New exhibit opens at LesoWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
An exhibit highlighting the Midwest, mid tones and middle grounds will debut at LeSo Gallery on Feb. 15.
“Middle Ground” features the close-up self-portraits of Gary Wittenmyer, who teaches at Owens Community College, and the landscape photos of Eric Zeigler.
Wittenmyer got the idea for his series of nine drawings and paintings after looking at photos his daughter had taken.
“I noticed some photos that my daughter had taken in the car. Of course, they’re all of the eyes and nose and close up of the face, and I thought that composition was kind of interesting,” he said.
Wittenmyer said no one was interested in being portrayed that close up and personal — so he decided the subject of his series would be himself.
He said the pieces look like he’s trying to escape from something.
“It’s kind of a metaphor or analogy for a lot happening today. Natural resources are being encroached on and a lot of activism is going on in trying to save some of our free space,” he said
Many of Zeigler’s pieces show landscapes from around the Toledo area.
“I started working on [the landscapes] originally because I felt the need to record where I grew up, my hometown area. I’ve always felt like I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up, which is never going to happen, but taking pictures of the farms, it’s a way to connect,” he said.
Zeigler, who received his master’s degree from San Francisco Art Institute, has shown his work in California before and said he looks forward to showing in Ohio.
“The reception [in California] was really good. People were interested, because to a certain extent, it was an exotic landscape,” he said.
Both men said the other artist’s work complements his own in a way.
“The personal kind of attention [Wittenmyer] does with his self portraits is kind of similar to the type of attention I give to my photographs because my pictures are, in one way, a portrait of my place and his pictures are a portrait of himself,” Zeigler said.
Wittenmyer said, “His work is different than mine, but there’s similarities in the atmosphere. It’s work that you have to look at and it makes you think.”
The free opening reception for “Middle Ground” will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at LeSo Gallery, 1527 Starr Ave., Toledo. Refreshments are provided. The exhibition will close March 1. Gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.