Monday, August 27, 2012

American art by international artists featured in new Maier exhibition

The new exhibition at The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College tells the story of cultures that have come together in America to make unique art.

Opening Reception

Bridges Not Walls opens Friday, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m., with a gallery talk.

See the poster for details.
Bridges Not Walls: The 101st Exhibition of Contemporary Art includes the works of six artists from other countries who have made their home in the United States. It follows the theme of the College’s quality enhancement plan, also titled “Bridges Not Walls,” which seeks to build students’ intercultural competency.

“It seemed to offer a lot of opportunity for us as a theme,” said Martha Johnson, director of the Maier. “There is an overabundance of great examples of people expressing themselves creatively, bringing with them all these different heritages.”

The new exhibition opens on Friday, August 31, at 3:30 p.m. when artist Sook Jin Jo will give a gallery talk, followed by a reception. Originally from Korea, her work follows themes of finding common ground in humanity. Her work in Bridges Not Walls is an installation art piece featuring empty frames hanging from the ceiling, as well as a video of her performance art Crossroads.

Most of the other artists represented in the exhibition will present gallery talks and participate in a panel discussion during the Heather Clark Berlind Symposium, Sept. 15–16.

The other artists include:

Edgar Endress
Born in ChilĂ©, much of Endress’ art tells the story of people moving from one country to another, Johnson said. In Bridges Not Walls, he presents The Shrine of the American Dream, which features images from patent applications for inventions that never became successful, combined with wood from demolished homes.

Muriel Hasbun
Hasbun grew up in El Salvador during a civil war. Her father, a dentist, was often called upon to use dental X-rays to identify casualties during the war. Her work Ex Post Facto turns these X-rays into art. “These images had a very haunting kind of role, but they also are very beautiful abstractions,” Johnson said. “She sees them as inner landscapes of individuals who now are identified and remembered by these X-rays.”

Assaf Evron
Primarily a photographer, Evron will display pieces from a series of photographs that portray a phenomenon in his home country of Israel. Because of the price of scrap metal, many people fill shopping carts with scrap that they can sell. His photographs in this series portray these shopping carts and their shadows with background removed, making them appear as floating sculptures.

Kukuli Verlarde
Verlarde is from Peru and now lives in Philadelphia. Her art works include ceramic sculpture inspired by pre-Columbian imagery and life-size self-portrait paintings. “She explores different identities that are stereotypical identities of Peruvian women,” Johnson said. The Maier exhibition will include four of Verlarde’s self-portraits.

Jiha Moon
Compared to the other artists represented in Bridges Not Walls, Moon’s work involves more visual blending between American culture and her native culture. “She combines Korean imagery with American imagery and puts them together in a very playful way,” Johnson said. Moon now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Johnson said the exhibition was originally inspired by the College’s 2010 exhibition, which included works from Korean artist Sang-Ah Choi. Randolph acquired Choi’s Welcome to America, a mixed-media piece that depicts immigrants being welcomed by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and surrounded by American cultural symbols. “A lot of her work is about her coming here and about her impressions of what life is like here,” Johnson said.

“It’s a very American thing,” she added. “Ultimately, we’re a country of immigrants. It’s an old story, but one I think we sometimes tend to forget.”