Artist blends shapes and colors

Paintings, drawings and and collages ranging from 7 by 8 inches to 61 by 97 inches fill the walls of the Diane Kidd Gallery at Tiffin University. A closer look reveals that all are “Untitled.”

“There’s a sense that the work should speak for itself in some ways, and that it doesn’t require an explanation,” said the artist, Glen Cebulash. “If you put a title on it … people start looking for symbolic meanings in the painting.”

He was on hand to talk with about 40 people attending the opening reception of “Paintings, Drawings and Collages” Thursday evening. His straight-forward observation was that a painting is a flat surface on which to make marks, spread colors and add shapes that can be realistic or abstract. The artist changes the space on the flat surface into something different.

“It’s a different kind of space than the space that we walk around in … These works are all done improvisationally,” Cebulash said.

Each piece begins with forms that he arranges and re-arranges over a long period of time. Some of the forms are layered, while others get “surgical interventions.” Cebulash said he works until the piece “seems complete,” but sometimes he feels compelled to “go back in” to make changes and paint over a shape or color.

“What you’re seeing there is layers and layers of mistakes,” he said.

Gallery curator Lee Fearnside said some shapes are repeated in multiple paintings. Cebulash called them his “vocabulary of forms” that are varied and reused. His collages tend to be smaller, but he likes to paint in a large format to give the piece a “monumental feel.” Another person asked how he decides on the size of the work.

“I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard, when I was a kid, that fish just get as big as the bowl that they’re in. My office is my studio … and I can handle a certain size painting. I think if I had a bigger office, I would make bigger paintings,” Cebulash said.

He has no favorite medium. Each one has its own qualities that lend themselves to some works but not to others. As far as the creative process, Cebulash emphasized he has no “conscious intentionality” about the finished art. There is no “system” or preconception. He does not make a drawing and fill it in. The shapes and colors “are achieved” over time to reach a balance and produce a work “with its own rhythm.”

Cebulash said he took an interest in art as a career while in high school. Although there was no particular person who encouraged him, he said no one discouraged him. In college, the artist painted landscapes and human figures from observation. Now he just invents his own ways of filling the space. He has little interest in cubism, surrealism or “any -ism.” Being able to make a living by teaching and painting is a “tremendous blessing” to him.

“Paintings, Drawings and Collages” is to remain in the Diane Kidd Gallery until Nov. 21. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. For more information, contact Lee Fearnside at