Tension between past and present highlighted in exhibit

The push and pull that exists between the nostalgia of simpler times and embracing future challenges is one of the narrative threads running through the current exhibit at the Burnell R. Roberts Triangle Gallery at Sinclair Community Collage.

“Anywhere” highlights a series of paintings by David Linneweh of Chicago. He is showing 21 architectural paintings, most of which are part of his Temporal series.

The series “calls attention to the idea of time as it relates to the suburban landscape and the American dream. I’m intentionally trying to create a tension in the paintings that talks about the tension between old and new ideals,” said Linneweh.

Ah … the American dream. Get a loan, buy a building, and start your own business. It could be a gas station, a restaurant, or a convenience store. Then the unexpected happens — an economic downturn, new competition, or plans that call for a new road that will run smack-dab over your property. All of a sudden you’re out of business.

“You might have a Chinese Buffet that turned into a Curves for Women, or a gas station that becomes a gold-buying exchange, and then an electronic cigarette store,” Linneweh said.

The temporary nature of existence is highlighted here, as in “Marathon,” an abandoned gas station. The artist uses photographs he’s taken of interesting buildings, and transfers them onto a wood panel. He uses graphite to further define the image and seals it with a matt medium.

“Then I begin the process of selectively painting fragments until there’s an interesting tension between the painted and photographic elements,” he said.

With that selection, Linneweh draws the focus to architectural elements he wants to highlight. Like the bold blue and white stripe of the old Marathon station’s roof, or the tall, elaborate sign outside of a Chinese Buffet.

His choice of a sturdier canvas for his paintings creates another dimension to his work. The wood grain of the panels is a perfect backdrop for a cloudy sky or a wide, expansive architectural element. The exposed grain also gives the paintings a somewhat weathered appearance.

“I aim to draw viewers in through the formal qualities of shape and color, hopefully triggering a memory or experience which seems familiar to them,” Linneweh said. “The paintings are meant to look unfinished in order to create tension between the photographic elements which appear old or nostalgic, while the colorful elements appear new or idealized.”

Linneweh has a bachelor of fine arts from Illinois State University and a master of fine arts from Southern Illinois University. He is the creator and host of the Studio Break Podcast and Blog, which features over 150 interviews with national and international contemporary artists. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, observing interesting landscapes outside the car windows.

“On a first impression, I hope viewers are drawn into these colorful paintings so they might reflect on their own experiences of memory and nostalgia,” Linneweh said. “Ideally, I’d like viewers to consider the relationship of past and present as it relates to the American dream and its possibility for all people considering the current economic, social and political climate.”

How to Go:

What: "Anywhere" by David Linneweh

Where: Burnell R. Roberts Triangle Gallery, Sinclair Community College

When: Continues through July 26

More Info: 937-512-2253 or sinclair.edu/student-life/arts-culture

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