Colorful abstract art focus of new ASU Gammage exhibit

December 15, 2015

Colorful images of abstract and modern art by two Arizona artists will be featured in an exhibition at ASU Gammage Dec. 13-Feb. 9.

Melissa Schleuger’s dynamic art incorporates geometric shapes into an organic backdrop, creating work that blends the unexpected with sophistication and beauty. Specializing in abstract expressionism, she begins each painting without preconceived influence and follows the lead of brush strokes and paint. abstract painting "Plus One" by Arizona artist Melissa Schleuger Download Full Image

Schleuger recently was named one of the finest emerging artists in the Valley by the 2015 Chancellor Awards of Maricopa Community Colleges. A student at Scottsdale Community College, she has shown her work at local venues including the Herberger Theater and Art Intersection.

Geoff Gildner’s work reflects his experience in the architectural field, using color, form and the shapes of the natural environment as a foundation. Many of the vibrant pieces on exhibit at Gammage are created using found objects such as wood, glass, sheet metal and old canvas paintings.

A 1994 history graduate from ASU with an emphasis on architecture, Gilner is a self-trained artist who is influenced by the works of Mondrian, Rietveld, Kandinsky, Pollack and de Kooning, as well as the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. His work can be found in private art collections both in the United States and abroad.

abstract art

"Witnesses to the Actions of One" by Arizona artist Geoff Gildner

Exhibit hours at ASU Gammage are 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, or by appointment. Due to rehearsals, event set-up, performances, special events and holidays, it is advisable to call (480) 965-6912 or (480) 965-0458 to ensure viewing hours, since they are subject to cancellation without notice.

The street address is 1200 S. Forest Ave., Tempe. Parking is available at meters around the perimeter of ASU Gammage. Entrance is through east lobby doors at the box office.

Media contact: Brad Myers, art exhibit coordinator, 480-965-6912

ASU's Project Humanities 'So Excited' to host conversation with Ruth Pointer

December 16, 2015

How does one find humanity in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll?

Well, Grammy artist and singer Ruth Pointer is going to give it the old college try and explain it in her own words, and in person. A Conversation with Ruth Pointer Download Full Image

ASU’s Project Humanities is hosting “A Conversation with Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters” as part of its spring 2016 kickoff for its campaign, “Humanity 101: Creating a Movement.” The event starts at 6 p.m., Feb. 11 at the First Institutional Baptist Church, 1141 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Admission is free and open to the public.

A limited number of VIP tickets will be sold, which includes a reception from 4 to 5:30 p.m., a signed copy of Pointer’s new memoir, "Still So Excited!" and a reserved seat for the main event. Go here to reserve your seat for either or both events.

During this campaign, Project Humanities will host a wide range of events and activities at the ASU campuses and at different community events around the Valley; bringing together students, staff, faculty, alumni, emeriti and the public to engage critically with these seven values — respect, integrity, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, kindness and self-reflection.

“We are extremely excited about and honored to host Ruth Pointer’s visit,” said Neal Lester, founding director of ASU’s Project Humanities and Foundation Professor of English.

“So many across the country grew up on the Pointer Sisters’ musical energy and admired their vintage dress style. It will be interesting to hear her story of triumph and challenge and triumph from an important perspective we don’t necessarily witness every day.”

Few musical acts have seen the extreme highs and lows of the Pointer Sisters. From their humble beginnings in West Oakland to the center of the pop music scene in the 1970s and 1980s, they’ve endured more than 40 years under the harsh heat of the media spotlight. Their music entertained and brought joy to millions of fans around the world, but for Ruth Pointer, the journey wasn’t always a happy one.

The group’s popularity and multiple hit songs (“I’m So Excited,” “Jump,” “Automatic,” “Neutron Dance” and “Slow Hand”) thrust the sisters into international stardom, winning four Grammy awards, a slew of MTV “Moon Man” trophies, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

While their success may have served as an introduction to the good life, it was also the introduction to the "high life" of limos, champagne, white glove treatment and addictive habits that were the norm in the high-flying '70s and '80s.

Though it sounds like all the makings of a thrilling life, it was also one filled with heartbreak, inner demons and years of struggle for Pointer, whose devastating drug and alcohol abuse took her to the brink of death in 1984.

“There are certain truths we must all face about ourselves, and sometimes you don’t always like what you see when looking into the mirror,” Pointer said. “In my case, there were a lot of things I didn’t like in that reflection. I would like to say that I saw a stranger, but what I saw was a true reflection of who I was — an alcoholic and drug-addicted woman who was more concerned about getting high than tending to her family’s needs. But the beauty of being broken is that it allows you to pick up the pieces of your life.”

Pointer says she eventually found recovery through a pair of 12-step programs, embracing a sobriety through structure and measure that she has stuck to for more than three decades.

“Today my life is filled with both blessings and heartaches, but the blessings far outweigh the other,” Pointer said. “I’m so excited … and I just can’t hide it.”

Project Humanities is an award-winning university-wide initiative at ASU with the expressed goal to show the interactions among humanities and other areas of scholarship and human endeavor. Through public programming and scholarship, Project Humanities seeks to make visible locally and nationally the excellence, range, and impact of humanist thinking and practice.

For more information, call 480-727-7030 or visit