Tonal Apparitions by Cristian Andersson

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Cristian Andersson is a Wisconsin-based painter and performance artist. He first studied painting under Mario Castillo at Columbia College in Chicago, and then (after a decade hiatus from art) photography and performance-based work at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay.
Starting in 2016, Andersson’s work moved in two directions. Commissioned to create a painting for the 50th Anniversary of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, an evening featuring Itzhak Perlman, Andersson’s abstract paintings developed into his Symphonic Series—static soundscapes that captured the works of composers such as Kaija Saariaho and Iannis Xenakis in oil paint. He continued that work until late 2021. Concurrent to creating the Symphonic Series, Andersson developed an arching story he called Social Amnesia.

From 2018–2020, Andersson’s Social Amnesia work encompassed paintings, installations, and performance, most notably a six-month transcription of a Twitter feed into a nearly forty foot wide by nine foot tall wall of text he calls the Scriptorium. In his youth, bringing an Atari 2600 system to a Thanksgiving dinner, Andersson noticed the power tech had to disrupt social norms. From those rudimentary observations, Andersson later began a deep dive into the power of social media, and the manipulative nature of algorithms. It is at this time Andersson began to collaborate again, working with contemporary choreographer and dancer Katharina Abderholden. Together they created EARTH||AIR, a performance piece describing how Andersson views the struggle of identity and personhood online, as well as the inherent disparity between a physical presence and an abstraction molded via the Internet of the other when engaged in conversation. From there, Andersson and Abderholden collaborated again on I Feel a Second Heart, a video performance detailing an individuals life choices that mirrored some of the struggles that Andersson felt himself.

2022 brings in new work, and a new story. If Social Amnesia was a cautionary tale, Andersson has plans to develop a body of work under the name Going Back to Human–work that aims to bring new views of connection to each other and ourselves though more physical and direct means.

Mark Weller's art explores the fourth dimension, Time. That element is integral to his art. Unlike traditional photography which captures three dimensions, Weller seeks a higher truth by examining the effects of time on the subjects he photographs. Weller's primary focus is on clouds which celebrate the distinctive look of the Upper Midwest. He depicts the either playful twirling or the menacing texture of the atmosphere. Weller's work has a painterly feel to it, the result of taking 100 exposures over several moments then stacking the exposures into a single image. He separates each exposure by some measure of time – a second, perhaps many seconds or even minutes – which allows a landscape to more truthfully reveal itself, reaching beyond the limits of human sight, which – like traditional photography – only captures the moment in front of the viewer.

Why limit the visual universe to what one sees only in the moment they see it?  Weller's portraits of clouds are more honest and accurate. To what end, may the viewer ask? How the viewer sees things fundamentally influences their perception of their surroundings, their attitudes, their understanding of who they are and how we all fit into the cosmos. Weller's work reflects Midwestern values: connections to the land, conservation of precious water, incredible wilderness, the uniqueness of prairies and wetlands, the splendor of a stream, the beauty of the landscape filled with texture all under the signature look of the Upper Midwest with clouds dancing and bending above.

His aesthetic is rooted in the likes of Wood, O’Keeffe, Cox, and Benton. Each of these Midwest born artists have influenced Weller by their interpretation of nature and the landscape, and the ability to use shapes to convey feeling, mood, and atmosphere. With their influence, Weller creates art of the land he loves.

April 19, 2024 - May 31, 2024