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Gallery spotlight: paper carries weight at Pizzuti Collection

‘The Flag Today’ and ‘The Flag Today’ (inverted) by Alex Dodge featured in the Pizzuti Collection in Columbus. Credit: Sydney Riddle | Lantern Reporter

Sculpture is taking a back seat to paper in the latest exhibits hitting the Pizzuti Collection.

The first exhibition, “Lines/Edges: Frank Stella on Paper,” celebrates artist Frank Stella’s four-decade-long experimentation with print and collage.

“Pair,” the second exhibition, features works  by artists Alex Dodge and Glen Baldridge. The gallery will be the first edition of a series that juxtaposes two separate artists in the same exhibition.

“We want to create a proximity of different things to start a conversation,” head curator Greer Pagano said. “We chose to present these young artists with Frank Stella to showcase emerging artists with a modern master.”

“Lines/Edges” is an extensive collection of Stella’s work that shows the evolution of his practice, Pagano said. She said Stella got into print-making about a decade into his career as a painter and drew inspiration from wherever he could.

“He is completely driven by the shape of the canvas,” Pagano said. “You look at the pieces we have and see that he embraces change and challenges. He’s focused on the narrative as much as possible.”

The collection features a handful of series from his career, such as the “Circuits” series that is inspired by his love of auto racing and racetracks around the world, and nine of the 266 works in the “Moby Dick Deckle Edges” series, a decade-long obsession with Herman Melville’s epic novel, “Moby Dick.”

Pagano said Stella was fascinated by the sheer energy and momentum of Melville’s novel, which inspired him to create a piece for every chapter. The large-scale works feel as if they are moving throughout the multiple layers of paint, metal work, woodwork and collages as they imitate the flow of the ocean, the expanding shape of cigar smoke rings, and the texture of barnacles on a whale.

“At 82 years old, he’s still challenging himself with new technology and materials, with inspiration taken from everyday life,” Pagano said.

“Pair” is the first exhibition of a new series, Pagano said. The idea is to start a conversation by placing two artists in the same exhibition, in this case Dodge and Baldridge, whose work Ron Pizzuti has been collecting since 2005. Both are graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design and share a studio space together in New York.

”Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow” by Glen Baldridge featured in the Pizzuti Collection in Columbus. Credit: Sydney Riddle | Lantern Reporter

Both artists work in multiple disciplines between new media and fine art. Dodge explores technology as it interacts with and shapes human experience, while Baldridge focuses more on the unseen, peering into remote and unknown places at the edge of society and nature.  

“Alex and I both have a fluid approach to using process and technology to achieve various conceptual and/or aesthetic effects,” Baldridge said in an email.

Pagano said she decided to pair these two artists together due to their multidisciplinary approach such as printmaking, photography and scratch-off ink, as well as their humorous commentary on today’s culture of consumerism, environmental and political issues and the daily overloads of information created by modern technology.

“Seeing 12 years of work from Glen and I chronicled side by side is not only moving on a personal level, looking back on the years, but it also paints a picture of how the world has changed,” Dodge said in an email.

Elements of the artwork include a variety of ideas and themes. For example, the gallery features Dodge’s paintings of the American flag draped over hidden objects and Baldridge’s boards decorated with bullet hole decals spelling out “The End’s Not Near, It’s Here’” and “Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow.”

The Pizzuti Collection is located at 632 North Park St. and is free to members, $12 for adults and $10 for senior citizens. The gallery is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.

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