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College of Arts & Sciences
School of Visual Art and Design

Fingerreisen an exhibition by Elisabeth Pellathy and Lee Somers

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 9:00am to Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 4:30pm

Please join us for the Opening Reception, Thursday August 25th form 5-7pm with a gallery talk by Elisabeth Pellathy and Lee Somers at 5:30pm.

Mapping from a bird’s eye view was created for charting land ownership and obtaining statistics and strategic data. Cartesian logic and the rational gridding of information impose order on a highly subjective experience. But what do such perspectives offer? An abstract view of the earth seen by a hovering
eye makes the world before us something alien. Yet maps are participatory, inviting the viewer to travel - at least with their pointer finger - roads and lands both known and unknown. Fingerreisen is the German term for such imaginary journeys taken by both the hand and mind interacting with maps. Lee Somers and Elisabeth Pellathy undertake such journeys in their interpretations of maps. 

Both artists use maps as a starting point for imaginary journeys and as a visual record of the experience of place. Somers uses maps glued to plywood as structural planes, intricately cutting along meandering lines of roads and waterways, and layering planes in space in a stacked topography of juxtaposed memories and locations. This investigation extends to manipulating topographic data using digital design and fabrication tools, milling mountain forms from recycled piano wood, exposing the history of the material and recalling geologic strata. Pellathy’s maps are a hybrid of real weather maps and her own conception of how her environment might appear from above. Both visions of place are ephemeral and transitory, but are meticulously recorded in permanent compositions. In her video work, she investigates landforms created by alternately converging and diverging horizon lines in an ever-shifting frame, liquefying distinctions between frontal and aerial viewpoints.

Lee Somers hails from the Southwest; his formative years spent exploring the mountains and deserts.  A traveller, Lee draws inspiration from experiences living, working, and wandering in a variety of locations.  Fascinated with ceramics since childhood, he earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field at Alfred University School of Art and Design. Lee has been teaching college level art since 2006, including three years in Beijing at the China Central Academy of Fine Art.  He currently teaches 3D Design at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama.  His work in ceramics and mixed-media investigates the landscape as an intersection of natural and cultural history.  Lee’s studio practice incorporates a variety of materials and processes, with experimentation and chance playing an active role.  His work was recently featured in a solo exhibition at the Jane Hartsook Gallery, Greenwich House Pottery, NY, and in the annual Art in Craft Media exhibition at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.  His works are in the permanent collections of the United States Embassy, Beijing, and in the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred, NY.

Elisabeth Pellathy is a multi-disciplinary artist, utilizing drawing, printmaking, electronic media and digital fabrication in her work.  Issues raised by the disappearance of species, language, culture and information are the catalyst for her visual explorations.  As a first-generation American, she is keenly aware of the effort to preserve the disappearing, and the poetic slippage that often results.  Pellathy holds an MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts from Alfred University School of Art and Design.  She has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, and the Institute for Electronic Arts, Alfred, NY.  Her work has been shown at Loop Video Festival, Barcelona, Spain; Proteus Gowanus Gallery, NYC; Colorado State University Art Museum, Fort Collins, CO; and George Mason University Center for the Arts, Fairfax, VA.  Pellathy is currently an assistant professor of New Media at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.