Tape, Bleach and the Line: Casey Roberts and RC Wonderly

By Amanda Dee '16

Casey Roberts’s and RC Wonderly’s work will fill the walls of College Park Center’s Gallery 249 until Feb. 13. Roberts work explores the lines, the connections, between man and nature; Wonderly’s work explores the line itself.

Roberts, based in Indianapolis, depicts what he considers “fantastic landscapes.” Roberts’s “Difficult or Impossible to Understand or Explain Away” CPC exhibit, as he says on his website, continues his “conversation” with these landscapes -- his “long monologues when pine forests make [him] laugh and mountains test [his] patience.”

Wonderly attended UD to learn about art; he moved to Las Vegas to handle it, to teach it and to actually do it. He installed works by artists whom he had studied in UD classrooms. He developed a non-profit art program for adults with intellectual disabilities. These opportunities led him to discover his “sensibility as an artist” -- a sensibility you see on display in his exhibit, according to Wonderly.

The “Considering New Parameters” CPC exhibit is “…all about process and materials,” Wonderly says. “Anyone that has wrapped a present understands how tape works and can see how I have applied [it] in the drawings. Not only that, but my lines are physical and you can feel that physicality when you view the work.”

He uses tape as tape and graphite as graphite to showcase the materials themselves. He is drawn to straightforward materials with inherent straightforward qualities. Wonderly eats “clean” (e.g. juicing and eating sushi) and builds minimalistic furniture -- an attempt to emulate the “straightforwardness” of his work.

If Wonderly created himself as a line, he “would be one of the dot pattern lines found in [his] work -- present, but not too loud,” he says. “I wish my life were as minimal as the work is on the surface.”

A contrast to Wonderly, Roberts first exposes cyanotype (a Civil War era photochemical process) to sunlight, he says on his website. The cyanotype transforms to bright blue. He then incites other chemical reactions with household supplies like bleach and baking soda. He layers and layers and sometimes collages until “nature’s subtle way of dealing with the peculiar aspects in the relationship with mankind” reveals itself.

Sophomore Ian Edgely, history and political science major, attended the exhibit’s reception with his visual arts history class.

“Initially, I thought that the exhibit was composed of water colors,” Edgely said. However, Edgely’s professor told him that Roberts “…used photographic chemicals and shadows to create the images” -- a paradox to the work’s unnaturally clean and crisp appearance, Edgely said.

Each artist examines a different relationship with a different process. Roberts examines the peculiar with chemicals, layers and more layers; Wonderly examines the straightforward with simple lines and simple materials.

Roberts assures on his website, “It's not as nerdy as it sounds.”

The exhibits will remain on display for free at the College Park Center’s Gallery 249 on the University of Dayton campus until Feb. 13. For more information, contact the Department of Visual Arts at (937) 229-3237.

Amanda Dee is a sophomore English and journalism major with obsessive tendencies. She is currently fixated on tooth gaps, one-piece swimsuits and aliens. When not dreaming about the extraterrestrial, she blogs; writes for the arts and entertainment section of Flyer News; and edits Voices Raised, the Women's Center newsletter.

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