Artists Nancy Mitchnick and Ryan Debolski will be feted with a reception Thursday, Sept. 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Center for the Visual Arts on UT’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.
Mitchnick’s paintings are on display in the Center for the Visual Arts Main Gallery, and Debolski’s photography is hanging in the Center for the Visual Arts Clement Gallery,
The reception for the artists will coincide with the Arts Commission 3rd Thursday Art Loop. The Center for the Visual Arts is a regular stop on the loop.
Prior to the reception, Mitchnick will present a talk on her work in the Toledo Museum of Art Little Theater from 5 to 6 p.m.Mitchnick started out in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. She moved to New York City in 1973, drove a taxi, worked in an after-hours joint, raised her daughter, taught at Bard College, and, after 10 years, had a well-received exhibition at Hirschl & Adler Modern, and two years later another one.
She was a full-time member of the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts for 10 years and was the Rudolph Arnheim Lecturer on Studio Arts at Harvard University for 15 years. Mitchnick has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant and a National Endowment for the Arts award.
Her work is emotional and strong, often various, and sometimes humorous. The exhibit on display is titled “Painting. Teaching.” It will be on display through Friday, Oct. 6. The Center for the Visual Arts Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“My current work is subject-driven. The new paintings depict disintegrating houses and small industrial buildings that stand as monuments to their former communities,” Mitchnick said. “Though politically relevant, this body of work [“Detroit: Dismantling Cities in Middle America”) is a love-poem to abandoned neighborhoods.
“I honor this decay, through seeing these structures clear — they are oddly bright and strong — a shell of a house, an old bakery building, luminous illogical color lingering on a surprising wall. A house that looks better without its roof. The corner garage painted blue to show someone cares. The sky has changed from the absence of industry. There is a kind of fullness in the emptiness and a cloying kind of joy in the decay: It’s the contradictions that make energy and grace.”Debolski studied photography at Cranbrook Academy of Art. He received a Fulbright Fellowship in 2014 to the Sultanate of Oman. His work has been exhibited in North America, Europe and Asia. In addition to his photographic projects, he is an editor of STAND, a visual-based journal surveying topics in contemporary photography.
His exhibition is titled “Break” and can be seen through Tuesday, Oct. 31. The Center for the Visual Arts Clement Gallery hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“The Sultanate of Oman sits isolated at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula nestled between deserts, mountains and the sea. This starkly beautiful landscape with inhospitable temperatures is home to a steady flow of foreign laborers from the Indian subcontinent. Migrant workers in the Gulf region comprise an increasingly large percentage of the local population. Labor contracts last for several years at a time, and Oman is often just a temporary stop as many continue on to other neighboring countries seeking more work,” Debolski said.
“Along the beaches near the capital of Muscat, migrant workers from adjacent worksites usually gather together to combat the boredom of routine work and social isolation. Subsequently, they tend to form intimate relationships with one another to deal with the harsh realities of migrant life.
“I spent a year in Oman walking along these same beaches unexpectedly forming a close bond with many of them,” he said. “Our relationship continued beyond the beach through the use of instant messaging applications. Among migrant workers, mobile phones are the only form of communication they have with their friends and families.
“I exchanged my photographs for a continuous stream of texts and selfies. The ensuing dialogues offered me a glimpse into the lives of these men and the extent of their situation. This shared experience of being outsiders in an unfamiliar culture informed the manner in which I documented our interactions together. The effects of migration are seen in the subtle moments of solitude, monotony and kinship that characterize the daily life of migrants in the Gulf.”
For more information on the free, public events, click here.