February 9 – April 28, 2019
Sunday, February 10, 2019 | 12-5 pm
Artist remarks at 2 pm.
Refreshments. Free admission. Family friendly.
“Venetian Proposal” 2018 Acrylic on Paper 12×9”
“The Unburdened Present” expresses a paradox as well as a double meaning, one ironic, the other straightforward.
On the one hand, the work in this show has been made following purely formal considerations, and thus can be said to exist wholly in the present. That is the straightforward meaning of the title. On the other hand, because the present is a product of the past, and thus of history, there is no such thing as an unburdened present, neither in life nor in art. This is the ironic meaning, and this irony does not stop with Armin Mühsam’s art but extends to the historical events and fates of the people whose lives are dramatized in the programming that accompanies the show.
“For nearly two decades, I painted landscapes that addressed the impact Western society has on the natural world and how our desire for dominating it had alienated us from our fellow species and the land that sustains us. This work was meant to elicit reactions not so much about my choices of colors or shapes, but about my politics. Three years ago, a personal crisis prompted me to abandon this content and search for a language that would speak more authentically to this new phase of my life. I quit painting, both as a discipline and as a way to investigate the objective world, and started collaging non-objectively. This process of experimentation led to the aesthetic that now characterizes my practice. I have obviously not explored unknown territory – following the trail blazed by a century-old technique and reading the maps of Constructivism is not a noteworthy achievement – but my journey was (and is) nevertheless one of personal discovery, an idiosyncratic investigation of modernist methods that we contemporary practitioners in the 21stcentury sample for our own ends, much like 19th-century artists mined the art of the Renaissance and Baroque to make sense of their own confused times.” Armin Mühsam
Armin Mühsam was born in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the Transylvanian city that is called Klausenburg by its German, and Kolozsvár by its Hungarian inhabitants. In 1977, his family moved to what then was still West Germany and settled in Munich. He earned a BFA in Illustration at the University of Applied Sciences, in München, Germany, and an MFA in Painting at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Mühsam has exhibited internationally for more than two decades, and is widely collected and published. He is currently a Professor of Art at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.
Mühsam’s fascination with the American West began when he was a boy reading the novels of Karl May. The interest sparked by these fanciful books eventually led to in-depth research of Native American peoples and their reactions to the European conquest of their ancestral lands and cultures. In an oversimplified way, and with a good deal of irony, Karl May can be said to be the cause of Mühsam’s emigration to America.
Armin Mühsam is represented by Haw Contemporary in Kansas City, Missouri. The Volland Store wishes to express its gratitude for the loan of the artist’s work for this exhibit. All works are available for purchase, and the proceeds support the artist, Haw Contemporary, and The Volland Store. Please inquire here.
There is no such thing as an unburdened present, because the present is a product of the past, of history.
The Volland Store presents three extraordinary experiences this Spring:
February 10 | 2 pm Remarks by Armin Mühsam at the Opening of ARMIN MÜHSAM | An Unburdened Past
March 30 | 7 pm Screening of Big Sonia. “Not just another Holocaust movie,” proclaims movie critic Christopher Llewellyn Reed. “Sonia [a Holocaust survivor] is a vibrant nonagenarian in Kansas City….lecturing at local schools to keep the memory of Nazi atrocities alive…. Beloved by those who know her, she is a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.” The movie will be followed by a Q&A. Appropriate for students Grade 7 and above.
April 7 | 2 pm The Loveliness of Air (I Can’t Breathe) – an original work by Joseph Wytko, based on selected poetry and prose of children in the Terezín Nazi Concentration Camp. Featuring a performance by Anna Wytko, classical saxophonist. Introductory remarks by the composer at 2 pm. Reception to follow.
Map and directions here.