The Land, now showing at the Muskegon Museum of Art, unites of the work of Grand Valley State University’s Associate Professor Bill Hosterman and, now retired, Professor Ed Wong-Ligda. The exhibit is an ongoing project that shares the independent work of each artist and invites viewers to explore the ways in which we visualize and interact with land.
Hosterman befriended Ed Wong-Ligda, the original founder and professor of the Grand Valley State University Illustration program, before his retirement in 2015. During their time at GVSU together, Wong-Ligda and Hosterman discovered their shared admiration for each other’s work. Soon after meeting, Wong-Ligda proposed the idea of combining their art into one show. The two artists are now on their fifth showing of the exhibit and continue to add new pieces to the collection.
Painter and Illustrator, Ed Wong-Ligda is heavily influenced by commercial artists from the early 19thcentury, such as John Constable. Referring to their work within his own, Wong-Ligda paints large scale landscapes with fine detail and consideration. Professor Bill Hosterman shared that Wong-Ligda has never been a fan of the outdoors and that his otherwise beautiful landscapes, have an “odd quality to them”. His paintings portray a landscape that alludes to the fragile state of human beings and what Hosterman describes as an “existential crisis of his mortality”. The idea behind his work is simple: if he were placed into these spaces, he would die. Wong-Ligda’s process usually begins with a photograph, which is used as the base for his painting, and then is used to inspire the remainder of its surrounding landscape.
As a Printmaker, Bill Hosterman’s work has a tendency to bounce between realism and abstraction, both within the visual aspect of the piece and its concept of the human presence and the physical body moving through space. In his art, Hosterman sees himself from a distance, a pulled back point of view, and investigates the way in which humans and nature define each other. Hosterman believes that in means of providing themselves with a sense of location, humans define land with lines and boarders. And, in result, individuals are able to find their own sense of identity. The direct correlation between boarders and the human identity are represented in Hosterman’s work through the use of lines and linear forms.
The Land: The Art of Bill Hosterman and Ed Wong-Ligda is now showing at the Muskegon Museum of Art until the 7thof December.