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February 11th, 2005
Rochelle Toner/ Larry Spaid: Visual Dialogue On Abstraction At Fleisher Art Memorial’s Center For Works On Paper, March 8 – April 16

The Suzanne Fleisher and Ralph Joel Roberts Gallery at Fleisher’s Center for Works on Paper at 705 Christian Street re-opens this spring with a pairing of two seasoned artists, Rochelle Toner and Larry Spaid. The exhibition, Visual Dialogue on Abstraction, features two artists whose work is non-objective, but whose visual forms and sources offer a vibrant conceptual and visual counterpoint. Toner and Spaid have been colleagues for many years at Temple University -- and will also serve on the Challenge Exhibition selection panel for the 28th season of the series. While both artists work abstractly, Toner's images are organic while Spaid’s forms are more geometric. Both artists draw upon personal experiences and emotions to produce powerful and evocative work.

Rochelle Toner will premiere a series of book pages (entitled "IO drinks coffee" based on a poem by the late Philadelphia poet Almitra David) containing screen-printed images with text. Toner will also show a series of watercolor drawings. The work Toner has produced in recent years is serially related, having the collective title of "Nature, Pleasure and Innuendo." Toner says of her work, "I am fascinated by the way abstraction evolves from a process of observing, distilling, and internalizing information in a synthesis of conscious and sub-conscious interactions. My work explores the juncture between abstraction and representation, the point at which the referent may be felt in the work without the intrusion of the literal."

Ms Toner received her B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa and her M.F.A. from the University of Illinois. Toner served as the Dean of the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, for thirteen years.

Larry Spaid will present a suite of mixed media works on paper based on study and travel in Vietnam and Cambodia. Spaid served in the Vietnam War three decades ago and his work links cultural, social, and environmental experiences from that time to the present. Spaid creates formal and technical situations that are, in turn, objects as well as fields of illusion. During his travels, Spaid gleaned visual information from traditional fabric coloring techniques, crafts, utilitarian devices, and objects of ritual, which he calls upon to bring form to his work. Spaid’s artwork is involved with symbolism as well as the formal structure of color, shape and technical execution.

Mr. Spaid received his B.F.A. from John Herron School of Art of University of Indiana and his M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Spaid has taught in the painting department at Temple University since 1973.

Rochelle Toner/Larry Spaid: Visual Dialogue on Abstraction will continue at Fleisher through April 16, with gallery hours as follows: Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed Saturday March 26th); or by appointment. Additionally, the gallery will open Tuesday through Thursday, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

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