my tiger, my heart: upcoming exhibition at semantics gallery

as some of you no doubt know, i help run an alternative gallery space in the Brighton neighborhood of Cincinnati (just west of downtown) called semantics. for the most part, i try to keep some kind of separation between my role as critic and my role as teammate/conspirator/co-curator of the gallery. as i work my way through this blog, i will have to decide how much i will use it as an additional platform for semantics gallery, which i love dearly. but for now, i want you to know from me about an upcoming exhibition a close friend has put together.

so today starts my torrents of support for Eric Ruschman's first solo exhibition. i share a studio with Ruschman and have watched this body of work develop with anticipation. for now, i'll let the press release spark your interest rather than waxing to excess over my own interpretations of his artwork. i will no doubt continue reminding you of this exhibition as we get closer and closer to the opening date.

semantics gallery
1107 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45214

my tiger, my heart
paintings and improvisations by Eric Ruschman

(a detail of his painting St. Kitten as Salome; oil and enamel on MDF panel)

March 7—28th, 2009
Opening reception: Saturday, March 7th, 7—10 pm
Show & Tell: Saturday, March 21st, 7—10 pm
Visitors to the gallery are invited and encouraged to bring an object, song, film clip, game, toy, story or anything that brings them joy to stimulate discussion about life’s simple pleasures.
Between Aging & Anti-Aging: Film Night at semantics: Saturday, March 28th, 7—10 pm
Visitors are invited into the gallery for an evening of short films and video presented by the artist that further explores themes represented within the exhibition.
Gallery hours are 12—4 pm on Saturdays.
Gallery appointments can also be made by contacting the artist at 859-409-0549

In his first solo exhibition, Eric Ruschman will present a new body of small, highly crafted oil and enamel paintings on panel, accompanied by installations of figurines and other gathered products, offering a playful arrangement of colorful objects and imagery for viewers to explore. Fueled by a taste for good design, celebrations of friendships and pop culture, and a love of animals and color, these works are smart, concise dialogues between personal iconography and Modern approaches to image.

Ruschman’s paintings populate color fields of hard-edged, geometric abstraction with a cast of anthropomorphized characters and objects. The resulting coming-of-age stories are steeped in the nostalgia of simpler, childhood memories and attempts to define an aesthetics of regained innocence.

In one series of paintings created for this exhibition, the artist has depicted the various adventures and encounters he has observed in the life of his black cat, Saint Kitten. Like Virgil, she guides the viewer through encounters with squirrels, a wish list of new
IKEA furniture, and other experiences that are keyed to the maximum potential for the viewer’s disarmament.

Whereas Ruschman’s paintings are rigidly planned then executed, the installations of objects on shelves and pedestals included in this exhibition employ intuition and critical play as a means of cultivating surprisingly direct compositions and narratives. These physical situations draw some of the formal qualities represented in the two-dimensional paintings out into the viewer’s space, encouraging wonderment and imagination into realized environments.

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