Recent Works by C.J. Pressma and Keith Kleespies
The exhibition Outta Sight! The Inner Vision of Two Blind Guys presents the work of Louisville artists C.J. Pressma and Keith Kleespies. “Both are professional artists who have, in recent years, dealt with developing vision impairment,” says Carnegie Center curator Karen Gillenwater. “At this stage, they have both lost their sight in one eye and are losing sight in the other. Their light-hearted exhibit title illustrates the attitude and approach they have brought to their vision loss.” The works of art included in this exhibition are the result of opportunities that they have created, through incorporating into their work new imagery, new techniques and new subject matter, in order to continue to develop their art as their vision changes. They emphasize that the “inner vision” illustrated in their artworks is the most important element—and one that no physical condition can affect. The exhibit Outta Sight! The Inner Vision of Two Blind Guys is generously sponsored by the Carnegie Center, Inc
As his vision has changed, C.J. Pressma has created a series of artworks that are made up of multiple images that are broken and then collaged together into one visual whole. Through playing with scale and repetition, he was able to see the individual elements in new ways, both visually and conceptually. Therein also lies his interest in sparking dialogue with the viewer to add to and fully develop the meaning of each piece. The selection of artworks in this exhibition may seem to focus more on individual images, but even when they are not combined into one work of art, his images are often found in sets or series that are intended to be viewed together so that the combination informs the experience of each. Pressma has recently delved into bookmaking in order to present a series of images in sequence to further add to the ways in which viewers can explore his art.
Emotion and meaning for the viewer is central to Keith Kleespies’ art as well. A vein of humor runs through his imagery and subject matter, but it often encounters isolation and, at times, tragedy. When asked about the humor in his works, he quoted British actor Peter Ustinov who said, “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” His style and subject matter share an affinity with comics and illustration, which were early inspirations for him. For an artist who is grounded in drawing, Kleespies has found ways to use technology, such as photography, to continue and add to his work as his vision changes. Several of the works of art in this exhibit started as line drawings, which Kleespies then scanned and manipulated digitally, adding color and changing the scale to create large digital prints. In the end though, the drawing forms the foundation of the artwork and its integrity.
There are a number of free programs scheduled in conjunction with this exhibit, including two gallery talks with the artists and a lunchtime program on Mary Ingalls, who was stricken blind at age 14 and relied on younger sister Laura Ingalls (Wilder) to be her eyes. Programs that require registration are marked by an asterisk; registration can be made by calling 812-944-7336. “Lunch and Learn” programs are sponsored by the Carnegie Center, Inc.