Personnel Profile

Charles E. Wissinger, Director of Art Program

Charles E. Wissinger

Biography

In August 2000, an unsolicited twist of fate caused Wissinger to leave the freezer (Alberta) and jump into the frying pan of South Texas. He accepted a one-year teaching appointment at the University of Texas - Pan American. Now on the Mexican boarder Wissinger found himself totally immersed in Hispanic culture in a land of palm trees and orange groves steeped in 12 months of summer. In January 2004 he was lured to Texas A & M University –Kingsville, on the Gulf Coast, where he is currently Director of the Art. His long-standing interest in pursuing international art and teaching connections prompted this move, which was impossible at UTPA. Now at TAMUK, set in the midst of the famed King Ranch, birthplace of the cowboy, he is truly deep in the heart of Texas. Here he became the driving force in establishing Americas: International Artists in Residence, an ongoing program. He also initiated an International Symposium titled The Globalization of Art. He continues to exhibit and work abroad, most recently in Jingdezhen, China and in Izmir, Turkey. Wissinger has worked and exhibited in Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, China and Mexico, as well as, the United States. He represented Canada in cultural programs of the Calgary Winter Olympics, the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, the Brisbaine Worlds Fair and both the Edmonton and Victoria British Commonwealth Games. His work has appeared in numerous international publications and was most recently featured in the book 21st Century Ceramics in the United States & Canada. In addition to his exhibited work Wissinger has created a number of large scale public installations including a 6meter high sculpture in Ringebu, Norway that was featured on Norwegian national television, a 3.5m H x 25m’L piece in Edmonton Alberta featured on CNN World Report, He designed and worked with students to create a 3m diameter floor mosaic for Talma Torah Jewish School in Edmonton which was dedicated by Shimon Perez. Wissinger was one of 20 international artists invited to Clay Sculpt Gulgong Australia where he produced a 7m out door work. Most recently he produced a 10mt in diameter public installation in Edmonton as part of Alberta’s centennial celebration.

Artist Statement

I am intrigued by North American cultures interaction with nature and our simplistic understanding of what it is to be human. As a society, and as individuals, we have become disassociated from the rest of creation. With footprints etched on the moon we exhibit little comprehension of our footing within the broader continuum. We have set ourselves apart from our world; going forth subduing and having dominion over it, carving it into ever smaller chunks for easy digestion, destabilizing the closed systems on which we depend.

This fractured swirl alienates us from the natural order, others and ourselves, leaving neurosis and heartache in its wake. My work meanders across a spectrum of concepts, stylistic approaches, and media: from loosely narrative to purely abstract; from stoneware mugs to monolithic salt fired sculpture; from drawing to porcelain to wood, steel, stone and clay mixes; from intimate mythscapes to six meter high public installations. It may seem a bit scattered, but with scrutiny the common threads binding the work together become apparent. In terms of media I find myself increasingly drawn to clay mixed with other materials i.e. welded steel, wood, stone, bone, found objects, etc. The use of juxtaposed materials is often more responsive to creative impulse than clay used alone. This is particularly the case when trying to create a sense of dialectic or opposition as is central to my work. Clay continues, with its pleasures and pain, to be my preferred medium. Frustration with its cumbersome nature is outweighed by clay’s inherent ability to capture raw tactile energy. I enjoy walking into new situations cold without preconceived ideas, sketches, tools etc. to see what happens. I believe an artist should be able to step outside of preconception to field what ever comes down the pike. For an image to transcend the mundane it must reflect the universal dynamic balance alluded to above. Remove this tension and the magic dies and image is reduced to merely craft.

Contact Information

Dept. of Art, Communications, & Theatre
Speech Bldg 175, 903 W Engineering Ave
MSC 178, 700 University Blvd, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Kingsville, Texas 78363-8202
voice: (361) 593- 3041
fax: N/A
email:
Personal Website: http://www.tamuk.edu/artsci/artcommta/index.html

This page was last updated on: June 27, 2017