Local Artists Check-in: Lydia Moyer, Clay Witt, Dean Dass

Posted on February 26, 2014 by

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visionary workbook galleryThere is nothing better than when the minds of individual artists come together and collaborate in order to create a cohesive work. Visionary Workbook, an installation that will open this Friday in Ruffin Gallery, is the collaboration of around thirty artists composed of UVA faculty, alumni, and visiting artists who are together called The Printmakers Left.

The final piece of a three-part series, Visionary Workbook began like a blank canvas with a set of directions that was sent to each member of the group across geographic lines. The product is the individual work of prints, paint, sculpture, bookbinding, and lots of color that collectively create a cohesive group installation. Visionary Workbook culminates in not only an installation but also a publication that is meant to be distributed and that includes a blank workbook in order to reenact the project.

I had the opportunity to get the Cville perspective from three locals that are a part of Visionary Workbook: Lydia Moyer, Clay Witt, and Dean Dass.

See Visionary Workbook this Friday, February 28th at Final Fridays, 5:30-7:30pm.

visionary workbook gallery 2

lydia moyerLydia Moyer

When and why did you start making art? What mediums have you worked with, or particularly enjoy?

I’ve been a maker of things for as long as I can remember. When it became art is a more complicated question, I guess. I’ve worked with lots of different mediums including glass and metal and painting but at this point, most of the work I do is either film or photo based.

What message(s) do you convey through your art? What do you want people to take from seeing your art?

Rather than a message I like to imagine viewers walking away from my work with a feeling of some kind – what kind depends on the particular work. It can be tricky as an artist to get too attached to a specific message because I think work can become pedantic really quickly when that happens. It doesn’t leave much room for viewers to have their own experience or to form their own attachment to a piece.

Favorite place in Cville to… be creative?

Home

Favorite place in Cville to… see art?

I like the music at the Garage in the warmer weather. And Second Street is good for something to look at.

What should we look forward to at the upcoming Final Fridays installation “Visionary Workbook,” in Ruffin Hall?

A lot to see – it’s a show built of many, many small pieces that come together, hopefully, as a whole that is even greater than the sum of its parts.

clay wittClay Witt

When and why did you start making art? What mediums have you worked with, or particularly enjoy?

I have done art my entire life, and I feel as though most artists would say this. I have worked with all mediums, including sculpture, printmaking, painting, and some video stuff. Primarily my work now is a combination of printmaking and painting- they are traditional and old-fashioned techniques, but I try to update the imagery; imagery that suggests religious art, icons, ritualistic artwork; artwork that functions as a part of some sort of ritual or ideology.

What message(s) do you convey through your art? What do you want people to take from seeing your art?

I try to avoid cramming things down peoples throat. I like to present an image. I work with imagery and symbols that are generalized to most traditions and cultures so people can make their own path. I am interested in animals and fables. I think if you put an animal in a piece of artwork you can suggest all sorts of things such as stories from childhood or interest in the natural world. I am really trying to be non-specific as far as traditions go.

There is no political message or required interpretation. Part of me kind of thinks that if you have to explain your artwork you have failed already. I think it should stand alone without too much explanation. I have always liked things that can be appreciated externally from its context and I think it is interesting if it appeals aesthetically or intellectually.

Favorite place in Cville to… be creative?

My studio.

I can get inspired anywhere really. I like to look at art and art books, but for me, really, I don’t need external inspiration much. Being an artist is mostly just work. If you sit around waiting for inspiration it may never come.

It goes back to the notion that art is a flash of brilliance; great artists are those who develop their work over time. That’s what being an artist is about- doing your work like anything else.

Favorite place in Cville to… see art?

Second Street Gallery

What should we look forward to at the upcoming Final Fridays installation “Visionary Workbook,” in Ruffin Hall?

This is our third show, and what is most interesting is that you have so many different artists of different materials, traditions, and ideologies brought together around a similar idea.

There is something for everyone in the show!

dassDean Dass

When and why did you start making art? What mediums have you worked with, or particularly enjoy?

I’ve been making art since early childhood. Growing up my siblings and I often stayed in the summers with my grandparents, on the family farms in northern Iowa. My maternal grandfather, Virgil Liittschwager, was an amateur oil painter and he taught me to hunt, fish, and to paint with oils.

What message(s) do you convey through your art? What do you want people to take from seeing your art?

That is a very difficult and complex question, just impossible to address in any brief format; it is very much like asking “what is the meaning of life.” I wish to convey through my art that life is deep, mysterious and meaningful; that we are fragile creatures, living in contingency. We always aspire to what we cannot know or be.

Favorite place in Cville to… be creative?

My studio; my home away from home.

Favorite place in Cville to… see art?

1. Ruffin Gallery 2. Fralin Art Museum 2. Second Street Gallery

What should we look forward to at the upcoming Final Fridays installation “Visionary Workbook,” in Ruffin Hall?

Maggie Sullivan will perform during the reception. OMG, don’t miss that.

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