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Cheryl Wassenaar is a visual artist who investigates language as a system of meaning that is dependent upon arrangement and context. She works primarily with found commercial signage, repurposing the discarded wood into visual metaphors of failed communication that borrow from the language of modernist painting, contemporary advertising, and technology. Merging aspects of graphic design, painting, and sculpture, the work evokes visual stutters of sounds, ideas, and data. She also works collaboratively with poets and other artists to create site-specific installations that use signmaker’s vinyl, manipulated objects, video and sound to activate environments (see this for video walk-through of Cleavemark Dr. at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, a collaboration with artist/poet Stephanie Ellis Schlaifer, whose work can be found here.)
Wassenaar earned her BFA from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, and her MFA from the University of Cincinnati. Her work is exhibited nationally and internationally, appearing in over fifty group and solo exhibitions. Her corporate collections include Camden Real Estate headquarters in Houston; Fidelity Investments in Boston; and Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI. Wassenaar is currently represented by LongView Gallery in Washington D.C. She serves as associate professor in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.
See more of Wassenaar’s work here.
[…] Cheryl Wassenaar is an artist based in St. Louis. Since her arrival there in 2001, she has witnessed a changing landscape as far as the arts are concerned. Today she says the city hosts a vibrant arts community. Presently Wassenaar is preparing to open an exhibit titled The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs in collaboration with Stephanie Schlaifer, an artist and poet. This piece, their third collaboration, is based on Schaifer’s group of poems titled The Cabinet Ministers. The poems imagine areas of the brain as cabinet ministers and the exhibition visualizes this. Wassenaar’s own practice has been quite traditional and solitary so her collaboration with Schlaifer has been a big leap. Previously the two worked on an exhibition based on a collection of Schaifer’s poems titled Cleavemark. For this installation, Wassenaar worked through the ways in which the poems spoke to her, mapping the language within the context of the gallery space. She notes that there is a visual quality to Schlaifer’s poetry. In addition to her collaborative work, Wassenaar still works as a solo artist. She currently has a collection of objects that straddle the line between design, painting, and sculpture created from found material. She says she has always preferred to “build a painting rather than paint a painting.” Wassenaar’s object-based work is primarily exhibited and sold through Long View Gallery in Washington, D.C. To hear more about Wassenaar’s artistic relationship with found objects, listen to the full interview here. […]