Art and Visual Technology Department Opens ‘Constructs VI’

Posted: January 27, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Mason’s Art and Visual Technology Department will present “Constructs VI,” a traveling exhibition of abstract paintings by a community of artists from the Virginia and Washington, D.C., area.

The exhibition will be on display at the Fine Arts Gallery at Mason’s Fairfax Campus from Feb. 2 to 28. The opening reception will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 3, from 4 to 6 p.m., and will be followed by a panel discussion from 6 to 7 p.m.

The exhibition includes paintings by Sally Bowring, Don Crow, Steve Cushner, Chris Gregson, Steve Griffin, Reni Grower, Ron Johnson, Ray Kass, Paul Ryan, Xavier Tapia and Dan Treado.

“A construct is an object or a work that implies a process of building or layering,” says Walter Kravitz, director of the Fine Arts Gallery.

“Each artist in the ‘Constructs’ groups maintains his or her voice in this process while still maintaining a belief in the abstract message. The sharing of formats, processes and ideas holds the groups together. The ‘constructs’ are formed by these ideas moving from the individual to the collective, a metaphorical ocean floor buried deep under discrete islands continually mined for new resources and content.”

The “Constructs” artists explore their evolving interests and issues by presenting multifaceted assemblages, collections and series of new works at each exhibition.

In Heather Harvey’s review in Art Papers, she describes the work as “playful” and “thoughtful.” “[‘Constructs’] shows the dilemma of painting in our alleged post-post-painting art world is apparently a joyful burden,” she says.

Art historian Howard Risatti defines the group’s image-making process, commenting, “the word aesthetic comes from the ancient Greek aisthëtikos, which refers not to the beautiful, but to ‘one who is perceptive of things through sensations, feelings and intuitions.’ In one sense [the works] are all collaged together into some kind of whole, whether seamless or not, from collections of physical materials and recollections of mental images amassed over time by the artists from their sensuous experiences in and of the world.”

The artists also have faith in the long tradition of painting and its ability to convey ideas and meaning.

“In this way the artists in ‘Constructs’ are following in the tradition of modern art that began with artists like Cézanne, van Gogh and the Cubists,” Risatti says. “Like these artists, they, too, are rejecting the premise that appearance and reality are one and the same.”

This exhibit is free and open to the public. The gallery, located on the ground floor of the Fine Arts Building, is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and weekends by appointment.

Write to at