GARY | Webster’s Dictionary defines Aggregate as a whole formed by combining several disparate parts and the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District’s new exhibit, “Aggregate,” lives up to that description.
Nine members of the Valparaiso University Faculty will display their work beginning Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St., in the Miller Beach section of Gary.
“When the MBACD planning committee contacted me about possibly having or organizing a show, I was thrilled by the opportunity,” VU Art Professor Gregg Hertzlieb explained. “A group show idea seemed interesting – but how would the group be formed? I then realized I was part of a remarkable artist group, the art faculty at Valpo, and, as a group, we are always looking for opportunities to show together and promote the department and the museum. In addition, we’re friends and we admire each others’ work.”
A native of Northwest Indiana, Hertzlieb received his BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a city where he lived for six years. He also received a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He moved back to Chesterton to teach art and English at his old high school for nine years before joining the staff at VU.
“I have been director/curator at the Brauer Museum of Art for about 13 years,” he said. “I also like to travel and feel that my travels have substantially influenced my art – although I feel equally inspired by the sights in my backyard!”
The Brauer Museum, 1709 Chapel Dr., is located on the VU campus. It is home to a nationally-recognized collection of 19th-21st-century American art, including works by Frederic Edwin Church, Asher B. Durand, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Ed Paschke.
Hertzlieb has shown his art, primarily watercolor and pen & ink, in numerous exhibitions. He said he likes to create fanciful scenes populated by whimsical and autobiographical characters. He has also edited and/or contributed to several books on fine art and the Calumet Region
Following are the names of the other Aggregate artists, along with Hertzlieb’s brief descriptions of their work:
Sarah Jantzi – “She’s the painting professor at Valpo and concentrates on painting and drawing in her personal work, a kind of magical realism.”
Michele Corazzo – “She’s a ceramics and drawing professor who makes ceramic sculptures and process-oriented, as well as surreal drawings.”
Robert Sirko – “A graphic design professor who creates both paintings and digital prints, his paintings are swirling colorscapes that at times coalesce into surreal personages.”
Joseph Gonzales – “He’s also a graphic design professor. He combines graffiti-style forms, cartoon creatures, and abstract design in both painted and digital pieces.”
Jane Lohmeyer – “An art education and jewelry professor, she creates wall sculptures in stained glass and other materials.”
Liz Wuerffel – “She’s a digital media professor who uses both a camera and scanner to create her digital images, some of the most recent relating to her experiences in China.”
Kevin Firme – “He’s a sculpture professor working in pastel for his drawings and steel for his sculptures. In both mediums, he draws inspiration from nature for his organic forms.”
Aimee Tomasek – “A photography professor and the chair of the art department, her photographs capture the varied beauties of local landscape and regional fairs and festivals.”
Hertzlieb said that, besides the sheer number of artists displaying their works and the wide variety, there’s another good reason to attend Aggregate. “It was curated by the legendary and delightful Valpo art history professor Nina Corazzo. That fact is bound to bring in viewers!
“I would say that the show is composed of exciting new works, in many cases fresh from the artists’ studios,” he added. “It was a labor of love for all involved and we believe you’ll get a sense of that from the show.”
There will be an Opening Reception on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 6-9 p.m.
Aggregate continues Sunday, Oct. 13, noon-3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, 6-9 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20, noon-3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, 6-9 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 27, noon-3 p.m. at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St., Gary, IN. Sponsored by the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District, the event is free and open to the public.
For more information on Aggregate, visit millerbeacharts.org.