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Mary Jo Bole
Tombs & Toilets
Jun 5–Jul 25, 2015Mary Jo Bole
Tombs & Toilets
William Busta Gallery
2731 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland OH 44115
W	williambust...
. . . . breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
—T.S. Eliot,...
Mary Jo Bole
Born 1956, Cleveland, OH
Lives and works in Columbus, OH
1982	 MFA, Alfred State Col...
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Tombs and Toilets ( at William Busta Gallery)


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Brochure from 2015 exhibition by Mary Jo S. Bole

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Tombs and Toilets ( at William Busta Gallery)

  1. 1. Mary Jo Bole Tombs & Toilets
  2. 2. Jun 5–Jul 25, 2015Mary Jo Bole Tombs & Toilets William Busta Gallery 2731 Prospect Avenue Cleveland OH 44115 W T 216.298.9071 E Cover: Back to Nature, 2015 enamel (version of tintypes) on steel; 30 x 26.5 in. Right: Purge Incomplete at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, 2012 installation Opposite: You Remember, 2006 enamel on steel, iron, polystyrene; 12.5 x 55 x 55 in. Below, left: Winifred, Ruth, Winifred, 2000–12 mosaic, bronze, silicone; 17 x 56 x 41.5 in. Below, right: Good-Bye Water Bubbler, 2008 chromed, nickel-plated cast iron; 12 x 17 x 8.5 in; 41 x 13 x 12 in, with stand.
  3. 3. . . . . breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. —T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, part 1, The Burial of the Dead There is something in the work of Mary Jo Bole that suggests a reading from piece to piece. It is a narrative that makes the most sense if you sidestep the natural tendency to create plotline and instead entangle in the connective roots of memory, and then open to the tease and tickle of the tendrils of repressed passion. These are the things that underlay all desire. The exhibition Tombs and Toilets presents in two parts: a larger area with work that is of and about memory and memorializing; and a smaller area, a cell, with work that studies and presents sanitation in its day-to-day function in penal systems. That the two parts of the exhibition struggle against each other is reflexively obvious. But they fit together as well—with an underlying sympathy of approach and texture and materials. There’s an unsettling in all the work, and an elegy for the spirit, and a centering of place. Important to the creation of the work in this exhibition is the artist residency program at the The Kohler Company in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Since 1974, 500 artists have participated in this program, which provides studio space and access to the company’s industrial ceramic, enamel, and metal casting, fabricating, and firing capabilities. It has become both an honor and a rite-of-passage for artists, particularly for those who were trained in ceramic media. In 1988, Mary Jo Bole was an early participant in this program and she returned in 2008 to work in the Cast Iron Foundry. Her experience encouraged her artistic practice in other residencies which provided access to industrial equipment—some of these were formal programs and others were initiated by her to expand the possibilities of her work. Mary Jo Bole has been constructing and deconstructing her visual vocabulary since the 1970s. One of the pivotal influences in organizing her perception of history was the 1973 ground-breaking book, Wisconsin Death Trip, by Michael Lesy. The book reached a popular as well as an intellectual audience with a history based on an odd assortments of visual materials from late 19th-century Wisconsin. It was an unvarnished, intimate, messy history, a search for meaning in the melodrama and tragedy of everyday life. Mary Jo Bole Memory and Desire So you start with the images in the exhibition, suggestive of a century or more in the past. There are emblems and suggestions, piles of artifact cast in memorial, and novelty photographs. It makes a difference to the artist that the people and objects and structures that are presented here are mostly from her own family history. While it does not seem as important for the viewer to know that, the impact of that intimacy, that connection of generation to generation, does amplify the transcendent generational dialogue of the work. At the back of the gallery is a cell of parts, real and imagined, from prisons—places where people are held against their will in close quarters. The modern prison is an invention of the enlightenment of the late 18th century, developed further by the social reform movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Prisons were the first large institutions to have sanitary systems. In this part of the exhibition, Mary Jo Bole uses drawing, decals and prison plumbing in usual and unusual materials to provide a history of sanitary fixtures. It is somehow humanizing at the same time that it is in the context of dehumanizing experience. Transitioning from one part of the exhibition to the other leaves you unsteady, particularly as you move from institutional to personal memorials. The human body is a prison of sorts and memory is a landscape of liberation.
  4. 4. Mary Jo Bole Born 1956, Cleveland, OH Lives and works in Columbus, OH Education 1982 MFA, Alfred State College (SUNY); Alfred, NY 1979 BFA, Cum Laude, School of Art & Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Selected Recent Solo Exhibitions 2014 Tree of Life, Future Tense, permanent installation, Dublin Arts Council, Columbus, OH Tombs and Toilets, Mt St Mary’s College, Los Angeles, CA 2009 Purge Incomplete, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Philadelphia, PA 2008 Through the Hourglass, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH 2006 Terse, Tender, Feinkunst Kruger Gallery, Hamburg, Germany 2005 Dear Little Twist of Fate, The Arnoff Center, Cincinnati, OH 2001 Relics & Reliquaries, William Busta Gallery, Cleveland, OH 1995 Ann Nathen Gallery, Chicago, IL 1993 My Yard, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH Selected Artists Books 2014 White Elephant 1860–1960, Logan Elm Press, Columbus, OH 2013 Combing Columbus: Photogenic Drawings for the Bicentennial, edition 1000, commissioned by Columbus Public Art 2012, Columbus, OH 2012 Toilet Worship, Logan Elm Press, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 2005 MJ’s Daily Spy History, Knust Press, Nijmegen, The Netherlands Artist in Residence selections 2015 KVO Industries, Santa Rosa, CA [also 2014, 2009, 2007] 2012/10 Logan Elm Book Press, OSU Libraries, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 2000–12 Belden Brick Company, Sugarcreek, OH (every summer) 2008 Artist in Industry, Kohler Cast Iron Foundry, Kohler, WI Camp Tin-type, Dundee, NY Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle WA 2005 Knust Press, part of Extrapool, Nijmegen, The Netherlands [also 1997, 1996] 2004 Dresden Artist Exchange Program, The Greater Columbus Arts Council, OH 2004/02 Dedouch Monument Plaque Company, Chicago, IL 2002 Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (sponsored by Ohio Arts Council) 2000 Sanitary ware “Gustavsberg” Factory, Stockholm, Sweden Rossato Co. SRL, Vicenza, Italy (tombstone monument plaques) 1997 New Castle Refractory, New Castle, PA 1991 Soviet / United States / Baltic States Symposium at Dzintari Arts Institute, Latvia 1989/88 Artist in Industry; Kohler Factory, Kohler, WI Grants and Honors 2012 Finding Time: Columbus Public Art 2012, Columbus, OH 2010 Visual Arts Fellowship, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Columbus, OH 2007 Individual Excellence Award, Ohio Arts Council [Also 2000, 1989, 1985, 1984] 1999 Andy Warhol Foundation Grant through Woman’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY Selected Public Collections Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit, MI Dublin Arts Council, Dublin, OH J Paul Getty Museum (Artists Book Archive), Los Angeles, CA Kohler Company and John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI Museum of Modern Art (Artists Book Collection), New York, NY Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia Tallerija Langas, Vilnius, Lithuania William Oxley Thompson Library, Ohio State University, Columbus Professional 1989–01 Professor of Art, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH