A retired Bowling Green State University professor who says his most recent work is the best of his career, is one of four area recipients of excellence awards from the Ohio Arts Council to further their creative work in the community.
Lou Krueger, 68, of Bowling Green was among 77 winners of the Individual Excellence awards by the council announced for fiscal year 2017. Each recipient will receive $5,000, with the exception of four collaborative winners who will receive $2,500 each.
Krueger, who retired as a BGSU professor of fine arts two years ago, submitted to the Ohio Arts Council for consideration Temples of Wonder, a collection of hundreds of contemporary photographs.
“I consider myself a re-emerging artist. For the first time in my life, my artwork has exceeded my expectations,” Krueger said. “This is really exciting for me. My work is disturbing, so it’s not really commercially viable. So I rely on organizations like the [Ohio Arts Council] to get the validation an artist might look for.”
The other three local winners were:
■ Charlie Kanwischer, of Waterville, a graphite artist and a professor of drawing and painting, and associate director, BGSU school of art;
■ Toledoan Natalie Lanese, the assistant professor of art and gallery director at Siena Heights University in Adrian whose abstract installations are frequently exhibited in northwest Ohio.
■ David Cuatlacuatl, arts coordinator for the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center, who this summer with brother and fellow artist Federico Cuatlacuatl, will offer their second annual cultural art residency in rural Mexico.
Krueger, who was recently named the 2016 International Portfolio Competition winner for a solo exhibition at the Soho Photo Gallery, New York, said Temples of Wonder plays off the question, “Am I normal?” It reflects on physical calamities that plagued him throughout his lifetime, including having polio as a child, developing epilepsy as an adult, the installation of a pacemaker, and several surgeries.
He began photographing his scars and wounds and accompanying them in various environments with models painted in gold armor, looking for the “tipping point between normal and abnormal.”
“All of a sudden I had this beautiful hybrid of something that was both beautiful and disturbing at the same time,” he said. “We are all sort of remade in one form or another both physically and psychologically. We suffer loss and then we have to recover from it.”
Krueger, who recently started working with glass and teaches camera-building workshops across the country, said his Ohio Arts Council winnings will go toward supplies and traveling.
Natalie Lanese is best known for her large collage paintings that are installed in various galleries and communities, including at the Akron Art Museum, the University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts, and under the Ontario Street overpass for the George V. Voinovich Bridge in Cleveland.
For the Ohio Arts Council awards, she submitted two pieces, PANORAMA, part of an exhibition at the CVA gallery in 2013, and Space Mountains, which was included in the 2014 Toledo Area Artists Exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art, as well as work she said shows a transition from narrative to abstract. She said she will use her award to cover the costs of attending the L.A. Summer Residency at Otis College of Art and Design this summer.
The Ohio Arts Council hands out the awards annually, to those artists whose work “advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community.” This year’s winners were chosen from 465 applicants, with awards totaling $375,000.
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