O'Fallon artist is part of 'Natural World' exhibit at SWIC
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
That's what Tony Schanuel of O'Fallon tries to do in his artwork.
He says he laments the fact that with iPods and Xboxes, children today may feel closer to the virtual world than the natural one. So, Schanuel mixes his camera with his computer to explore, experiment and express his love for the natural world in bold new ways.
"And, therein lies the irony," he says on his Web site. "My hope is that the viewer will connect or reconnect with awareness to the wonder of our natural world by seeing that world through the very tools that threaten to alienate us from nature."
Take a peek for yourself tonight when the William & Florence Schmidt Art Center in Belleville opens its newest exhibit, "Technology and the Natural World: New Work by Tony Schanuel and Adam Long." A free reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. with an artist's talk at 7.
Once a professional photographer, Schanuel has long been intrigued by manipulating images in the darkroom. He says his earliest art was created by sandwiching color transparencies in the printing process, creating images that were "photographic yet surreal."
"Fifteen years ago, I jumped into the digital world with my first Macintosh computer," he says now. "The computer gave me new freedom to express, create, experiment and explore realms of reality in ways I never could have imagined."
But it was wasn't just the technology that changed him. Over the years, his work has been inspired by both the art of Dali, Escher and Miro and the writings of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and Antonio Machado. He has combined all of that with his Zen mediation to explore what he calls the real last frontier -- the unseen world of consciousness.
For the next month, his work will be paired with Adam Long of St. Charles, Mo., who carves figures from bark and other natural materials. Both Long and Schanuel have studios at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, Mo.
"While the title of this exhibit sounds as different as night and day, Tony and Adam are really doing the same thing -- celebrating the mystery of nature using different tools," said Libby Reuter, the art center's curator.
Also opening tonight is work by painter-printmaker Thorsten Dennerline. The exhibit, "Thorsten Dennerline: Book Art," is a collection of lithographs, etchings and woodblock prints that "represent the psychological and political implications of a relationship," Reuter said.
The exhibits will be on display through Sept. 22. The center, located on the Belleville campus of Southwestern Illinois College, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with extended hours to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is free.
For more information, go to the gallery Web site at www.schmidtartcenter.com or the artists' sites at www.foundryartists.com and www.birdpress.com or call 222-5278.
Belleville News-Democrat ©August 2006