In HARMONY At Good Goat Gallery

by Lizzie Essi

In HARMONY is a collaborative art exhibition by Lizzie Essi and Catherine Reitz. The show will feature works revolving around the themes of transformation, balance, growth, rebirth and coexistence. The show will include paintings, prints, multimedia and digitally produced content. This project was funded by the Cleveland Foundation through Cleveland Institute of Art’s Creativity Works “build-your-own internship” program. When generating ideas for the collaborative project with different approaches to thinking and making we wanted to embrace the common goal of creating expressive works in the spirit of fun and freedom of making and also create a space where these differences are in harmony with another. The artists works alongside each other showcase and celebrate the contrast and commonality between varied modes and results of making that emphasizes the idea of coexistence. The show seeks to offer spaces for a viewer to slow down, realize, and meditate on the world that surrounds and shapes us.  The work provides insight into the process and concept as it offers many levels of contrast and commonality emphasizing the theme of coexistence.

Essi and Reitz are both rising seniors in the fine art department at the art institute.

Essi (from Lakewood, OH) pursuing a major in Painting and Sculpture, creates works using a combination of materials and processes. She is interested in the transformative potentials and limitations of materials commonly found, discarded, and overlooked in everyday life. Through the process of repurposing things such as plastic bags, beads and party decorations alongside other new and found materials she seeks to change the value, meaning and reception of material---through abstracting and recontextualizing them into densely saturated abstract interlocking fields which utilize the emotive qualities of their color, texture, and structure, drawing connections between consumption, excess, waste and the environment.

The show will feature multimedia works created using crochet, weaving and digital processes which emphasize the color and light of a variety of manipulated materials.

Reitz (Columbia Station, OH) pursuing a major in Painting, utilizes primarily the mediums of painting and printmaking to create abstract works inspired by her memories and experiences of natural, forested and botanical environments. Her works explore gestural and interpretative forms through expressive mark-making and layering inspired by the repeated patterns and textures discovered when taking a closer look at nature. The combinations of muted and bold colors create contrast and balance in her work and she is interested in creating calm spaces for a viewer to contemplate our spiritual connection to the natural world and its wonders.

The show will feature paintings and prints inspired by spring and summer.

Many many thanks to Nancy Cintron at The Good Goat Gallery. And thank you to the The Cleveland Foundation for funding this project through the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Creativity Works program.

Where: The Good Goat Gallery, 17012 Madison Ave., Lakewood, Ohio

When: August 3rd-17th

Opening Reception: Saturday, August 3rd 6-10pm

Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Saturday 1-5pm or by appointment.

Gallery Talk: Saturday, August 10th 7pm

Lizzie Essi / Artist Statement 7/19
“I feel strong in my beliefs . . . that a one-to-one contact through art contains potent peaceful powers and is the most non-elitist way to share exotic and common information, seducing us into creative mutual understandings for the benefit of all. Art is educating, provocative, and enlightening even when first not understood. The very creative confusion stimulates curiosity and growth, leading to trust and tolerance. .
. . It was not until I realized that it is the celebration of the differences between things that I became an
artist who could see.” - Robert Rauschenberg

The driving force of my work is to seize the potentials of the materials I work with. I often use unpretentious materials and approaches to create my work. My decisions to include materials commonly found and discarded in the everyday life leverages a viewers predisposed material value systems in order to call it into question and create an opposition to carelessness, disrespect, and exclusivity. I often make use of things that are meant to serve only temporary functions and then after discarded and I give new purpose to things rendered as cheap or useless by recontextualizing them in art. I imbue better energy into them through the intimate process of their transformation in order to remedy the toxic of contemporary throwaway culture and elevate the status these things retain before as trash or nothing. My process gives the things I choose to use new context and my work gives them a more permanent place and they occupy new cultural significance as they take on ‘rarified’ status as art. My work calls one to pause and spend time with that which we may normally overlook and consider the conditions of our present-day society and economy, the history and future of things that often go to waste, and the implications of the patterns of our collective participation in this culture on our spiritual, mental, and physical health.

I am interested in breaking down everyday objects such as plastic bags, table cloths, curtains, party decorations anc varied found and craft material etc. into abstract elements in order to put them back together again in a new way that offers the viewer a new experience of these things. I first address a material by its physical properties and capacities and cultural significance, but then ignore their original use and value as I repurpose them into highly saturated abstract fields which emphasize their color and
light. It is only through getting closer and engaging with the work more deeply that the viewer becomes aware of the true material and structure.

My work seeks to promote a reconsideration of, attraction (or repulsion) to and curiosity for the world which surrounds and shapes us. Through my process, I strive to make the temporary permanent and familiar novel and I consider the process of transforming things and discarded under contemporary consumerism a poetic gesture and my work is analogous to a better life, transformed, serving as a metaphor for potential change prompted by a shift of thinking and a new arrangement of things. My work helps or forces a viewer to see, think, or act in a different way as they reconsider the implications of our collective participation in any culture in relation to our psyche and the world.

Catherine Reitz Artist Statement 7/19
My work focuses on the consciousness of our relationship with nature. The beauty of the natural world can be overlooked. By slowing down to take in one’s surroundings, we become more aware of ourselves.

My creative process involves the exploration of nature to create a unique alphabet of marks. Through expressive and gestural use of acrylic paint, charcoal and oil pastel each mark embraces its own special character. Patterns in the texture of bark, veins on a
leaf, crevices in a berry, are imagined as shapes to create my alphabet, a meaningful component in my paintings and prints.

Beyond the alphabet, I select areas of vegetation in the forest to further distort and explore. I incorporate tactile character such as layered paint, and grainy clumps for its ability to appear ground and claylike. The glazing and layering of medium suggests the
delicate and layered appearance of a petal.

Bright colors contrasted with muted neutrals, create visual movement throughout my pieces. Vibrant colors correspond to the energy the earth is giving off, while darks and neutrals add calmness. Pinks, and variation of oranges harmonize with the growth of new flower buds in spring. Yellows capture attention and bring contrast and brightness.

Though this exploration, I invite the viewer to slow down, absorb one’s surroundings and contemplate one’s connection to nature on a spiritual and physical level.

Lizzie Essi and Catherine Reitz

Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.

Read More on Arts
Volume 15, Issue 15, Posted 7:18 PM, 07.17.2019