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George Kozmon (1960- )

Cuyahoga (left) 2022, Focus (center), 2022, Chagrin 2, 2022 (right)

Materials:  archival pigment print on acrylic panel, 3' x 4', 3’ x 6’, 3' x 4'

Location at Summa: Juve Family Behavioral Health Pavilion, second floor main lobby

About the artist:

Raised in Cleveland and Switzerland, George Kozmon earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1982, where today he is a faculty member of the Continuing Education and Community Outreach program. He is also a lecturer at Case Western Reserve University and at the Orange Arts Center, as well as a trustee of the Hungarian Heritage Museum, and he has directed the Cain Park Arts festival each summer since 1996.

In addition, he has written about art, curated exhibitions and projects, and founded THRIVE: an Artspace, that operated in Cleveland from 2002-2006.

Where you can see more of this artists work:

Kozmon's work has been shown and collected both nationally and internationally. In northeastern Ohio, you can find his work at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Akron Art Museum, the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, and the Federal Reserve and Progressive collections in Cleveland, among many others.

His monumental paintings also appear in public and private collections in Cologne (Germany); at the IBM Headquarters in Armonk, NY; and in London, as well as having been exhibited in solo, 2-person, and group shows in Ohio, Florida, Oregon, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan. And he has completed commissions for Halliburton Corporate headquarters in Houston, TX; for the Key Corp. and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland; for Turner Construction Company of Columbus; for the Ritz-Carlton in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), and for Ungerer GmbH in Pforzheim, Germany (again, among many others).

Bodies of work, recent projects and directions are documented on George Kozmon's website, which also contains several videos of exhibitions, documentation of works in progress, and a recent lecture, as well as a selection of his essays.



More about Chagrin II

Work title, date: Chagrin 2, 2022

Materials:  archival pigment print on acrylic panel, 3x 4

Location at Summa: Second floor main lobby, Juve Behavioral Health Pavilion

Multiple photos of the Chagrin River here overlay U.S. Geological Services maps of the same area, one of the river's many falls cutting through Berea sandstone, several shales, and finally down to bedrock Chagrin shale.  It is, we could say, natural for a lifelong hiker and kayaker who is also an artist to combine the maps used on his outdoor adventures with photos of the same places.  Maps are an abstract representation of a place, and both photos and maps are visual documents which we nonetheless, and routinely, "read" in very different ways, for different purposes.  George Kozmon combines and manipulates them to encourage our awareness of their inherent tensions and complementarities.

We could also say that the subject of this image is how water speed and motion increase as the river descends over a fall (lower right).  The artist intensifies the feeling of descent by repeating the lower right corner of the map under the image several more times, moving in the same direction, subtly continues this movement by hanging this panel to the right of the others in this grouping.

Notice other changes to both water and the colors and shapes in the underlying maps that George Kozmon has juxtaposed in order to create a feeling of churn. He contrasts these with the river's glassy surface above and left, reminding us that a river contains, among other things, both lively surprises and peaceful moments.

More about Cuyahoga

Work title, date: Cuyahoga 2022

Materials: archival pigment print on acrylic panel, 3x 4

Location at Summa: Second floor main lobby, Juve Behavioral Health Pavilion

About the artwork:

This digital image is composed of layered photographs taken of/on the Cuyahoga River in one of the Cleveland Metroparks overlapping digital maps of the same area. The work comes from a series of recent digital explorations by Cleveland native George Kozmon.  Here the varied greens of summer, mirrored in the slow-moving waters of the river, evoke a cool, unpeopled place that the maps represent in the same hue but much more abstractly.  Almost anonymous, the "there"-ness of the scene becomes highly specific through the cartography, down to the detailed information provided in the legend that Kozmon retains in the lower and upper borders.

Kozmon may be best known as a painter of large-scale canvases, but at a certain point he wanted to enlarge his artistic toolkit while continuing to explore painterly concerns. At the same time, he also wanted to upend his usual practice of starting out by drawing.  So, he captured natural images with a digital camera instead of sketching and then composed these, along with layers of digital maps, into hybrid images. He manipulates all that digital information, in Photoshop on a computer, in order to explore a range of colors, textures, relationships, and depths before having to finalize. He enhances these qualities by printing his selected composition on large acrylic panels that appear to float above the wall on which they will hang.  He also observes that working digitally makes it easy to return to an earlier image and continue to "play" with it, perhaps discovering something more along the way or returning to an image after some time.

More about Focus

Work title, date: Focus, 2022

Materials:  archival pigment print on acrylic panel, 3’ x 6’

Location at Summa: Second floor main lobby, Juve Behavioral Health Pavilion

The flanking images in this grouping feature rivers that flow through Cleveland Metroparks, while this expansive central panel instead rises in the image of a mountain above Switzerland's Lauterbrunnen Valley, where Kozmon has hiked since his youth.  Multiple topographical maps underly the photographic images, some of which were captured as early as 2018.  The mountainous landscape is highlighted by an imposed transparent map-circle, the focus of the title, which also suggests a moon rising behind the summits.  Of course, it makes a great central image, in a tradition of majestic photographs of the American West by photographers such as Ansel Adams, even as this site is located in western Europe!

George Kozmon describes how certain digital tools have made it easier for him to play with color and, along the way, continue to develop his creative process in unanticipated directions.  Recently, he has gone back to some older digital images to re-view and re-engage with them, letting serendipity guide his creative processes. 

The large-format printing on acrylic of this and the two flanking panels requires commercial equipment, for which the artist chooses archival pigments with the promise of longer life for the finished works. Such collaboration between individual artist and commercial fabricators (such as printers, weavers, and laser-cutter operators) is made possible by sharing digital files and may be noted in several other works in the Summa Collection: See the works by Christopher Felver, Joe Levack, Michael Loderstedt, and Taryn McMahon; and, of course, the panels in patient rooms in the Williams Tower -- by photographers Ian Adams, Wayne Mazorow, and Rob Blair and painter Caroline Rowntree -- were all printed on special Willow Glass in order to assure hygienic standards in those rooms.


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