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 An Evolving Path, artwork by Mark Langeneckert.

 

Mark G. Langeneckert, visiting instructor of drawing and illustration at MU, spends much of his time convincing students to forget what they think they know about seeing. "Un-learn the common practice of merely looking," he urges them. "The art of seeing, the translation of visual clutter into a more organized visual experience, is elementary to making art."

By way of explanation, Langeneckert directs a visitor's gaze toward a group of three large charcoal sketches. "Everyone comes to drawing with preconceptions about how they should see something," he says. When positioned behind a reclining figure, for instance, our eyes tell us her legs are foreshortened. But our brain says otherwise. "This is a real problem for students. It's hard for them to trust their eyes, to say, 'This is a line that should be only two inches long, even though I'm representing a human thigh that is at least 18 inches in length.' "

Langeneckert, 50, has never had trouble trusting his own visual reading of the world. His recent paintings, a selection of which appear in this online gallery, are examples of how a skilled artist's rendering of an "organized visual experience" -- in Langeneckert's case austere, yet intensely colorful, representations of objects, forms and the natural world -- can carry great emotional weight.

Making such art, he says, requires a technical proficiency gained through years of study and practice. It also demands a refinement of one's creative sensibilities, what Langeneckert calls "the evolving path of personal discovery."

"An artistic life, if there truly is one, is one in which the art is a part of all aspects of what you do, whether you're gardening or cooking or cleaning your house," he says. "If you can develop that thought process, where art isn't just a thing you do in your studio but is a part of everything in your life, then your creative work can truly blossom."

       
     
       
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Published by the Office of Research. Copyright 2005, Curators of the University of Missouri. Click here to contact the editor.