Saginaw Art Museum

Saginaw, Michigan




Rosalie Vass: When Sky Meets Earth


Rosalie Vass, Girl From Ipenema, 1993

Mixed water media and pencil, 43 1/4 x 29 1/2 in.


The Saginaw Art Museum is pleased to present the exhibition When Sky Meets Earth by Rosalie Waranius Vass. The show is comprised of about 15 works in watercolors and mixed media, and will be on display in the First-Floor Center Gallery from September 5 - October 5, 1997.

Though Waranius Vass's art has variously been described as "rich in movement,
geometry and design," as teeming with "pattern and color," as "precisely ordered,
confetti-colored," and as "whimsical," there is power in her production. Her canon
comprises work rich in conception and execution, mature texts that convey the
human connection to the global environment. Though many of Vass's paintings
confound and conflate the usual expectations in landscape paintings, there remains
the sense of curvature, of tilt, of gravity, both physical and intellectual. And that may
be the triumph of Vass's body of work: the interplay of the heavens and the earth,
the connectedness of animal life and human and divine.
To look at Vass's work is to understand the integration of play and high seriousness.
The intense use of color, primaries and purples, pastels and pastiche, communicates
the willingness to play with the viewers' expectations, and yet the art causes us to
want those unexpected delights. Her willingness to play with scenes she has
observed in the physical world and those she has seen only in her mind allows Vass
to produce art that conveys certain truths about a fragile natural ecology. And though
she might not call herself an environmental artist, the fragility comes through the
multi-media representations of the natural and supernatural world. Angels are
juxtaposed to fields of cows; tulips overlay bright skies of red and blue, sun acts as
spotlight on a village nestled in a valley; coyotes function as fence for grazing sheep.
The text on her canvas is meant to be read, where signs and symbols are richly
arrayed for the viewer's pleasure. Rational interpretation and affective response are
both right - those who look at this artist's body of work can employ either approach,
and whether it be gut level or cerebral, there is the pleasure of the text.
Janice Wolff, PhD
Saginaw Valley State University

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Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 1997 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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