Art of James Rettinger


This is a small sample of the artwork created by James Rettinger, who taught for many years in the Art Department of Seneca Valley High School. He inspired many of his students to go on to become professional artists and many others to continue the study and appreciation of art of all types.

He was my art teacher from about 1st to 6th grade and then 9th to 12th.

Portrait by one of his students.

From Jim Rettinger describing one of his one-person shows:

Our civilization is blasted, bombarded and blighted with imagery – magazine pages, along road sides, on TV, and now computer screens. Meaningful and meaningless spew forth into the same soup. A failure to decipher highway directives can result in violent collisions and death or just plain being lost without a sense of direction.

The messages are clear, measured, directive and precise in the mind of the sender, usually in the form of commercial advertising. It’s the perceiver, the ordinary person, who has the problem. Those competitive messages become confusion. Communication becomes a matter of chance. Knowing is arbitrary.

For my art, I follow the pattern of my culture. I do use the usual art media – clay, paint or plaster but I include ordinary found objects – both man-made and natural. Real is better than representational. My subject becomes arbitrary. Picasso said, “I don’t seek. I find.” Objects are selected impulsively – what appeals to me at the time. I use what I find. Walt, my country friend, tells me repeatedly, “Stuff happens.”

My domain for organization and presentation is a horse of a different color. It is deliberate and more thought out. It is an agony of thought, with decision making and personal challenge. Would the work be better if I attached the plumbing fixture to the ceramic arm or if I turned the whole thing inside out? The purpose is to bring everything together with a single voice. I look for connections, balance, movement, contradictions and repetitions. I follow Jasper John’ s tenet, “You take something and add it to something, then do something else.” It is the structural configuration that provides the work with a web for personal interpretation.

Meaning cannot be prescribed. For me, I often discover personal meaning before I create and while I create, but more often after I create. This works. It leads toward the journey of my next work. As always, my next work will be my best work. — James (Jim) Rettinger

A Small Sampler of Jim’s Artwork

• 1954 – Crafton High School
• Bachelors: Art Education – IUP
• Masters: Art Education – Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
• Art Teacher, 38 years – Seneca Valley School District

• Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
• Pittsburgh Society of Artists
• West Hills Art League
• Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
• Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors
• Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts
• Associated Artists of Butler County
• Thursday Group, Panza Gallery, Figure Drawing

• Edinboro University
• Appalachian Corridors Exhibit, Avampato Discovery
• Seton Hill College Museum, Charleston, WV (2 works)
• Thiel College
• Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg,
• Butler County Arts Center PA, (2008 Juried Biennial )
• PPG Wintergarten (Art Educator shows)
• Hoyt Institute, New Castle (Atlantic Regional)
• Pennsylvania Governor’s School
• Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (Mercyhurst College)
• Cranberry Civic Center
• IUP Kipp Gallery
• Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh (Kipp Gallery) (National Open Exhibition)
• University of Pittsburgh Gallery,
• Harmony House Tours, Harmony, PA Frick Fine Arts Bldg
• Butler Institute of American Art, Salem, Ohio branch
• Third Street Gallery, Carnegie, PA
• CMU (Associated Artist Pittsburgh Show)

• North Hills Art Center
• Gallery Z, South Side, Pittsburgh, PA
• Butler County Community College
• Le Poire Gallery, Crafton, PA
• Frank L. Melega Art Museum, Brownsville, PA
• Hoyt Institute, New Castle, PA
• Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA
• Artspace Gallery, Richmond, VA
• Seneca Valley High School, Harmony, PA

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