IUP art exhibition features eclectic mix
The 5 X 5 art exhibition at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Kipp Gallery features an eclectic mix of drawings, paintings, unique installations and small sculptures from five new and adjunct faculty in the school's Department of Art and Art Education.
Tom Estlack, a visiting assistant professor in three-dimensional design and introduction to art, utilizes the form of interactive installations to challenge the viewer's sensibilities. By using film, painting, the Internet, or interactive sculptures, Estlack hopes to evoke awareness and physical responses to themes of child abuse, technology, exploitation, genetic engineering, miscommunication, and sensory perception.
"To fully experience the work, the viewer must either break with social mores or abide by them according to these sensory cues and signs," said Estlack. "I want to challenge the viewer with subject matter that could be considered frivolous, disturbing, inspiring, or distasteful."
Using a reaction/interaction theme, Ryan Roth, a visiting assistant professor of painting, explores business careerism and the struggle of roles in society between that of the businessman and the directionless slacker.
"For the last five years, I was concerned with a paradoxical aesthetic that juxtaposes beauty and revulsion with the relentless pursuit of business success," said Roth. "To create fusion and interaction between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional I have my paintings protrude from the walls. The cutout form is a vehicle to liberate my figures and invite the viewer to engage more actively with each piece."
Assistant professor of Art Education Bob Sweeny takes a humorous look at communication at the cellular level, in the language of ones and zeroes, bleeps and blobs.
"We might discuss the power of language, the power of images, the power of sounds embedded in foam that burble out beats, but don't think that the discussion insulates the immediacy of the experience," Sweeny said. "Something makes it through, under the radar, beneath the skin."
It is the natural growth rhythms of vegetation and plant forms that appeal to Maura Koehler Kenney in her colored pencil drawings. Gardening is her inspiration.
"The cycles of vegetative growth in my gardens along with my involvement in the gardening process reflect the cycles relative to being a woman and a mother, while the personal stages of my life correlate to the many different and simultaneous growth rhythms," said Keeney, an instructor of figure drawing and color and two-dimensional design.
Debra English, visiting assistant professor of ceramics, also bases her work on nature and her experience of agriculture in Northern Alberta.
"Learning to cope, anxiety and unpredictability is part of what being involved in agriculture is all about," said English. "Beauty is found in repetition of tasks, changing seasons, progress of growth, and the pride gained from accomplishment are damaged or altered by unpredictable natural events such as storms or droughts."
Dr. Brenda Mitchell, art professor who coordinates the gallery shows, said the 5 X 5 show is exciting.
"The work is fresh and original," said Mitchell. "Debra English and Maura Koehler Keeney's work is quiet and intimate, while a strong element of humor runs through the work of Tom Estlack, Ryan Roth, and Bob Sweeny."
Details'5 X 5'
When: March 17-April 15
Where: Kipp gallery, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Opening reception: March 24, 4:30-6:30 p.m.