NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Art and The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House will present ‘Persona,’ three solo exhibitions featuring the work of Richie Budd, Kris Pierce and John Rasimus, running Feb. 7 through March 24 at the Cole Art Center. The show opens with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7.
“We are excited to host ‘Persona’ and have John Rasimus as a visiting artist,” said Erik Ordaz, gallery coordinator for Cole Art Center. “He will be working on site, and students from the School of Art will assist with the installation. It will be a wonderful opportunity for them to collaborate and learn from a renowned international artist.”
The artists describe “Persona” as loosely referencing Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 Swedish film of the same title – an experimental, psychological drama renowned for its perplexing suggestion that the two main characters experience a type of an emotional convergence. Formatted as three concurrent solo exhibitions, the artists’ work circles ideas relating to identity, duality and character as traits of humans’ inherent need to distinguish and validate their existence as individuals.
Through these individual presentations, the artists consider the development of persona in real and digital space, including involvement of physical senses. In different ways they each speak to a complicated desire to exist at the center of one’s own universe. Working within an anti-collaborative format, a web of connections between the artists’ approaches is revealed without the dynamics of a traditional group exhibition or the type of social alliance that informs much contemporary media.
In his exhibition “Dead Souls,” Budd presents new biomorphic sculptures that suggest meaning through shape and sensation. The forms include multi-sensory devices such as Halloween ghost projectors, sound components, fans that distribute the smell of essential oils, popcorn makers popping, and George Foreman Grills that allow the artist to cook hotdogs. Through these sculptures Budd hopes to entice an affective encounter for gallery visitors that cultivates their future memories.
Pierce’s new multimedia works in his exhibition “Oil Can Tremolo” explore virtual identity through a real-time gathering of sources from social media platforms. Concerned with how people project and perceive reality, Pierce reflects on the trend of main character syndrome; a TikTok phenomenon where people imagine and act out scenarios playing the “main character” in a fictionalized version of their lives. His works ask us to consider how aspects of self-assurance and confidence are understood in American culture, and how technology has the potential to transform healthy individualism into a type of harmful narcissism.
Swedish artist Rasimus uses drawing, print and animation to create ambitious large-scale installations that playfully challenge media characteristics and rest on illusion. For “Lost Dog,” his exhibition at the Cole Art Center, Rasimus presents a life-size wooden “doghouse” created from folded paper prints made to suggest the look of real wooden planks. Cartoonish and absurd, the lone structure presents itself as a delicate shelter for a runaway dog. Employing a style characterized by bold outlines, bright colors and references to cowboys and other signifiers of Western culture, Rasimus’ work is a dynamic, comedic mash up of Swedish wit and Texan honky tonk aesthetic.
“Persona” is a touring exhibition organized by the Art Galleries at Texas Christian University.
Admission to the exhibition and reception, which is sponsored in part by William Arscott and the Friends of the Visual Arts, is free. Gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (936) 468-5500.
About the Artists
Budd lives and works in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and is best known for creating performances, sculptures and installations involving the five senses. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions “Dumpster Dive,” Chelsea Mini-Storage, New York; and “Performance/Residue: Schläger,” Triangle Arts Association, New York, and group exhibitions “Julmarknad,” Galleri SE Konst, Falun, Sweden; “Schläger performance” at “Hands On An Art Body“ with Homecoming Committee, Oliver Francis Gallery, Dallas; and “The American performance,” VideoKonstFestival, Magasinet, Falun, Sweden. In addition to exhibiting his work, Budd has also taught studio art including appointments at Texas Christian University, Finnish Academy of Art, Helsinki, Finland, and the Bergen National Academy of Arts, Bergen, Norway.
Based in Fort Worth, Pierce’s practice explores the dynamic between virtual and physical identities. His work examines how human experiences are transformed in the digital world and considers, for example, how emotions, aspirations and relationships take on new meaning and forms through technology. Pierce has exhibited internationally and nationally in museums, galleries and public spaces, in solo and group exhibitions including at the Hiroshima Art Center, Japan; CICA Museum, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea; Gallerie Se Konst, Falun, Sweden; Reunion, Zurich, Switzerland; Circuit 12 Contemporary, Dallas; Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio; The Old Jail Art Center, Albany, Texas; The Dallas Museum of Art; RL Window, Ryan/Lee, New York City; and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art / The Momentary, Bentonville Arkansas.
Rasimus studied printmaking at the Art School of Falun and the Arts Students League in New York before completing his MFA at the Academy of Fine Arts in Umea, Sweden. His work has been exhibited widely in Sweden including recent solo exhibitions “allt är inte kattguld som glimmar...,” Galleri Alva, Umea, and “Dear Friends To Whom It May Concern /The Big Bang,” Gruvans Konsthall Falun. Rasimus has also participated in numerous international group exhibitions at venues including Centre3, Hamilton Canada; Galleria Rankka, Helsinki, Finland; and, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, U.K.