Treacy Ziegler – Landscape of Confinement

June 11, 2012

I recently attended an artist’s talk by Treacy Ziegler at the Arnot Museum in Elmira NY. Treacy talked about the pieces in her multi-media installation “From Confinement / The Waiting” at the Arnot Musuem, and about the her experiences exhibiting in and working with prisons. It was fascinating for me to hear Treacy’s experience with the inmates and the influence it had on her work. Most of the talk was about teaching the inmates how to think about art differently. As an artist I was puzzled to hear her say “I don’t believe art should be about self-expression” What do you think?

She writes about the installation in her Statement:

“A few years ago, during one of my first visits to several prisons throughout the east and mid United States, I asked the warden on seeing the cramped small cells if “memory” was an inmate’s largest dimension of space? He replied, “Memory is the first dimension of space that the inmate loses.”

My initial interest in exploring this landscape of confinement is as a painter of landscape and evolved out of exhibiting my paintings in a medical setting where patients had very serious illnesses. Although I was struck by the responses, I was struck more by the realization that my work was in a space where the viewer was not only challenged by that space but also defined by that space. It seemed to me that the most extreme example of this ontological aspect of space is prison. Whoever one is, doctor, lawyer, artist, one is defined as an inmate in prison. I wanted to know what would happen if I put my work, those landscapes of very personal place, into the space of prison: a box within a box. Do these metaphoric personal places become annihilated by the larger space, or do the paintings create place within this institutionalized space? And if so, how? Since the project started three years ago, I have donated over 80 paintings to prisons and have had exhibitions in several prisons. At one prison I donated 47 large paintings that now hang throughout the inmates’ blocks.

In additions to these exhibitions and donations, I conduct workshops with the inmates. While the focus of these workshops is learning about art, I use “landscape” as a means for the inmates to explore the potential of place through reconstructing the elements of any landscape. What are those basic visual cues that connect person to place?

When one is not free to physically explore space and when space is consistently transparent (instead of a combination of the transparent and opaque spaces to which one is accustomed), can “home”, that primary sense of place, be established?”

New work by Treacy Ziegler at West End Gallery

Currently at the West End Gallery we have these new light-box paintings by Treacy Ziegler. Painted on plexiglass they glow from behind. Stop in to see them and take the time to read more of Treacy’s writing about her work at: Treacyziegler.com

– Bridget B. van Otterloo

Advertisements

Treacy Ziegler/ Holiday Show

December 3, 2010

The show currently hanging at the West End Gallery is our annual Holiday Exhibit, featuring new work from over 30 of our artists.  The Upstairs Showcase features stunning new work, both paintings and monoprints, from Treacy Ziegler.  Her bold use of color and dark tones make her new works sing, especially in some of her large scale pieces, in sizes we seldom see here from Treacy.  It is a gorgeous group of work and seeing it should be on your to-do list as you make your way through this holiday season.

Treacy’s work and the Holiday Exhibit hangs in the gallery for the rest of the month, until December 31.  We look forward to seeing you at the West End!


Influences

March 15, 2010

I’ve been exhibiting at the West End Gallery for over 15 years now and have benefitted in many ways.  It was the first place I showed and sold my  first piece of work.  It was the first place my work was showcased.  It was the place that first gave me hope of doing what I love as a career.  So many other things as well.  But perhaps the greatest benefit may have been what I have gained from observing the work of the other artists there over the years.

I’ve talked here and in my own blog of how artists such as Mark Reep, Marty Poole and Dave Higgins, among others,  have shaped how I work and how I see my own work.  Another such artist is Treacy Ziegler who has shown her collagraphs and, more recently, her distinctinctive paintings at the West End for many years now.

From the moment I saw Treacy’s work, I was intrigued.  I instantly recognized that she was doing with her work what I wanted and didn’t have in my work at the time.  Her prints had great areas of dark and light contrast and even in the lightest sections, a sense of darkness was always present which gave every piece real weight.  Her bold colors and striking contrasts gave even the simplest compositions a deeper feeling.

They were also immediately identifiable as Treacy’s work.  You could see a piece from across the street and you knew whose work it was.  She has a very idiosyncratic visual vocabulary and her shapes and forms react beautifully with one another in the techniques she uses in producing her work.

At the time, my own work was still very transparent and very much watercolor based.  With Treacy’s work in mind I started adding layers of darkness in my own way.  Simplifying form.  Enhancing contrast and color.  All the time searching for my own vocabulary, my own look. 

I’ve always maintained that artists are often more like synthesizers than creators.  They absorb multiple influences and take what they see in them,  merging them together to create something that is completely different than the original.  For me, the West End has always been a great source for ideas and concepts to absorb.  It may be in a certain brushstroke or the way a painting’s composition comes together or just in being exposed to an artist’s body of work for a long period of time.  Whatever the case, I always find something in the work there.

And that has been a great benefit…

———————-Posted by Gary Myers