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Lou Rizzolo: Lo Spirito in Vola

April 24 – June 13, 2014

Monroe-Brown Gallery

With Artists Mentored by Professor Rizzolo: Kristin Casaletto, Peter Hyatt Middleton, Nobel Schuler, Linda Talbot Rizzolo, Marc Rizzolo, Linda Hartman, Jerry Catania, Emily E. Johnston, Richard G. Cooper, Dale Strong, Ryan Flesher, Mindi K. Bagnall and Joan Bonnette.

Collaborators: Cassidy Stock Jan Weren

and mentor to Lou Rizzolo, Harry S. Hefner

It is an undeniable privilege to be an artist and a professor for thousands of students over the past four decades. Because of my curiosity about the creative process, my artistic career has not been limited to the use of traditional or less traditional media. Compelled by unknowns, that curiosity generates a need to create unique forms by integrating media. Although creating unique forms can draw criticism regarding intentionality, my creative process is seldom affected because of the joys discovered in learning!

The Art:
My passion for the expressive qualities of water-based media earmarked my career and the integration of sensuous dyed silk e.g. Blue Willow enriches the layers of pigment. The figurative works reflect contemporaneous settings amplifying human conditions e.g. Ginger Bluz: Yes I Can, rendered from the psychical energies collected from the model. Some images in the artwork narrate primal beliefs e.g. “Reindeer Girl Trilogy.” The collaborative BIGthink air sculpture “Hemi Flora,” conceptually and visually supports the oneness of humankind. Other new images e.g. ”Untitled.” conceal brewing collaborative chromatic/achromatic interactions. The overarching aesthetic to uniquely compose the core visual elements between the artist and the emerging form is a spiritual collaboration.

The mentee artworks in the exhibition speak to the magic of art making and the value of sharing in the creative process. Discovering and psychically meshing aesthetic natures, is a multi-faceted learning process I describe as teaching. Collaborative art practices advance individual sensory learning and unravel unknown aesthetics. Teaching becomes a collaborative creative act where unknowns, fermenting in the languages of the mind, become resolved through mastered techniques in form and text meaning. This psychical alchemy identifies aesthetic parameters and when nurtured, enlightens each unique self. Teaching and art making both share aspects of accessing the human condition, i.e. a spiritual flight towards a communal purpose, a deity or perhaps the self. The 17th c Japanese poet Basho’s explanation of the creative function of the poet and the purpose of the poem, ”to permeate the delicate structure of a form out of which comes a poem,” conveys the creative function of the artist/teacher. The mentor/mentees and their artworks in this exhibition exemplify concepts relevant to the mysteries of this phenomenon.

As a novus octogenarian, it seems peremptory to rely on suppositions that aging impairs the cognitive creative process. That presumption, I suspect, limits creative growth at any age. Current brain research contends neuroplasticity forms new pathways in the brain, pathways of longevity. I salute the artists in this exhibition, Lo Spirito in Volo (the spirit in flight), whose work reflects ideational and visual pathways to a higher calling in the risky but valued search for unknowns.

Lou Rizzolo
Professor Emeritus
WMU Frostic School of Art