Places and Faces: Marcia Goldenstein and Tom Riesing

Left: Tom Riesing, Looking West, Siletz River. Right: Marcia Goldenstein, Night Light, Red Sky

August 7, 2020–October 2, 2020

From Krishna Adams, Director of Visual Arts, Craft, Media, and Design –

1973. In the midst of Elvis Presley’s famous concert in Hawaii, President Nixon in the White House and a peace agreement between the United States and North Vietnam, Tom Riesing, a recent Masters of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Nebraska struck out to teach at the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville. Three years later, Marcia Goldenstein, a friend and fellow Masters of Fine Arts alum (University of Nebraska 1973) would also make the trek south to teach painting at UT. The college friends reconnected, and in between staff meetings and teaching art, fell for each other and married—both were unaware of the deep and reaching impact their choices would make. 

Goldenstein and Riesing settled in, later having children: Katarina, an artist and Peter, a graphic designer. Riesing taught at UT until 2010 when he became director of the Ball State University School of Art in Muncie, Indiana. Goldenstein remained at UT until 2017 and was the first studio faculty woman to achieve tenure. Over numerous years, they contributed to helping build and strengthen the painting and drawing programs at UT. Thousands of students passed through their art classes and discussions over the years. 

Their artistic expressions can be quite different, however, they do share some similarities. Both artists continually experiment and stretch the boundaries of color and light to create atmospheric landscape paintings. From Goldenstein’s breezy, blended cloudy skies to the soft shadows enveloping Riesing’s trees, viewers can easily identify with their paintings as recognizable land spaces.

“I approach landscape painting through composites of different times and places, constructed in such a way as to produce new, believable, and striking situations. The aerial view of the land is paired with a spectacular evening sky that dominates with its dramatic forms and hues. Giving substance and structure to color-infused air and atmosphere is in contrast to the dwarfed panorama below the horizon. Where they meet becomes the heart of the work,” Goldenstein stated.

While they both have painting in common they also have artistic differences that branch and weave a fuller and tapestry of their passions. Using simple tools of ink, pencil, and eraser on paper, Riesing creates deep dimensional landscapes, often with trees as a focus. He uses years of skillful experience and intentional marks to form the seemingly simple essence of the natural architecture and space among us.  

“Drawing is an essential component of my studio practice. I utilize drawing not only as a means to develop ideas before and during the painting process but also as independent works of art. Materially they include graphite, silverpoint, and ballpoint pen. The ballpoint pen is my preferred method of sketching. I respond to its fluidity and to its unique ways of developing relative densities and layers of information. The graphite drawings allow for erasing and reduction while the silverpoint drawings require a more deliberate subtle approach to image and surface development,” Riesing explained.

Instead of building up a surface with ink or graphite, in the Women Artists and Activists in Stitches series, Goldenstein chooses to repeatedly puncture her canvas in ways to acknowledge, appreciate and respect female artists through conceived traditional needle and thread handicraft.

“My Women Artists and Activists in Stitches is a catalogue of iconic women who chose the challenge of professional careers in art and social activism. I embroidered them “in stitches” as a metaphor for a laugh at any criticism they may have encountered while pursuing their passions. Using a domestic craft I highlight the contrast between what activities society deemed acceptable versus how these women redefined “women’s work” through their inspiring and extraordinary accomplishments,” Goldenstein said.

This exhibition brings together a collection of work that encourages one to follow their passions and to always continue to grow. Over the years, Goldenstein’s work has been exhibited in Wisconsin, North Carolina, New York, Nebraska, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Illinois, New Mexico, Maryland, and Tennessee as well as internationally in China and Poland. She also instructed at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, the Central Ohio Watercolor Society, the Indianapolis Art Association, and at the Caribbean Carnival, St. Thomas Arts Council in the Virgin Islands among others. Goldenstein’s work can be found in collections such as the Great Plains Museum, University of Nebraska, Hastings College, and Joslyn Museum in Nebraska, Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Missouri, IBM in North Carolina, Sioux City Art Center in Iowa and the Little Rock Art Center in Arkansas. Tennessee collections include the Knoxville Museum of Art, University of Tennessee, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Tennessee State Museum, Aslan Foundation, and TVA. To see more of Goldenstein’s work and learn about her process go to and

Riesing has a prolific exhibition history as well including shows in Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington, DC in addition to international exhibitions in Switzerland, Poland, and China. Most recently, Riesing retired from teaching at Ball State as professor and director. He also taught workshops and classes at the University of Texas in San Antonio, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Arizona State University in Temple, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg. Internationally, he has instructed at the Eugeniuz Gepphart National Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland; and in China at the Central Academy of Art and Beihang University in Beijing, the Sichuan University in Chengdu, and Guangxi Normal University in Guilin among others. His landscapes can be found in the collections of the McGraw Publishing House and Esquire Inc. in New York, Davidson College Art Gallery and the I.B.M. Corporation in North Carolina, Asbury College and Pinkerton Tobacco Company in Kentucky, Miami University of Ohio and Miami Fine Arts Gallery in Ohio, Coca-Cola in Georgia, Sioux City Arts Center in Iowa, and in Tennessee at the Knoxville Museum of Art, Aslan Foundation, Logaven Artists’ Residencies, Nashville International Airport, Northern Telecom Corp., First Knoxville Bank, Austin Peay State University, TVA, City of Knoxville Convention Center, Arrowmont School of Fine Arts and Crafts and the Tennessee Arts Commission. International collections include the Department of Art, Sichuan University and Zhongyin International Industrial Corp., Ltd, Corporate Collection in China. To learn more about Riesing, check out and

Due to COVID-19 and the Tennessee Arts Commission’s continuing concern for health and safety, this exhibition is offered online only. 

Visit Online Exhibit