Friday, 4th of November 5:30-9:30pm
|Stephen Mueller COFFEE Bookabie Turn 2005
coffee on paper 22″ x 30″
Robert Mueller has a history of exploiting the page as a map for charting journeys through subjective terrain; the real geography traversed (most importantly Iceland) is the jumping off point. Few artists have done this as extensively or as well.
This emotive cartography, which he presents bound in large books, favors a blue field somewhat like a blueprint, but more like the bitter cast of an arctic sea. The pages are actually his old lithographs overdrawn with objects alluding to nautical purposes. Reminiscent of buoys and weirs and fish baskets these sketches are like thoughts floating to the surface. Mueller calls these simply “floaters” or “thought forms.” Such entities bob on the edge of one’s consciousness and the act of drawing seeks to anchor them.
Robert cites a particular experience in Iceland and aboreal sea so cold that to fall into it means almost instant death. Consequently sunken ships or items lost overboard are seldom if ever salvaged. Except that the sea is often wont to remit part of what it claims. Long submerged fishing equipment or wreckage from a capsized vessel can surface at any moment. This can be a sharp and surprising apparition, like a secreted memory suddenly impinging on one’s awareness. Robert was standing on a beach when a chunk of flotsam from a fishing vessel burst the surface and loomed, the size of a semi truck, just offshore. Huge compared to him; small compared to the sea.
The apparition punctuated his return from an extended trek to the glacier fields in Iceland’s interior during his 1997 Fulbright residency there. Throughout that trek he carried large hand made field books to record the landscape and his response to it. Back in his studio these logs became references and source material for further development. The results are a “travelogue” documenting that commingling of external and internal.
|Robert Mueller Touch Book I detail 2005
mixed media book 16″ x 22″
The look and feel of maps also has an extended history in the work of Robert’s older brother Stephen. His Bookabie Turn paintings have a subtle but definite suggestion of large-scale geography which maps are usually used to represent. The use of maps by both brothers was an unintended parallel in their work, and, as it turns out, only one of several despite their sporadic contact and geographic separation.
In addition to reflecting the history of their makers, the two artists’ images reflect the story of their own making. This is especially true of the collaborative work of the two artists. The Muellers exchanged works that were to be used as the beginnings of a common history for them both. The brothers, each in their own manner, have layered and compressed external and internal experiences into personal palimpsests, similar to those ancient parchments on which scholars laminated their own thoughts and research onto that of their predecessors, that invite probing and research of the viewer.
|Robert Mueller Draumer detail 2005
mixed media book 16″ x 22″
Almost simultaneously both brothers developed an aversion to mark making and sought to create their most recent works from processes that eschewed drawing or writing. The similarity ends there, however, as these two series are the most markedly different of any of the two artistsâ€™ works.
|Stephen Mueller Green and Red 2004
silk screen 6″ x 10″
After graduating he moved to Chicago, Illinois to co-found Vector Custom Fabricating, Inc. â€” a company that specializes in the fabrication of architectural metals and monumental sculpture. Over the last twenty-seven years he has worked with several artists on their larger projects â€” among them Mike Baur, Terrence Karpowicz, Bruce White, Christine Rojek, Neil Goodman, Donald Gummer, Stephen Luecking and Vito Acconci.
Recent exhibitions of his work include a show with Cecilia Allen and Roger Blakley at Artemisia in 2002; the 2004 group show Summer Summit at Lipa Gallery; and in 2005 the Small Print Show at the
Robert Mueller is an Associate Professor of Printmaking and Area Coordinator of the Printmaking Program at the University of Floridaâ€”Gainesville. He received his BFA from the University of Utahâ€”Salt Lake City in 1985, and his MFA from the Arizona State Universityâ€”Tempe in 1988. Muellerâ€™s expertise is in lithography, intaglio, relief print, collaborative printmaking and installations. He is technical director of the Alagarto Press, an international visiting artist print project at the University of Florida. The project is a graduate assisted collaborative endeavor with nationally and internationally renowned artists. Muellerâ€™s creative work is strongly inspired by his world travels. These experiences range from long solo wilderness treks in remote areas of Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar, to research trips to Ireland and Scotland. Most recently he taught a printmaking course on the Greek island of Skopelos. Through writing daily journals, producing works on-site and later development in the studio, Mueller narrates the emotional, physical and mental sense of place that he calls â€œpsycho-geography.â€
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
â€¢ 2005 Faculty and student exhibition and reception; Skopelos Foundationâ€”Skopelos, Greece. Included in exhibition 8 untitled prints and artist book.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
â€¢ 1996 Sketchbook Visions; Harris House of Atlantic Center for the Arts.
SELECTED GRANTS AND AWARDS
â€¢ 2004 Faculty Scholarship Enhancement Fund
â€¢ 1992 Printmaking: A Primary Form of Expression Author: Eldon L. Cunningham; I Authored and contributed images for a chapter. Two images in black and white two images in color. Three and a half pages of text. Published by University Press of Colorado, copyright 1992; pp. 134-137.