INSPIRED COLLECTORS: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PERMANENT COLLECTION

Curated by John Loscuito and Anica Sturdivant

Sponsored by Gene and Lee Seidler, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture

August 17 - September 22, 2016


September 1  •  5pm Roundtable Discussion with reception to follow until 7pm

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Florida Gulf Coast University
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Why do we collect? Is it the desire to preserve art objects, support a rising artist, or to satisfy intellectual curiosity? Inspired Collectors creates a dialogue about our passions as collectors using gifts of art donated to the permanent collection. This will be the first time many of these works have ever been on public display, revealing the commitment these collectors have for the arts.

SAINT-SOLEIL STYLE PAINTINGS - Gift and Promised Gift of Richard Stephen and Ingela van Essen Conley

“This collection of Haitian paintings began by accident rather than by design, the first pieces from a gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. We were attracted to the Saint-Soleil style, and then gradually over twenty five years, we both added paintings and sold a number as well. With each piece we became more educated on the artists, all of whom are well recognized.

Included in museum collections and private collections, recounted in books and publications, these artists continue to inspire study and enthusiasm. The work strongly reflects these artists’ passions to create, to thrive and express a view of the world where, as Selden Rodman aptly expresses, ‘Art is Joy’.”

~ Richard Stephen and Ingela van Essen Conley


The ten paintings seen in this exhibition offer an introduction to some late 20th century art styles from Haiti. The Saint-Soleil art movement started in the 1970s and is one of the more well known, represented here through images of Loa, which are emanations of a supreme being, as well as evolved spirits of the dead. The paintings by Levoy Exil and Prosper Pierre Louis are examples of artists depicting Loa. Two paintings by Etienne Chavannes and Laurent Casimir are market scenes. These paintings, along with Louisiane Saint Fleurant’s and Gerard Fortune’s depiction of women, reveal additional genres coming out of Haiti.

Levoy Exil, Loa / Dream Interpretation (detail), 1994, Oil on canvas, Promised gift to FGCU Art Galleries from Richard Stephen and Ingela van Essen Conley



SELECTIONS OF ABSTRACT WORK OF ART - Promised Gift of Robert Feir

“From boyhood on, I have turned to art to enhance my life.  Frequent outings with my parents and class trips to museums helped open my mind to the endless variety of ways to see and appreciate the world.  My college art history course deepened my knowledge and greatly influenced how I learned everything else.  I began collecting as soon as I could afford to buy my first piece of art (my senior year of college), and my collection still grows, despite the decreasing availability of wall space.  My art has made me a better person; I love being surrounded by it every day and knowing that one day future generations of young people will get to share that feeling.”

~ Robert Feir


Unlike collectors who may be drawn to specific artists or art movements, Robert Feir’s collection reveals an appreciation of the physical characteristics of a work of art also known as the elements and principles of design. The results of this focus are a wide variety of potential groupings that can be seen throughout his collection. Artists that explore specific types of line, textures, colors and compositions begin to align themselves with each other throughout his collection. On display is a small sampling of these works grouped by the FGCU Art Gallery staff.

Josef Albers, Formation: Articulation, 1972, Screenprint, Promised gift to FGCU Art Galleries from Robert Feir



WORKS OF WARRINGTON COLESCOTT - Gifts of Rona Steingart and Carol Littleton Shay

“If you seduce, do it with wit and creativity. If you attack, do it with skill. If you educate, do your research. As a satirist, I try to have a lot of eye, good hands, and plenty of attitude.”

~ Warrington Colescott


Collecting institutions have the good fortune of mining works of art from a variety of donors. These five works from the world renowned artist Warrington Colescott come from two separate donations to the FGCU Art Galleries. While a single work of art may be appreciated, an artist’s style and message can be more fully understood by seeing a variety of works of art by that artist. These five works encompass drawing and a variety of printmaking techniques. Colescott’s strength as a satirist and a student of art history comes through loud and clear in this small but telling collection of works. His playful use of line within inventive pictorial storytelling is wonderfully displayed across different subject matters.

Warrington Colescott, The History of Printmaking: Rembrandt Bankrupt, 1977, Soft-ground etching and aquatint, ed. 32/75, Gift to FGCU Art Galleries from Rona Steingart



PAGE 21, PARAGRAPH 3 FROM ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG’S SHORT STORIES SERIES - Promised Gift of an Anonymous Donor

“Think of them as seeds. Provocative to arouse, without edit, the stories can change as time does.”

~ Robert Rauschenberg, 2001


Robert Rauschenberg’s Short Stories series was conceived and executed as a complete suite of work; each painting of equal size (7' x 5') was arranged in a pre-determined sequence. The paintings’ titles make reference to random page and paragraph numbers—for example, Page 97, Paragraph 5 and Page 11, Paragraph 8 — and on  are, by extension, visual stories that Rauschenberg has created for his audience. The resultant effect is such that, upon encountering and “reading” Rauschenberg’s work, the viewer feels as though he has been dropped into the middle of an unknown story. In the statement he wrote to accompany the original exhibition, Rauschenberg elaborates: “It can only be art, linger and wonder wherever your mind takes you. In this group of works there are no mistakes nor right, nor wrong. They are acronical of what you personally see or imagine. No tracks. No traces. Your story or dream and imagined or real these are your personal treasures to share or keep secret, choose to expand your reality or live it in the future…”

~ text from the exhibition press release for Robert Rauschenberg Short Stories by You Are the Author, Apr 04, 2003 – May 03, 2003, Pace Gallery, New York, NY

Robert Rauschenberg, Page 21, Paragraph 3 (Short Stories), 2001, Pigment transfer, acrylic and graphite on polylaminate, Promised gift to FGCU Art Galleries from Anonymous Donor



EXHIBITED ARTISTS AT FGCU ART GALLERIES - Gifts of T.L. Solien, Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Leila Leder Kramer and Juana Meneses

Each year FGCU Art Galleries curates new work from regional and national artists. As an educational institution, the mission of the gallery involves encouraging artists to take risks. The hope is that out of this partnership between the artist and curator comes some interesting new projects from artists. Three examples of work made for FGCU Art Galleries are on display here as generous gifts from the artists who have exhibited here.


The small pirate figure on the wall is from a large installation T.L. Solien created for his exhibition Yesterday, It Was Sunny in 2015. Solien created over seventy new cut out figures that filled an entire wall of the Main Gallery.


In one of the display cases are three white sculptural forms reminiscent of plants. Yevgeniya Kaganivich installed over a hundred of these sculptures made from reclaimed plastic bags for her exhibition in 2014 entitled Possibility of Function.


In another display case are six limited edition hand altered artist books by Amalia Caputo, Marina Font, Gamalia Hernandez, Angelica Londono, Toby Millman and Leila Leder Kramer. These books were commissioned by the curators Leila Leder Kramer and Juana Meneses, for the exhibition Self-Published: Artists Making Books, Editions and Zines in 2014.

Yevgeniya Kaganovich, grow (detail, excerpts from durational installation project), 2012 - present, Reclaimed plastic bags and plexiglas, Gift to FGCU Art Galleries from the artist



VITROGRAPH PRINTS FROM LITTLETON STUDIOS - Gift of Carol Littleton Shay

“I wanted to help promote the process and possibilities of this medium for the next generation. It’s his [Harvey Littleton] legacy. These works need to be seen in order to be known and remembered.”

~ Carol Littleton Shay


“Harvey Littleton devoted fifty years to revealing the potential of glass as a medium for artistic expression. His vision and enthusiasm led to collaborating with more than one hundred artists who have created compelling images while pioneering glass matrix printing at Littleton Studios. The Littleton Collection demonstrates the diversity and beauty of glass matrix printing and establishes vitreography as an important medium of artistic expression.”

~ Andy Owen, FGCU Associate Professor of Art


Vitrograph prints from this gift are on display in three areas in this exhibition. Ten works were selected for display as part of “Inspired Collectors.” Totaling over eighty works of art, the gift relates to a wide variety of artistic practices and themes, making it useful in studying art history and offering inspiration to students. As one of the  first major gifts to the FGCU Art Galleries, it sets the standard for collecting internationally recognized contemporary artists.

Dan Welden, Wrapped Switchbacks, 2007, Vitreograph, four color intaglio and siligraph, ed. 7/14, Gift to FGCU Art Galleries from Carol Littleton Shay



CROSSROADS OF ART AND SCIENCE DRAWINGS AND MAQUETTE - Gift of Michael Massaro, Artist in Residence

The Crossroads of Art and Science project is a residency and exhibition opportunity for professional artists to work collaboratively with FGCU faculty and students, exploring the overlaps between art and science. The drawings and sculptural maquette by Michael Massaro are from the 2015/2016 residency and exhibition entitled The Vanishing.


“The project compelled my seagrass ecology and marine conservation biology students to acquaint themselves with the diversity of marine organisms that dwell in seagrass beds, and to independently research one particular organism in great detail. I think this helped them really “see” the creature and its role in the environment, rather than just seeing an obscure Latin name on a list of species. The project also helped teach my science students about the creative and technical challenges of the artistic process, and about how art can aid science and vice versa.”

~ James Douglass, FGCU Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences


“There are many benefits to a project like this, personal and otherwise. It gave me a chance to expand myself by exploring subject matter more deeply than I normally would. This is a perfect model for sharing and networking between communities and has the strong potential for lasting bonds between not only the people involved directly with the project, but for the communities that are paired together.”

~ Michael Massaro

Michael Massaro, Fish Trap Study, 2016, Handmade sea grass paper, acrylic and ink, Gift to FGCU Art Galleries from the artist



PURVIS YOUNG PAINTINGS  -  Gift of Rubell Family Collection

"People don't say that birds fly too much, that Shakespeare wrote too much or that opera singers sing too much. But, it don't bother me that they say I paint too much, I just paint what I see and feel."

~ Purvis Young


Purvis Young was born in Miami’s Liberty City in 1943.  He was the epitome of the statement “Art isn’t about survival, it’s about transcendence.” He became an artist of the street without any formal training, making art generated from obsession and desperation. His first major work was a series of hundreds of painted panels attached to the walls of dilapidated buildings in Overtown, called “Goodbread Alley,” which provided Young with tremendous visibility and media attention. Within two years, he was given a show at what was then the Museum of Modern Art in Miami. As a result, galleries and collectors began to acquire his work. In all his work, Young points to the consequences of racism, to the plight of the underprivileged, to years of neglect, and to the cosmos of despair.


In 2010, the Rubell Family Collection (Miami, FL) made a gift of thirty-one Purvis Young mixed media paintings to FGCU Art Galleries. The Rubell Family Collection Museum is one of the leading collections of contemporary art in the world.  The collection features rotating exhibitions of work by prominent artists.

Purvis Young, Untitled (Figures and Mountains), 1985 - 1999, Mixed media, Gift to FGCU Art Galleries from Rubell Family Collection




TEN ARTISTS: TEN YEARS - PORTFOLIO FROM UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE

Gift of Rona Steingart

"I have been an art collector since I finished my undergraduate work at Washington University St. Louis and my M.S. at the University of Wisconsin.  As a fine arts major with a minor in art history I developed a passionate interest in learning everything I could about producing artists and their work. My collection of work by Wisconsin artists began after finishing my education. Developing a friendship with the artists as well as buying their work has enriched my life."

~ Rona Steingart


Ten Artists: Ten Years was published by the University Wisconsin Milwaukee in 1973 as a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the School of Fine Arts. This portfolio along with three of the works by Warrington Colescott are but a few of the works gifted to the FGCU Art Galleries from Rona Steingart. This gift of prints compliment the vitreograph prints from Littleton Studios by showing some different printing techniques. Lithographs, woodcuts, serigraphs, collagraphs, intaglios and photographs are all here inviting the viewer to examine how these unique processes contribute to an artist’s vision.

Joseph Friebert, Picnic, 1973, Lithograph, ed. 41/50, Gift to FGCU Art Galleries from Rubell Family Collection