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Civilian Art Projects Presents a Solo Exhibition by Painting Faculty Cara Ober '05, Sept. 11-Oct. 17

'Love Letters' includes mixed media works that examine and reinterpret sentimental imagery

Posted 09.09.09 by MICA Media Relations

Cara Ober, Thirty Five

WASHINGTON--The solo exhibition Love Letters, featuring the adjunct painting faculty member and MICA alumna Cara Ober (M.F.A. in Studio Art '05), takes place Friday, Sept. 11 through Saturday, Oct. 17 at Civilian Art Projects, 406 7th Street NW, Second Floor. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, Sept. 11, 7-9 p.m. 

Love Letters is Baltimore-based artist Ober's first solo exhibition with Civilian Art Projects. A painter, teacher and writer, Ober layers drawing, painting and printmaking into mixed media works that examine and reinterpret sentimental imagery. Ober's narrative works utilize specific phrases and fonts to suggest multiple voices, perspectives and time periods. Rather than illustrating the text, the images create discord and contrast, layering metaphorical and nonsensical outcomes over personal notation. For Love Letters, Ober exhibits drawings and paintings, showing new work from three interrelated series. Intricate and funny, Love Letters explores the relationship of the artist to image, word and personal meaning found in the exploration of secret fantasy and expressive interlude.

A visual artist with a love of the written word, Ober says, "the best metaphor for the method behind my fragmented, nostalgic, neurotic and humorous paintings, and works on paper is writing. It is impossible to experience my work without referencing reading and the literary narrative, not to mention home décor, suburban fashion, greeting cards, old dictionaries, pop songs and other culturally mediated subjects. Wet scrawls of confessional writing, garnered from a variety of sources, contradict structured texts, often a dictionary definition or a generic statement, to imply numerous and disparate voices. Words have the power to illuminate as well as to deceive. I pair the visual with the verbal in order to maximize a painting's power to contradict itself, mimicking the human brain's natural thought process."

Combining text and emotive scribbles, these new works are "paradoxically straightforward and intricate. Referencing an assignment or diary, hand-drawn notebook paper sheets create an ordered structure which contrast childlike scrawls of crayon, colored pencil and magic marker." Part romance, part inside joke, her paintings and drawings are nurturing tales of love and longing. Thick with hidden connection, fragments and foggy memory, the imagery cumulates in a sort of impossibly puzzle meant not to be solved but to be considered, enjoyed and left to its own devices.

Ober is commercially represented by The Randall Scott Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y., Gallery Imperato in Baltimore, Md., and Civilian Art Projects in Washington, D.C. She has participated in numerous international art fairs in the past year, including Art Miami, Aqua Winwood Miami and Bridge Fair in London. Ober is a 2006 MD Individual Artist Grant recipient for painting and took second prize in the 2007 Bethesda Painting Awards. She received a Warhol Grant for Emerging Curators in 2006, and a Best in Show Award at the Torpedo Factory's Juried painting exhibit in 2006 from juror Jack Rasmussen. Ober writes art reviews for various publications, such as ArtNews, The Examiner Newspaper, Art US Magazine, Art Papers and Gutter Magazine, as well as publishes her own award-winning art blog, BmoreArt.

Gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. For more information about the exhibition, visit the Civilian Art Projects' Web site at www.civilianartprojects.com

For more information about MICA's alumni and faculty, call 410-225-2300.

Image caption: Cara Ober, Thirty Five, mixed media on wood panel, 2009.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.