Art by Grubola and Whitesell on exhibit at Clayton Center
Feb. 13, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer
Artwork by University of Louisville professors James Grubola and John Whitesell will be on display in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Blackberry Farm Gallery through Feb. 28.
A reception will be held in the gallery on Fri., Feb. 22 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Although Grubola works in a number of different media and techniques including printmaking, his true passion has been for drawing.
“A sense of order has always been an important part of my work. I consider myself a formalist in this regard,” Grubola said in his artist statement. “My work explores concepts of placement, isolation, interrelatedness, connections, overlays, transparency, and opacity — all suggestive of issues of measuring space and mapping.
“By layering lines upon the paper, whether I am referencing an image from a 17th century star chart or thicket of vines, I have tried to define and develop the surface of the drawing independent of imagery. The tension between an illusion of three-dimensional objects such as plumb bobs, feathers and sticks versus references to grids, maps and other flat surface delineations which reinforce the two-dimensional surface of the drawing is the central theme of my work.”
Grubola has maintained an active exhibition record highlighted by several one- and two-person exhibitions, including “30 Years of Silverpoint Drawing” at Nazareth Gallery in Nazareth, Ky., and “Lines on the Landscape,” an exhibition in the University of Louisville’s Hite Galleries/Belknap and the Evansville Museum of Art and Science. Grubola’s work has also been exhibited in numerous invitational and traveling exhibitions and represented in the permanent collections of the Speed Art Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the corporate collections of Bristol Myers Squibb, Eastman Kodak and McGraw Hill Inc.
A native of Detroit, Grubola joined the Hite Art Institute’s Department of Fine Arts after completing his MFA at Indiana University-Bloomington. Grubola also served as chair of the Department of Fine Arts and Director of the Hite Art Institute for 16 years. He earned his BFA from Wayne State University in printmaking and drawing, and it was during this time that he began work with the medieval drawing technique of silverpoint.
In 1975, Grubola joined the faculty of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Louisville, where he has served as head of the drawing program. He teaches courses on all levels of drawing from beginning through graduate, including anatomy for the artist. In 2001, he was recognized by the University of Louisville's Alumni Association with the “Red Apple Award” for excellence in teaching and has been nominated for the Acorn Award for excellence in teaching at the university level in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Whitesell is a professor and head of the printmaking area at the University of Louisville. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Earlham Collage and a MFA from Indiana University. He has also studied printmaking at Miami University of Ohio. His mentors in art were Marvin Lowe and Rudy Pozzatti at Indiana University, as well as Robert Wolfe at Miami University.
“The work in this exhibition is my ambivalent response to the naturally developing landscape,” Whitesell said. “All the prints start from digital photographs and are prepared and manipulated in Photoshop. ‘Archival Pigment Print’ is digitally printed with pigmented ink on coated paper. At least two are printed as traditional intaglio prints made from light sensitive photopolymer plates.”
Whitesell, who has received an Indiana Artist Fellowship and a National Endowment grant, has exhibited his prints throughout the United States and internationally in over 150 exhibitions. Images of his work have been published in several venues and online, and his prints can be found in numerous public collections, including the Library of Congress, New York City Public Library and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Early in his career, screen printmaking was Whitesell’s primary medium. His exploration and visual development has continued to follow the technology as opportunities opened in computer and digital imaging. The incorporation of natural sources for his imagery appeared in his prints during the last several years. As a biologist and field naturalist in his early 20s, the natural history of plants and animals has always been of particular interest to him. The photographic studies of nature date back to the 1960s and now are becoming a serious element in his personal iconography.