Joe Chesla

Moments of Illumination: Drawn from the Liminal

January 31- to March 28, 2015

Gallery 210, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Gallery 210 opens the new year with “Joe Chesla: Moments of Illumination: Drawn from the Liminal” on January 31, 2015.

Chesla’s installations aim at engaging the viewer’s conscious and the unconscious at the same time. This is a state Chesla refers to as “non-focus”, a conceptual space between past and future, where one is completely present. Being present is being accessible to one-self. Our participation in the hyper-connected contemporary culture’s countless media sources mean we seem to be in a perpetual state of distraction. Chesla states,” We are accessible to the whole world, facebooking, texting, blogging, telephoning, but not accessible to ourselves. We’re out there but not back in here.” One goal in his work is to create flow “ . . . a place to calm down for a second and to have real time with yourself, that is thoughtful and meaningful. “

The tenets of 1960s and 1970s Minimalism and Process Art largely inform Chesla’s process as far as material orientation, practice and aesthetics are concerned. His installations are site-specific. He employs standardized units, and repetition in the design of his pieces and allows the fundamental character of his materials to remain. He refers to Richard Long and Agnes Martin as examples of artists who live their art and just do what they have to do. Their work, Chesla states, “is very clear, true and honest, and a big influence for me.”

Chesla’s aesthetic may be minimalist but his work is not the hermetic, self-referring, literalist works that were the signature style of the 1960s and 1970s. His installations are characterized by ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy, generous and poetic. Chesla states There is always a simplicity within my work that allows an entrance in to it. I believe, in simplifying something down so far that it just leaves you with yourself.

Of his work Chesla writes: “Using aspects of order, repetition, stillness and evolution, I create objects or spaces of unfocused awareness. Working with the organic-ness of materials and spaces, with the understanding of human perspective. Within these pieces, we experience manifestations of internal and external, cool and comforted, filtered and clarity of vision. We can see the world differently from within the installation as well as after our departure from it. We can find comfort in glacial speeds and spaces of great stillness. This work takes the viewer to that place of personal confrontation with beauty, stillness, isolation, and vast mindfulness.”

Chesla holds a MFA rom Utah State Universityand a BSA from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Recent solo exhibitoins include: Amalgam, CG Gallery, Edwardsville IL; Resuscitation, Luther College Gallery, Decorah IA; Fine Print, PHD Gallery, St Louis MO; Fleishman Hillard Gallery St Louis MO; Exposure 13, Gallery 210, St Louis MO; Letting Go a Breath, Schmidt Art Center, Belleville IL; Acoustical Compromise, Forest Park Contemporary Gallery, St Louis MO; Confluence, PHD Gallery, St Louis MO; Organic Press, UU Gallery, St Louis MO and many other solo and group exhibitions He is currenty a professor at St. Louis Community College at Meramac.

There is a public reception for the artist at Gallery 210 on February 21. There is a panel discussion with artists Joe Chesla and Meghan Grubb starting at 4:00PM. A public reception for the artists will follow from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. All Gallery 210 programs are and open to the public.

This exhibition is supported in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission; the Center for the Humanities, and the College of Fine Arts and Communication at UMSL.

Public parking for Gallery 210 is available at the South Millennium Parking Garage on the east side of East Drive on the UM-St. Louis Campus. Handicapped parking is available behind Gallery 210.

Gallery 210 is on the University of Missouri-St. Louis at 44 East Drive, TCC between the North UM-St. Louis Metro Station and the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The gallery phone is (314) 516-5976; the fax is (314) 516-4997; and email is suhret@umsl.edu. For parking locations, campus maps and directions to Gallery 210 please visit our website at umsl.edu/~gallery/.