Texas artist inspires closer look at craft

Rylee Seavers | Broadcast Reporter

Art appreciation in real life can be very different from what students learn in the classroom. Baylor professor of art, Winter Rusiloski said looking at a work of art can be mechanical and quick, but truly seeing it requires more engagement with the piece.

“I don’t think you’ve really seen it until you’ve spent time looking closer, looking at the detail and, like I said, reading it,” she said.

The Martin Museum of Art is featuring an exhibit by Danville Chadbourne, a Texas-based artist who first began his work with clay, according to the exhibit guide.

“He has four exhibitions that he’s done, and this particular one is anything that is four feet tall and smaller. It’s a collection of both ceramic works and wood pieces, along with found objects,” said museum attendant, Elisa Crowder.

Crowder said the titles of Chadbourne’s works are very important. Early in his career, he would write poetry and create sculptures based on parts of those poems, she said. The artist no longer creates sculptures from poetry, but feels that a work is not finished until it has a title, she said.

Rusiloski said when she is looking at a work of art, she first describes the piece in detail — noting size, color, texture, physical appearance and materials used. These observations help her think about the meaning behind the piece.

“I think [Chadbourne’s] work is about imagination and opportunities to explore and be creative within the viewer. He wants the viewer to read the sculptures the way you might read a book or even think about it as a visual poem,” Rusiloski said.

Rusiloski also said everything about an artist’s works is intentional, even if a piece of art looks the way it does by chance.

“The artist is still making the decision to keep it that way,” she said.

Looking at a work of art for a longer period of time can also change the way one sees it. Rusiloski described a piece that she did not enjoy at first glance, but appreciated more when she noticed the relationships between the colors which the artist used.

“This became a piece I really enjoyed when I spent some more time with it and noticed all those things,” Rusiloski said of the piece, titled “In the Mist of Improbable Truth.”

Comparing different works of art by the same artist can also reveal characteristics of the works, in the same way that comparing different books by the same author can, she said.

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