Richard Segalman was born in Coney Island, New York in 1934, and the timeless American-ness of his iconic birthplace — think amusement parks and seaside relaxation — seems to echo the timelessness one feels when looking at his work in any medium. Today, Segalman lives in Woodstock, New York, a perhaps even more quintessentially American locale. The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is proud to lay claim to multiple study collections of Segalman’s art, gifted to the Museum by the artist and ranging from paintings and pastels to the twenty-four monotypes that make up this show. Focusing here on Segalman’s black-and-white monotype process, we can see his deft use of the medium, embellishing the themes so familiar from his paintings (anonymous figures with their backs turned to us, faceless women on a beachside, a boy looking out over a rooftop at a cityscape) and evoking emotion less from human expression than from the sensibilities of the figures’ poses and Segalman’s especially animated rendering of clothing.
Unlike a print made from an etched plate and intended for creating multiples, a monotype is a one-time print produced by the artist by applying ink or paint directly onto a plate and pressing it to paper, resulting in a single reverse image. As they hinge on the simple interplay of gradations of black upon white paper, monotypes are an ideal medium for Segalman, highlighting his keen eye for depicting light cast sharply over figures and objects while retaining the impressionistic looseness so emblematic of his painting style.
In the coming years as we continue to build our new collection focus on American figuration, we plan to showcase solo artists like Segalman, holdings of whose works we can now present expansively. Also, as per the mission of an academic museum, we seek to highlight different media to give audiences access to new art and new techniques they may not have encountered before.
Long a household name, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) is considered to be one of the great nineteenth-century masters. A principal member of the Impressionist circle, Renoir made everyday life his subject matter, creating scenes and characters seemingly pulled from the quotidian world of fin-de-siècle Paris. Alongside friends and colleagues like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, Alfred Sisley, Mary Cassatt and Gustave Caillebotte, Renoir created the visual imagery we most associate today with avant-garde Parisian art. If you think about bearded, top-hatted men dancing happily with cherubic, rose-cheeked women as classically Impressionistic, you can thank Renoir for cementing that image in your mind’s eye.
Indeed, it is Renoir who created some of our most enduring images of Parisian life, and the exhibition Renoir: Les Études offers an unusual opportunity to see this star painter’s expertise in a different mode: as a draughtsman and etcher. Usually associated with his painted work, Renoir is revealed here in a new light. This exhibition centers on the artist’s rarely-exhibited line drawings, presented in original etched, aquatint, and lithographic form. These studies of the human figure show Renoir’s deep interest in exploring modern characters - men, women, young girls, friends - and placing them into a variety of contemporary and timeless situations. With eleven studies displayed contextually in the era in which Renoir painted them, the exhibition presents an intimate experience of Renoir’s favorite themes and of the world in which he lived.
There exists a complex tangle of trajectories between art, culture and technology. At the center of this knot lies the authenticity of our sensory experience, especially our visual perception. Mechanically produced images often seem more simulated than a hand-rendered image. Although an automated process does not make an image illegitimate, it can unintentionally cause us to invest less time and effort to visually digest it. Other variables, such as the degree at which the image has been mechanically manipulated, if the image seems mass produced, and whether it is presented as high art, also contribute to our conclusive visual judgements of that image.
Although some artists openly define their work as high-tech reproduction, and others react against it, there are those who choose to imitate it. By occupying a middle ground, these artists broaden our involvement as viewers by causing us to more deeply ponder the purpose behind the work and question the accuracy of our interpretations. This has created a sort of playful deception between art and audience and has propelled a breakdown between what it means by truly seeing a work of art versus merely looking at a work of art.
Works by artist and University of Florida professor Richard Heipp occupy the gray area between the manually produced painting and the digitally reproduced image. They therefore position the viewer at the crossroads of looking and seeing. Heipp describes his paintings as photocentric; they are not intended to be merely based on mechanically produced images, but are instead air-brushed simulations of photographs and scanned objects. At first, these hyperrealistic paintings appear mechanically reproduced, but transform upon closer inspection. They perpetuate that deception between art and audience, pierce the veneer of first impressions, and force us to pause for a new and unexpected interpretation.
Double-Vision: Photocentric Paintings by Richard Heipp, 1975-2018 is the artist’s first major retrospective exhibition. Throughout his career, which includes more than 35 years at the University of Florida and countless exhibitions, Heipp has conditioned and perfected the careful manual production of his work and the philosophical concept behind it. To see is to know. To look is not enough.
Richard Haas is best known as a master of trompe l’oeil, illusionistic painting.
Paintings and works on paper help tell the story of the new style of painting which developed at the end of the nineteenth century
Working in both monumental and small dimensions, since the 1970s, sculptor Gino Miles is inspired primarily by 20th-Century masters such as Moore, Brancusi, Archipenko, and Marini. Gino Miles distills his love of the classical figure and objects found in nature, working with a sparse and contemporary language that embodies tranquility. Stripped of an overt narrative, Gino Miles’ abstract forms achieve a poetic harmony of man and nature, with subtle references to both the human form and ancient cultures.
Gino Miles became interested in painting and sculpture in the early 1970s at the University of Northern Colorado, where he also earned a Master of Art in Sculpture. He studied at Universita per i Stranieri in Perugia and the Accademia di Belli Art in Florence. A profound love of teaching inspired Miles to help establish Italart, a school for American and German students in the Chianti region outside Florence. After many years of study and work in Europe, Miles and his wife returned to the United States and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Working primarily in fabricated stainless steel and bronze, the curvilinear, often weightless appearance of Miles’ pieces creates a visual contradiction with heavy metal materials, challenging the fundamentally static nature of sculpture and as well as the viewer’s perception thereof. Miles also explores the concepts of unity and connection in his work; he often chooses materials that can reflect, absorb, or blend with their surroundings, striking a balance between timelessness and the ephemeral moment.
Miles’ large-scale works are prominently featured in many permanent and private collections throughout the United States, Europe and South America, including Spencer Museum at University of Kansas (2013), Evansville Museum, Disney Corporate Headquarters, the cities of Cerritos and Napa, California, the City of Edmond, Oklahoma, Western Kentucky University, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, among others. In 2016 his sculpture Introspection was placed at the entrance of the Polk Museum of Art.
This comprehensive exhibition featured one of the Reading Public Museum’s greatest strengths – its collection of works by American Impressionists
A Sum of Its Parts: Chronology of the Permanent Collection provids a comprehensive overview of the collection through time and reflected the Museum’s collecting strengths.