Short Stories, Long Views- Hatlestad, Rosell, DeWitt
Short Stories, Long Views is an exhibit of sculptures by three Chicago-area artists who ingrate found and constructed objects to harvest an emotional array of once-hidden natural and ancestral voices, pulling them to the surface where the stories can be seen. The visual narratives tether us to that which came before, serving as a road map to a weathered past and a bridge to our untold future. We invite the viewer to step across time with us, to tread on lost land, to listen to the old ghosts and to discover the stories for themselves.
Artist's Statements and Bios
John is a sculptor who works in metal and wood, combining found objects that have often been discarded or neglected and reassembling them to make artwork of transformation.
He has shown most recently at Stola Contemporary Gallery in Chicago and has won numerous commissions with Chicago Sculpture International and Art Expressions. He also works on commission on custom woodworking and furniture.
Throughout history man has made virtually everything he has needed to survive. Today there is scarcely anything that has not been prepared for us. I continue to make my own objects, not out of need but the desire for the work. I often incorporate objects whose time of utility and beauty has come and gone. All were once admired for their simple elegance, but discarded when something newer came along. By reusing these items I hope to honor and revive the images of their original beauty. In combining them with my own design I seek to celebrate and unify the accomplishments of man.
Ours is a world of various and expanding chasms. By taking what is in my heart and head and expressing it thru my hands I hope to bridge the gap between my descendants and myself, and offer to my children a model to emulate, if not in form, than in sprit.
Eric Rosell is a Chicago area artist who tells stories through his artwork. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, he was exposed to a more industrial landscape that included steel mills and junkyards. He has been a collector of broken and discarded items from a young age, always imagining what stories they could tell. His exposure to art came at an early age as both he and his mother would make regular visits to the Art Institute of Chicago and escape to other worlds. After attending Illinois State University for a couple of years he transferred to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to study painting, where he earned his BFA in Painting and Drawing.
While at SAIC, he found a book on assemblages in the school library and discovered a new way to tell stories. After graduating, he moved to Lake County where he currently resides with his family. He has been creating work for almost 30 years and exhibiting throughout the midwest.
Storytelling joins us together. It was how we – no matter what culture – communicated, long before the written word. It has remained a uniquely powerful and personal tool used to document the human experience. My work is my stories.
My father was a great storyteller – and that was how it began for me. Through him I discovered the nuances of details and the ways they lend themselves to the telling of a story. My work was born of that desire, that need to give creative structure and substance to my memories.
These are my stories. I use found objects to communicate to the viewer. The materials I use resonate inside me and the marriage of these objects represent my stories. Often, the themes are born of a dream, a song or a photo that triggers a memory. The use of text brings additional meaning and serves as a tribute to the power of the written word.
My objective is not necessarily to convey my specific story to the viewer, rather I invite them to bring their own meaning to the pieces and create their own story.
Doug DeWitt is a Chicago-area artist and ecologist whose multi-disciplinary work is inspired by natural history and Midwest landscapes. Originally from northwestern Ohio, DeWitt spent many childhood hours exploring his grandparents’ farm buildings and catching crawdads in the creek near his home. He received a BFA in graphic design from Bowling Green State University in 1985, then moved to New England to experience the coastal landscape while working in Boston. Returning to the Midwest, DeWitt earned an MA in Studio Arts from Illinois State University in 1990. He designed exhibits featuring natural history, wildlife and anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History and John G. Shedd Aquarium, both in Chicago, where his love of nature, science and history merged with his art. DeWitt exhibits his artwork throughout the Chicago region and beyond. He is currently an ecologist and land manager with Tallgrass Restoration, LLC, a private firm that restores native prairies, woodlands and wetlands, a profession that continues to inspire his art.
My abstract found-object constructions, drawings, land art, painting and other media are inspired by immersions in landscape, by the colors and textures of weathered materials, and by changes occurring over time. My work presents nature without denying the intrusions of humanity while evoking memories of specific places and times in the landscape.