Finding Strangeness by Scott Espeseth at Hartnett Gallery


Hartnett Gallery is pleased to present Finding Strangeness, a solo exhibition of ivory black watercolor drawings on paper by Scott Espeseth. For Espeseth, drawing is about transparency, the most direct route from an idea to the paper. Watercolor pushes back on Espeseth’s obsessive tendencies, requiring Espeseth to make compromises, and not lose the forest for the trees. The drawings are inspired by chance encounters with objects, spaces, or events that trigger moments of clarity, where they suddenly appear to be intensely strange, or intensely beautiful. Espeseth attempts to stage these moments, either on site or in the studio, but inevitably ends up making changes. Through the process of careful setup and sustained looking, measuring, and drawing, Espeseth finds a new clarity in the act of making. The images are animated by a consciousness lurking in the atmosphere, as though the membrane between two worlds has worn thin. Espeseth’s subconscious seems to be trying to tell him something through the choices he makes in the studio, and he watches themes emerge, of memory, loss, change, and the fantastic. Scott Espeseth (b. 1975) earned an MFA in printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked with storied print artists such as Frances Myers and Warrington Colescott. His work has since evolved to focus mainly on drawing, usually with commonplace media such as graphite pencils and ballpoint pen. His drawings have been described as “clairvoyant,” often depicting familiar spaces charged with a sense of dark presence, or other instances where planes of existence clash: the future sending messages to the past, memory intruding upon the present, or the subconscious bleeding into consciousness. He has exhibited nationally, including solo exhibitions at the James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, and Alcove Gallery in New York, NY, and numerous national and international group shows. Scott has been on the faculty of Beloit College since 2002 teaching all levels of drawing and printmaking. For more, visit the artist’s website: scottespeseth.com