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ISSUE 118 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 4/8/2005

Mann, Bolt hang new art

By Shayna Melgaard
Staff Writer


Friday, April 8, 2005

Flaten Art Museum in Dittmann officially welcomed the works of New York City artists David Mann and Macyn Bolt April 1. During the opening reception, both men spoke briefly about their paintings.

The two artists, who have been familiar with one another’s work for about 15 years, have shared gallery space before. However, this is the first exhibition to solely feature the pair.

The artists agreed that it was exciting to see their works reverberate off one another.

Bolt’s and Mann’s paintings achieve maximum spatiality in that each piece individually compels up-close encounters for inspection, and urges distant encounters in order to realize the presence of each work. Mann and Bolt said their art is meant to involve the viewers as much as possible.

Mann’s paintings, which have a shiny enamel appearance and are created through layers of oil, alkyd and acrylic on canvas stretched over boards, contain numerous shapes that resemble sickle cells and jellyfish.

“[I’ve] grown tired of the idea that each brush stroke was autobiographical,” Mann said. He abandoned the personal intimacy of a paint brush for the social intimacy of a squeegee. Mann’s newer paintings are thinner and fresher. He likes the new ambiguity that his most recent work conveys.

“I want people to be involved and feel a sort of intimacy,” Mann said. “I want people to feel transported by the work.”

The images, Mann said, are not about what the work could represent – he’s not interested in trying to reproduce an image. Mann is interested in combining science, which is considered objective and truthful, with art, which is generally deemed subjective and opinionated.

“I think there’s a poetry to science and a truth to art,” Mann said.

Mann wants to provide the viewer with an experience rather than a message. Yet Mann’s artist statement says, “The work embodies the sense of something about to happen, that experience of ‘being on the verge,’ nascent forms in the midst of generation. We are witnessing a cycle, some process, undetermined whether it’s beginning or ending.”

In a departure from Mann, Bolt describes his current work as three-dimensional structures containing fractured shapes along a horizontal continuum to create a composition. For the Flaten exhibit, he used two different sizes of wood panels, on which he created a collage element using shredded documents and magazine cut-outs to compliment the works’ acrylic paint and to reflect a cultural phenomenon.

On display are seven horizontal works entitled “Cambiata Figure (numbers 14, 10, 9, 16, 15, 13 and 12)” and three more vertical pieces called “Blind Alley (numbers 1, 3, and 4). “

Bolt explained during the opening reception that “Cambiata” refers to a certain audible illusion of sound. Bolt says this denial of understanding due to expectation is the element of surprise that he challenges himself to elicit through his work. He said his work will evoke viewers to deny and defy the usual approach to encountering a piece of artwork.

Bolt’s elongated pieces are intriguing in that the shredded media is hardly recognizable, but upon curious inspection, a viewer forms ideas about what social commentary comes from the composition.

For example, the piece “Cambiata Figure (#10)” contains partial images of skin, bodies, long-haired women, open mouths and white lace all viewed beneath blurs of red paint. The result is a combination that conjures an expression of sexuality and passion, even though Bolt claims no specific inferred meaning.

While some of the two artists’ pieces seem to be about making art that is visually pleasing, other works are quietly provocative. This exhibit is one to venture into singly, on a personal mission to activate the mind and body. The luminosity and vibrant colors of both Bolt’s and Mann’s paintings bounce off one another in a psychedelic experience which stimulates the senses. These introspection-inducing and thought-provoking works arrived just in time to rejuvenate a campus waking up from winter dormancy.

The art of Bolt and Mann will remain on display in the Flaten Museum until April 17.





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