Datebook: Abstraction Frees Artists In Heartland Exhibition | WGLT

Datebook: Abstraction Frees Artists In Heartland Exhibition

Oct 4, 2019

Through undulating lines, bold dashes of color, and unconventional focus, six local artists explore the limitless potential of abstract art in the current exhibition at the Joe McCauley Gallery at Heartland Community College. 

Curated by Heartland’s Danell Dvorak, “Abstraction” features a variety of ideas, styles and techniques, all connected by the use of acrylic paint as the main medium. The show is currently up and continues through Nov. 8. There’s an artist reception at the gallery on Oct. 7 beginning at 4 p.m. 

One of the featured artists is Jan Brandt. Although she primarily works in fiber, Brandt uses paint to build abstract environments ablaze with color on a canvas that can barely contain the playful vivacity. Brandt is pleased to have her work be shown alongside several other women artists. Women abstractionists, in general, are finally getting their due, she said. 

“I feel that female abstractionists in history have been ignored,” said Brandt. “It’s really nice to be under some gallery lights and be recognized, and not just solely, but with a group of women. That makes me feel even better.” 

Brandt’s work shares gallery wall space with Allison Carr, Melanie Dockery, Megan Hinds, Megan Kethol Bersett, and Joann Goetzinger. 

Goetzinger’s work spring from another artform: music and her studies in music. “I studied music for probably 25 years. And the things that I do, although I don’t listen to music when I make them, there’s music in my mind that has some expression with the linear structure, especially, and with the shapes.”

Joann Goetzinger incorporates wood into her paintings, creating a sculptural effect.
Credit Laura Kennedy / WGLT

“Some of the linear structure reminds me of a melody. If you use a line, you can use it as a straight line, as a curve, as something that moves around the space.  And as it moves around the space, it changes in thickness, it gets thinner and when it goes around a corner it might get thicker. In the expression of it, to me, it’s very musical.” 

“When somebody looks at it, I don’t think they necessarily see that or think that. But it’s always in the back of my mind.” 

Brandt appreciates the vast scope of abstraction and the free reign it gives her imagination. She may draw her inspiration from reality, but Brandt then uses abstraction to push it further away from realism into something that no one has ever seen before. 

“It’s a challenge,” she admitted. “And it pushes me to go further.”

Brandt finds that representational art can be too limiting. 

Through the use of acrylic paint, Jan Brandt creates appealing textures on her paintings.
Credit Laura Kennedy / WGLT

“With abstraction, you can pick any colors you want to convey the emotion or the mood of the piece. Whereas when things are more representational, the color pallet is expected to be more natural. I use some unnatural looking colors,” Brandt said with a laugh. “That is to show the movement and the vibrancy. Certain colors that are put together that are complimentary look almost plugged in, as if they’ve been electrified.” 

“I feel that abstraction give me more room to create.” 

Like Goetzinger, Brandt allows music to play a role in her creative process. 

“I did get a vintage record player and I’ve been listening to a lot of ‘70’s music from old albums – loud, very loud. And I’m dancing. It loosens me up to listen to the music. Sometimes people have come in when I’m working on this and it concerns them a bit,” she laughed. 

“Abstraction” continues at the Joe McCauley Gallery through Nov. 8.


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