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11-04-2005


The Exhibited Art Work of Ross Zirkle and Gerald Ferstman

Williamsburg, Ky. - Come see the fall colors. University of the Cumberlands invites the public to enjoy the vibrant Ross and Gerry Show, the exhibited art work of Ross Zirkle and Gerald Ferstman, November 18 through December 16, in the J. M. Boswell Gallery of the Andersen Building on campus.

Self-described as "a big child," Ferstman says his use of color is "raw and primal, intuitive, visual, physiological, splattered, splashed, scratched, ugly and beautiful, illogical but makes perfect sense, just the way a child makes art." Ferstman is inspired by music, movies, television, news, and political events. He creates his pieces on plastic, which he attaches to panels and continues to layer with images.

An associate professor in the University of Kentucky art department in Lexington, Ferstman received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ohio University and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington. His lengthy resume of one person and group exhibitions includes those at the Boston and Seattle Museums of Art, the University of Washington's Henri Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago. Similar to the abstract expressionist works of Gorky, Pollock, and de Kooning, Ferstman's paintings are characterized in his own words as "garish, frantic, and compulsive, intended to reflect emotions."

In contrast, the art of Ross Zirkle often incorporates the frameworks of graphic art, science, and mathematics. His interest in language systems, whether those of contemporary exchange or those of ancient cultures, is reflected in the layers of tactile, textual imagery he feels can "communicate unintentional, unconventional ideas and concepts."

Zirkle, also an associate art professor at the University of Kentucky since 1997, received his bachelor's degree from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota, and his MFA degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. He received a Master Printing Certificate from Albequerque, New Mexico's Tamarind Institute, the world premier lithography training school that offers collaborative opportunities with artists to produce prints more conveniently than seeking to work with artists in Europe.

Zirkle's drawings and prints have been in over one hundred juried national and international exhibitions. His work is also featured in many public and private collections, such as the Portland Art Museum and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C.

Together, Ferstman and Zirkle have researched innovative, non-toxic techniques that could revolutionize printmaking, an art whose craft is often associated with cancer and health hazards. Because of the carcinogenic qualities and flammability of the acids and chemicals used in traditional printmaking and the expensive ventilation systems and preventative measures required by OSHA and the EPA, many institutions have dropped the printmaking program of study. This artist duo's efforts to find a water-based ink that can be used in all printmaking techniques is of international interest. "Nobody," they say, "should have to die to make art."

Everyone is invited to join the University for the 10 to 11 a.m. November 18 reception, where individuals may discuss with Ferstman and Zirkle their exhibition work, as well as their research. Demonstrations of their processes will follow.

The UC gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and admission is free. The University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, is a private liberal arts college in its 116th year of operation. UC offers four undergraduate degrees in 37 major fields of study, 30 minors and 9 pre-professional programs, as well as online and accelerated, non-traditional programs for busy adults. For more information, call the UC art department at 606-539-4416.