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Gregg Hertzlieb, the director and curator of the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University, will display his own art in the new "Time Ghost" exhibit at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts, 540 S. Lake St.

“Time Ghost: Gregg Hertzlieb” will run from Friday, April 6 to Sunday, May 6 at the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts in Gary's lakefront Miller neighborhood. 

“Although pictures and imagery always defy words, the sun and moon could be the two sides of my personality, with the light of the sun representing a lighter state of mind and the moon representing something darker or more mysterious," he said. "The ghosts and fish refer to my interest in spirituality, evolution, and the passage of time – all things that I think about a lot.”

His exhibit in Gary features 30 watercolors with ink on paper, three acrylic paintings on wood and six painted sculptures.

“Every time I make a picture, I learn about myself,”  Hertzlieb said. “I gather ideas in my sketchbook and don't really question why I'm drawn to a subject or compositional approach at the time.  Later on, when I look at the things I've made, I get a glimmer of the motivation or life circumstance that led to my making the picture – but, for the most part, I just do what seems right, then the subconscious attitudes rise to the surface and reveal themselves – although, as I mentioned earlier, not in a way that's always easy to articulate precisely through words.”

Hertzlieb, who earned a master’s degree in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said curating Valparaiso University's art museum has had an influence on his own work, which he said leads him on a “quirky, surreal journey of self-discovery.”

“I see so many styles of art each day," Hertzlieb said. "Each style reveals something to me about the use of a medium, the method of abstraction, the use of color. Sometimes the influences are subtle and indirect. Lately, Japanese prints in the Brauer's collection have captured my imagination.”

Other influences include travel, art, antiques, fossils, toys, and comic books.

“I collect superhero comics from the 1970s and old toys of various kinds ranging from space toys to colorful and kitschy plastic banks,” Hertzlieb said. “I like the primary colors a lot and so am drawn to stylized, colorful toys from the 1960s, 1970s, even earlier if I see something I like at a flea market or antique shop.”

He works primarily in watercolor and pen and ink.

“I like the directness of drawing," he said. "I like to work on paper as opposed to canvas or wood, and watercolor is a nice way of applying color to paper. I like the control, and I like black outlines.  Ink has a lot of versatility and I can be meticulous with it. Each pen line I apply to the paper breathes more life into my chosen subjects. I enjoy the thrill of seeing these subjects emerge and proclaim their individual identities.”

An opening reception with an artist talk will take place from 6  to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 7.

The gallery is open from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, visit millerbeacharts.org.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.