Christiane Drieling: Earth

The Masur Museum of Art Presents:
Earth An exhibition of work by artist Christiane Drieling Exhibition on view in the Upper River Gallery of the Masur Museum August 24 – October 21, 2023
Public Reception: Thursday, September 21, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Talk by the Artist: 6:30 pm
Location: Upper River Gallery, Masur Museum of Art, 1400 South Grand Street *
FREE and Open to the Public

About the Artist:
Christiane Drieling is a collage artist based in Ruston, Louisiana. Born in Germany, she moved to the United States in 2001 and spent time living in Chicago, Illinois. With a master’s degree in Sociology, Psychology, and German Literature, Drieling initially focused on creating whimsical and playful handcrafted objects based on German storytelling themes. Her collections of hand puppets, marionettes, small ornaments, and toys gained recognition at juried art events in and around Chicago. In recent years, Drieling has shifted her focus to collage, exploring themes of individual dilemmas and interpersonal conflicts, including culture clashes, political issues, and societal visions. Her thought-provoking work has garnered attention and praise, establishing her as a successful and respected artist in the contemporary art scene.

About the Exhibition, from the Artist:
A few years ago, I received a nearly complete but outdated set of the “LIFE World Library” books from a close friend. She, being a teacher, had used them as supplementary material in her cultural lessons, and I know and love many of the students who had previously flipped through the yellowed pages. The “LIFE World Library” series was published in the 1960s and was composed of about thirty hardcover books, each painting a picture of a specific country or region, focusing on many angles of its economics and culture. All volumes have solid color backs in a variety of jewel tones, especially deep greens and blues, as well as rich red tones. A small simple line graphic of our globe, usually in white but sometimes black, is printed in the center of the back cover of each book.

Based on these hardcover backs, I have created a series of works focusing on different aspects of how we view our planet, how we feel about it, and how we treat it. The series consists of 24 pieces, one for each hour of the day. The day begins with an end and ends with a beginning. There really is no particular order to the pieces; each work begins and ends in itself. To create the images for the “Earth” series, I have worked with collage techniques, mainly using paper elements from various sources. My goal was to keep the majority of the images simple and the original surfaces as visible as possible.

Sometimes I added sewing thread, inherited from my beloved grandmother, who had sewn and mended my dresses when I was a child. I like to incorporate sewing thread in my work for the many beautiful memories I have of her, and also because of its purpose and the these it conveys: to create and to hold together. I began working on this series in February 2020, and I finished the last piece in April 2022. The two years in between are marked by a number of devastating hardness tests that our global society has not been able to pass yet. The 24 images are my response to what has been happening on the world stage and the effects the affairs have had on my emotional state of mind. I have responded with outrage and anxiety, with numbness and depression – but also with hope and the strong desire to find the goof in each new day.

*Please note the main building of the museum is closed for renovations until November 23. During this time the museum’s River Galleries will be open with this exhibition as well as highlights from the museum’s permanent collection, followed by an exhibition of work by RJ Kern opening November 7.