Artists’ obsessions show in ‘Excessive’


While words such as “excessive” or “obsessive” might sometimes be used to describe persons with psychological or emotional issues, John Pomara, artist and assistant professor for Arts & Performance, thinks these qualities can be good – for artists.

An Oct. 1 reception will mark the opening of “Excessive,” a mixed media exhibition curated by Pomara. Pomara said the idea for the art show – which features work from seven artists from across the country – came from another artist’s work in Boston. The artwork consisted of hand-sewn reproductions of receipts.

“I was looking at graduate students, giving some critiques of their work, and there was a girl about to graduate there,” Pomara said. “When I saw her work, I remember thinking, ‘God, this is so excessive.’ I walked into her studio, this big wall, and there were literally 30 or 40 of these receipts all over her wall.”

The artist, Gina Dawson, will have her needlepoint recreations of receipts included in Pomara’s show. Dawson, along with her other fellow artists, feature works in “Excessive” that deal with their personal obsessions.

For Dawson, her personal “obsession” with reproducing receipts helps her remember moments in her life.

“With this body of work, I am trying to capture a moment that without the proof of purchase might have escaped me,” Dawson said. “It isn’t until the remaking that I realize that I have relived that moment a hundred times longer and stronger than it ever was.”

While Dawson uses needle and thread to capture her excessive focus, other artists use materials such as duct tape, photography, video, Mylar and pins.

“Artists deal with ideas, and they want to find just the way to make it,” Pomara said. “Some people are more obsessive. Some artists are more obsessive. So, I decided to look for people that dealt more with excess.”

Normally, Pomara displays artwork that deals with the use of technology in art, something he finds crucial to his own artwork. However, “Excessive” showcases artists who go against the grain of technology.

“These people are almost anti-technological. They’re more hands-on. In a way, a lot of these artists are reacting to the computers in our culture,” Pomara said.

Another featured artist, Betsy Odam, will display her artwork made from duct tape. As a child, Odam grew up with nature. As a Houston resident, however, she no longer lives in natural surroundings. Odam finds herself using duct tape to recreate scenes from nature.

“I don’t make tape paintings as an attempt to be clever or original,” Odam said. “More and more artists seem to be demanding that their materials hold as much conceptual weight as the content that they describe. For me, tape is about the absurd, yet strangely moving, beauty of human innovation.”

“Excessive” will run until Nov. 11 in the main gallery of the Visual Arts Building. For more information, call 972-UTD-ARTS.


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