A&E Review of Madelon Powers Exhibition


By Lauren Shook
A&E Editor

A new year and a new semester has brought the opening of a fresh, innovative exhibit to ESU’s Madelon Powers Gallery.

“X-Scapes: Deconstructing the Urban and Pastoral Landscapes” began on Feb. 1.

Artwork in this exhibit has been composed by local artists Susan Molina-Washington and Steven Washington.

The exhibit displays the artists’ “own process and sensibilities to the theme of landscapes,” according to ESU Insider.

Professor Oye-Benintende stated that the premise of deconstructing is to “start with a somewhat representational or physical idea and then change it or abstract from it in one way or another.”

This exhibit is sure to instill some thought-provoking concepts and ideas.

Molina-Washington, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was inspired by her father and godmother. She began painting and creating at a young age.

Although Molina-Washington and her father are Italian, they shared a love for Japanese culture.

This captivation was reinforced by her godmother, who was Japanese.

“We had a tatami room, and I would sit in there almost every day with them painting. She would give me origami papers, and I would rip them up and paste them onto rice paper,” Molina-Washington stated.

“I think that is where my love of collage started.”

The artist feels a unique connection with each of her creations.

“I do love each for different reasons, mostly because they each help me move to a new level or move further along the artistic path,” stated Molina-Washington.

Both artists have a passion for art, which is clearly exhibited in their creations.

“Susan is working through the lens of an urban landscape, and Steven is definitely deconstructing a pastoral, or rural, kind of landscape,” stated Oye-Benintende.

Washington stated that a large portion of his previous work had been photographic and digital.

However, a desire to challenge his own artistic abilities drove him to take on a new discipline.

“The paintings on display in this exhibition are part of a process I have been exploring for the past year to find a way of expressing elements of landscape painting in an abstracted form,” stated Washington.

Washington believed that the exhibit at ESU would provide an important environment to present his own artistic approach.

“As this exhibition is an educational venue I thought it might be interesting to show the evolution of my creative process over the last year as I have searched for a vocabulary and context in this new medium,” he stated.

Washington’s work flows from one creation to another, instead of composing separate pieces.

“None of the works are finished, but they lead one to another in a nonlinear progression, as an idea evolves and is accepted or rejected and replaced by an earlier notion,” he stated.

Washington has been inspired by painters such as De Kooning, Joan Mitchell, early Philip Guston, Christopher Wool and Cecily Brown.

Molina-Washington’s work often deals with paint and collage, whereas Washington’s work will focus mainly on painting, according to Oye-Benintende.

“X-Scapes: Deconstructing the Urban and Pastoral Landscapes” began on Feb. 1 and will run through March 10.

The gallery is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, a reception will be held for the artists in the Madelon Powers Gallery.

The reception and exhibit are both free to the public.

Head out to the Fine Arts Building to catch a look at these unique interpretations and abstractions of urban and rural life!