Not Your Average Carnival
Artist Angie Zielinski Opens Exhibition in Solomon Gallery
By Ashley Custer
The department of art introduced an exhibition and lecture by Angie Zielinski this week.
Angie Zielinski is a cross-disciplinary artist whose work is inspired by fireworks, explosions, carnivals and other playful or crowded summer festivities.
The exhibition is located in the Judith Rae Solomon Gallery on the second floor of Bliss Hall and will be available for viewing from March 21 to 31. The lecture took place on Monday at the McDonough Museum of Art.
Zielinski is from St. Louis and received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Millikin University in Illinois and her masters from Bowling Green State University. She taught for five years at Idaho State University as an assistant professor of painting and drawing and then in 2012 moved to Tucson, Arizona to teach at the University of Arizona.
Zielinski began her lecture by discussing three paintings she did 10 years ago when she left graduate school: “Juicy Corn,” “Cake Walk” and “Blue Bath.”
“In graduate school, I worked primarily with painting and drawing,” Zielinski said. “I did print making, but I followed zero rules and did a lot of things wrong, so some of that translates into these paintings.”
Her work at that time was primarily abstract, which she related to her real life experiences.
“The work I was making started to become a lot about telling stories and narrative components of images,” Zielinski said. “I made very abstract work that was driven by emotion and personal issues. They were so much about me, and I didn’t want it to be a diary and so I just had a very difficult time speaking about that work. These pieces are a lot about me getting over that.”
One of her favorite artists and a huge personal inspiration for Zielinski is artist Tara Donovan.
“She was the first person I saw when I was about 20, and she used materials to an extent like paper plates, pencils, napkins or straws to command a space and transform them into something much greater than what they are,” she said.
Another person Zielinski mentioned that she has gained interest in is cultural icon Martha Stewart. She said that Stewart exuded ease when creating anything, despite its actual difficulty.
“I like that she has a soothing voice, and she talks you through things and I’ve learned that when having people help me with my installations they are just very slow and careful and don’t want to mess it up and I’ve done it for months so it’s very easy,” she said. “I often think back to how you can instruct someone to do what comes so naturally to you.”
Zielinski admits her motifs don’t necessarily change. She doesn’t lose interest in them, she just figures out new ways to make them work in an image or installation, such as fringe or shiny objects.
Her installation in the Solomon Gallery is called “Wander Wondering.” The piece was made specifically for the space in the gallery. It contains about 50 rolls of metallic paper that are ripped in strips and put in sections of four and then fringed. It took Zielinski about 20 hours to put the piece up and is estimated to take four hours to take down. There are a total of 336 gold panels.
“I had gold paper left over that hung on my wall for about five years,” Zielinski said. “I thought about how I could utilize the space in the gallery, which has these moving walls. The point was to use the same material over and over to surround you with. It’s shiny and metallic, and it looks exciting and when you get in there it slowly becomes warm and your eyes start to hurt because it becomes overwhelming.”
Zielinski said the space is supposed to incite thought, hence the title. She hopes it makes those who enter the space feel uncomfortable and not be perceived as a happy experience.