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APRIL / MAY  2006 
Jim Rettinger
Arbitrary Selection

April 28 - May 21, 2006
Helena Davis and Frable Galleries

By Jim rettinger

Opening Reception for the Artists
Friday, April 28, 2006

7:00-10:00 pm
featuring music by DEBO DABNEY TRIO

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February 2006

Retired Art Teacher, Seneca Valley High School, Harmony, PA
B.S. in Art Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Masters in Art, Edinboro University

My personal focus since retiring in 1999 from teaching Art in public schools (38 years) has been an intensive regimen of creating personal work, now multi-media sculpture. The work pronounces an individualistic one-of-a-kind stature on character, simply because I am the person I am. I believe that the work does arrive at its own continuity that examines the human condition. I emphasize and challenge traditional art materials, like clay, in combination with discovered found objects.

I do know, looking at Art histories, that I have debts to pay to David Smith, Jasper Johns, Goya, Giacometti, Westerman, John Cage and others.

Over the course of about the last 3 years, some exhibits included:
  • One work in the 2005 Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors traveling exhibit.
  • Two works shown in the Appalachian Corridors Exhibit, Charleston, West Virginia, juried by Faith Ringgold.
  • Awards received in competitive shows at the Butler Art Center and at the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, both in Pennsylvania.
  • Exhibits in juried shows of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, with two works in the Regina Gallery, Carnegie Mellon
    University, and one work at the Frick Gallery, University of Pittsburgh.
  • Two works shown at the History Through Art 2005 Exhibition at Seton Hill University.
  • Two works shown at the 2005 Pittsburg Society of Artists at the 3rd Street Gallery in Carnegie, Pennsylvania
  • Three one-person shows:
    "Seek and Find," 2004 Le Poire Galelry, Crafton, Pennsylvania, in Drawings, Paintings and Sculpture (reviewed by Kurt Shain, Pittsburgh Tribune’s "The Brutal Truth"

    "Slinky Thinking," 2005 Brew House Space, Pittsburgh South Side, exhibited 29 sculpture works (reviewed by Bill O’Driscoll, Pittsburgh City paper "Objectivism")

    Former Seneca Valley Art Teachers Show "Past-Present Works," 16 drawings, paintings and sculpture, a pedagogical approach with student lecture and installation "Hidden Behind Walls" using mirrors in a small door opening for projecting into unknown space

  • Other one-person shows (now in preparation):
    June-July 2006, Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, Pennsylvania

    October-November 12006, Panazza Gallery, Millvale, Pennsylvania

    Jim is a member of several Artists Groups, including:
    - Associate Artists of Pittsburgh
    - Pittsburgh Society of Artists
    - Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors
    - Fine Arts Guild, Newcastle, PA
    - Associate Artists of Butler County


    Our civilization is blasted, bombarded and blighted with imagery – magazine pages, along road sides, on TV, and now computer screens. Meaningful and meaningless spew forth into the same soup. A failure to decipher highway directives can result in violent collisions and death or just plain being lost without a sense of direction.

    The messages are clear, measured, directive and precise in the mind of the sender, usually in the form of commercial advertising. It’s the perceiver, the ordinary person, who has the problem. Those competitive messages become confusion. Communication becomes a matter of chance. Knowing is arbitrary.

    For my art, I follow the pattern of my culture. I do use the usual art media – clay, paint or plaster – but I include ordinary found objects – both man-made and natural. Real is better than representational. My subject becomes arbitrary. Picasso said, "I don’t seek. I find." Objects are selected impulsively – what appeals to me at the time. I use what I find. Walt, my country friend, tells me repeatedly, "Stuff happens."

    My domain for organization and presentation is a horse of a different color. It is deliberate and more thought out. It is an agony of thought, with decision making and personal challenge. Would the work be better if I attached the plumbing fixture to the ceramic arm or if I turned the whole thing inside out. The purpose is to bring everything together with a single voice. I look for connections, balance, movement, contradictions and repetitions. I follow Jasper John’s tenet, "You take something and add it to something, then do something else." It is the structural configuration that provides the work with a web for personal interpretation.

    Meaning cannot be prescribed. For me, I often discover personal meaning before I create and while I create, but more often after I create. This works. It leads toward the journey of my next work. As always, my next work will be my best work.

    -- Jim Rettinger

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