‘Heads and Tails’ comes to Art Gallery

Artist Tom Nussbaum answers audience questions about the “juvenile” color scheme of his pieces, “Chair” and “Space Man.” -Staff photo/Louis Gormley

Artist Tom Nussbaum answers audience questions about the “juvenile” color scheme of his pieces, “Chair” and “Space Man.” -Staff photo/Louis Gormley

 

Artist Tom Nussbaum’s work has been on display in art galleries and museums across the United States, with pieces ranging from figurative to abstract art.

Now, through May 10, over 15 years of Nussbaum’s art work will be on display at the Rowan University Art Gallery in the exhibition “Heads and Tails.”  A total of 55 pieces decorate the art gallery.

“Students are able to see what’s going on in the contemporary art world, right here at their leisure,” said Mary Salvante, Rowan’s gallery director. “We are so used to instant gratification. Stuff flashes in front of us. To stop and slow down in a gallery, it can be hard.”

Sophomore fine arts major Tom Reed said this exhibition was radically different from others at Rowan.

“On the surface, it seems light-hearted, but there’s a lot of background meaning,” Reed said.

Reed enjoys the style of Nussbaum’s drawings and is excited and inspired by Nussbaum’s work. He especially appreciates Nussbaum’s use of simplified and sequential art. Nussbaum’s drawings are minimalistic in design. 

“When drawing them, I try to have the least amount of lines as possible,” Nussbaum said. “It’s a process of reduction.”

Figurative work came first, from previous years, and the abstract work is from the last two years of Nussbaum’s career. This art gallery is the first time he is seeing it all put together in an exhibit. Nussbaum found it interesting because it really expresses the shift in his work.

“It’s fun to try and make connections between older and newer work,” Nussbaum said.

Relationship themes continue the figurative work. Most figures are of two people, and they show what different types of relationships mean. One of Nussbaum’s figures, “Listen,” is a head leaning sideways and a tiny figure cuddled in the larger figure’s ear. This tells of a father and son relationship expressing what it feels like to have someone listen to you, as Nussbaum explained to the audience at the gallery reception on April 16. Nussbaum also explained that he likes to make his work in a way that it is open to interpretation. He is always more curious about what the audience will take away from it.

Salvante values the Rowan University Art Gallery and believes it is a great resource for the students and general public.

“It’s been really fun to work with Mary [Salvante], she’s very thoughtful in the way she puts it all together,” Nussbaum said. 

Nussbaum’s work will be on display at the Rowan University Art Gallery until May 10. The exhibit can be seen Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,  Wednesdays until 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For comments/questions about this story, email arts@thewhitonline.com or tweet @thewhitae.

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