known for destroying any of his pieces that display even the tiniest flaw.
 

David L. Morrison (b. 1956)

Plainfield, Indiana

 
"Recent themes focus on iconic objects and the role they play in contemporary society," writes David Morrison. "Some of these pieces describe beauty as it is defined by different generations and cultures, such as totemic bracelets in contrast to classic nudes." Known for his meticulous prints, Morrison also creates sculpture and installations. When immersed in a theme, he produces both two- and three-dimensional pieces as his ideas evolve.
 
Morrison earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of South Dakota, and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin. Currently an associate professor of printmaking at the Herron School of Art and Design, he has won awards for both his art and his teaching, and has a long list of publications to his credit. He's been honored with a National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest Fellowship, Indiana Master Fellowship (twice), and Indiana Commission for the Arts Fellowship (twice).
 

 

C.W. Mundy (b. 1945)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
"If I'm not having fun, and if I don't have a passion for what I'm creating, then I'm dead in the water," said C.W. Mundy. "I say I'm like Pac-Man, continually chewing up new territory because that's just the way I'm wired." Mundy uses a combination of quick brushstrokes, palette knife sweeps, and rubbing or flicking with tissues to create his neo-impressionistic oil paintings. His images, despite their loose and spontaneous ambiance, are firmly based on Mundy's expert realist draftsmanship.
 
Along with his studio and plein air work, Mundy, who teaches workshops, is a Master Signature Member of Oil Painters of America as well as a Master Painter in the American Impressionist Society. In addition to his own Indianapolis studio/gallery, he is represented in galleries in Denver and Charlotte, North Carolina. He has earned numerous awards and invitational exhibitions, and his paintings are included in public and private collections throughout the nation.
 
 

Cindy O'Dell (b. 1970)

Greencastle, Indiana

 
Cindy O'Dell was recently an Artist-in-Residence at the Burren College of Art in Western Ireland. She used a 2006 sabbatical to launch Migrations, an exploration of the Irish diaspora and the concepts of transience and dislocation. She wrote, "In these photographs I place black and white transparencies of photographs from my family album into the Irish landscape... I am seeking beauty [in] the loss that is the history of so many Irish Americans."
 
Cindy O'Dell is a professor of art at DePauw University, and has traveled extensively and taught workshops for the past two decades. Exhibitions at Pfizer Headquarters and the Viewing Room Gallery in New York are among past solo shows. Her work has been included in more than 40 invitational exhibitions throughout the United States. Her Common Threads project depicted women living with breast cancer and traveled to 16 venues across the United States.
 
 

Jay Parnell (b. 1968)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
Inspired by the writings of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, as well as the hip hop swagger of Saul Williams, Jay Parnell's work represents the inner feelings of contemporary African Americans. His dark paintings simultaneously convey foreboding and optimism, as in Messenger's Lament. Interpreted by the artist as a depiction of the slumbering race of African Americans in need of awakening, he commented that blacks have limited themselves through their own low expectations.
 
Represented by the G. C. Lucas Gallery in Indianapolis, Parnell was recognized in the Indiana art scene with a 2007 Creative Renewal Fellowship through the Arts Council of Indianapolis as well as a Resident Artist studio in 2007-2008 at the Stutz Building. He has exhibited at the Indiana Black Expo, J. Martin Gallery, Hot House Art Gallery, Dean Johnson Gallery, Eli Lilly and Company, University of Indianapolis, Indiana Governor's Residence, and the Society of Illustrators Gallery in New York.
 
 

Todd Reifers (b. 1948)

Fishers, Indiana

 
Plein air artist Todd Reifers is passionate about his artwork and constantly strives to perfect his neo-impressionist methods. "A good painting is not derived from an arbitrary episode at the easel, but rather requires analysis and time to design, develop, and construct," he writes. "The daily challenge is to continually develop style and technique. Development is difficult because it involves letting loose of ingrained habits that have served us well."
 
Reifers's landscapes conjure images from yesteryear, and he has found inspiration at Conner Prairie for suitable buildings and genre scenes. An associate member of the Oil Painters of America, he has won the Best First-time Exhibitor as well as the Best of Show award (twice) at annual Hoosier Salon exhibitions. His work has also garnered many awards at the annual Indiana Heritage Arts exhibits. He is an artist member of the Gloucester, Massachusetts North Shore Arts Association and the Small Painting Society of Indiana.

 

Artur Silva (b. 1976)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
Artur Silva's recent public installations on the Washington Street Bridge in White River State Park and near the Dean Johnson Gallery on Massachusetts Avenue demonstrate his ability to conceive and execute large projects. Since moving to Indianapolis from New York City in 2001, his numerous awards have included an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission and a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Over the past year, Silva has also created installations for the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Racine, Wisconsin, and the NavtaSchulz Gallery in Chicago.
 
Known most recently for his colorful outsized collages incorporating Pop and symbolic imagery, Silva's work is at once whimsical and ideological. "I collect images," Silva said in a recent interview with NUVO's David Hoppe. "It's about making connections -- for the person who buys the iPod but has no idea where aluminum comes from."
 
 

Malcolm Mobutu Smith (b. 1969)

Bloomington, Indiana

 
Malcolm Mobutu Smith earned his Master of Fine Arts from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1996, after first studying at the Kansas City Art Institute and Penn State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics. After teaching at Western Kentucky University, Smith was recruited to teach ceramics at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he is an associate professor. He is an active lecturer, recently presenting workshops at Purdue University, Parkland College, Syracuse University, and Michigan State University.
 
"The formal language that guides much of graffiti letterform structure underpins much of my working method in sculpture," he explained. "My work also embraces the improvisational attitude or energy that is central to graffiti." Combined with the influences of historical pottery from Africa, South America and Asia, as well as organic earthly elements, the contemporary imagery and presentation of his work plays with two-and-three-dimensional space.
 
 

Tom Tedrowe (b. 1950)

Nashville, Indiana

 
"My goal is to further understand design and stylistic movements from ancient ages to modern times along with their respective methods of construction, and to combine these aspects with my own ideas to produce fine contemporary furniture," writes furniture maker Tom Tedrowe. "I aspire to further explore the boundaries that seem to separate sculpture from furniture."
 
Tedrowe's works incorporate visual puns or ironic titles like Antique Automatic or Dream Repository. His original designs, combining meticulous craftsmanship and the use of exotic woods, have been included in numerous publications and have won many awards. His credentials include a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Herron School of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design. At the latter institution he studied with Tage Frid, who is widely recognized as one of the founding fathers of the American Studio Furniture Movement.
 

Maria Tomasula (b. 1958)

South Bend, Indiana

 
Maria Tomasula's still life paintings often reference her Mexican Roman Catholic roots and are prized for their vivid color, theatrical compositions and trompe l'oeil detail. According to Forum Gallery, "the line between devotion/redemption and pure hallucination seems thin but you are always kept interested by the unassailable technique with which these surreal still lives are executed." My Alba and My Ava are dedicated to each of the artist's daughters.
 
Tomasula received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago and then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Northwestern University. She is currently a professor and chair of the studio art department at the University of Notre Dame. She has had one-person exhibitions at the Mexican Fine Arts Museum in Chicago, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, and her work has been exhibited in more than 100 other venues.
 

(above: Maria Tomasula, My Ava, 2007, Oil on panel)

 
 

Nhat Tran (b. 1962)

Indianapolis, Indiana

 
"As a Vietnamese-American artist, I feel fortunate to find myself at the juncture between two cultures," writes Nhat Tran. "My paintings merge motives and techniques from two distinct aesthetic heritages, equally rich and diverse. The Western influence provides me the encouragement to explore new ideas and media. The Asian influence demands of me discipline, contemplation, and an awareness of history."
 
Tran's primary medium is Urushi lacquer painting, a traditional Vietnamese mode of artistic expression. She studied oil painting at the University of Fine Arts in Saigon, then learned the basics of lacquer painting at the University of Fine Arts in Ho Chi Minh City. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
 

Audrey Ushenko (b. 1944)

Fort Wayne, Indiana

 
In the mid-1990s, Audrey Ushenko began to paint murals that dramatize museums and hospitals, and has met with unprecedented success. In the role of visiting artist, she makes preliminary sketches of individuals chosen to represent the institution. Ushenko then blocks in recognizable subjects, along with the artist's fantasy portraits based upon art history. "At first I thought nobody would stand around and watch... But I came to realize that this has really been missing from my life -- a sense of being part of the stream of life."
 
Ushenko's years of exhibitions throughout the country have coincided with her teaching career, which has included faculty positions at the National Academy of Art, New York; Columbia College, Chicago; Northwestern University, Evanston; and Valparaiso University. Now a full-time professor of art history and studio art at Indiana-Purdue University in Fort Wayne, her work is represented by Denise Bibro Fine Art in Chelsea, New York.
 

(above: Audrey Ushenko, And All Mankind #2, 2007, Oil on canvas. Brauer Museum of Art, Sloan Foundation Purchase, Valparaiso University)

 

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