“Shaping Space” art exhibit to be featured at Coe

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2011-10-19 15:19:46 - General

Artistic installations by Rachel Hayes and Liz Miller will be featured in the upcoming Coe College art show “Shaping Space,” along with an artist’s talk by Beili Liu and a panel discussion.  The installations will be on display in the Marvin Cone and Eaton-Buchan Galleries of Sinclair Auditorium, with an opening reception in the Sinclair lobby on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 5 – 7 p.m.  All of the events are free and open to the public, with gallery hours from 4 - 6 p.m. daily from Oct. 29 through Nov. 20.

The artist’s talk featuring Beili Liu will be held on Friday, Oct. 28 beginning at 2:50 p.m. in Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall.  In addition, a panel discussion will be held in Kesler Lecture Hall on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 4 p.m., immediately prior to the opening reception.

The “Shaping Space” exhibits and events are organized by Gallery Director Jennifer Rogers and ACM/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Art and Visiting Assistant Professor in Art Claire Kovacs.

“We had two main objectives in organizing this exhibition,” noted Rogers.  “Our first was to enhance and enrich the educational experiences of Coe students. This is especially applicable to those enrolled in the Exhibitions and Installation in Contemporary Art course this fall as well as our studio art and art history majors. The students enrolled in this course will have the exciting opportunity to work with our visiting artists, Rachel Hayes and Liz Miller, in the galleries during the installation, assisting, witnessing and engaging with the artistic process.”

The second goal was to open up a discourse about installation art and the continuously evolving notion of art and artistic practice. The exhibition will be enhanced by a panel discussion held on October 29 at 4 p.m. The panel will consist of the two exhibiting artists as well as Beili Liu, associate professor of art, 3D foundations, at the University of Texas – Austin, and Isabel Barbuzza, associate professor of sculpture at the University of Iowa.

“In bringing together four practicing installation artists we hope to garner an active and engaging discussion on some of the issues surrounding installation as an art form,” concluded Rogers.

Details of the exhibits are as follows:

“This is Happening” by Rachael Hayes.

Rachel Hayes
Rachel Hayes is interested in creating work that functions on multiple levels within a given space – as a fascinating object, as a minimalist sculpture, as an architectural space divider/interrupter, as an abstract painting, or even as a massive stained glass patchwork quilt.

“Hand sewn and often large scale, my work is in equal major – both powerful and fragile,” noted Hayes in her artist’s statement.  “Scale and color consume a space, yet there is balance with the delicately sewn stitches and understated shadows, therefore maintaining a strong physical and material presence while remaining sensuous and experiential.  I am physically attracted to color, and how it can affect my relationship to various materials.

“A site will often dictate the scale of my work, and I will try to take advantage of what a given space will offer, such as height and width, natural light or incandescent.  Then I muse about how my materials may take advantage of it,” continued Hayes.  “After drawing up my plan for ‘fitting’ my work within the frame of the space, I leave most other decisions to intuition.  I use my sewing machine as a building tool for connecting planes and lines.  I see my works as abstract, yet the materials that I use carry a history and weight of their own.”

Hayes received her B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute and went on to earn an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She has been the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and residencies, and has exhibited her work across the country.

An artistic installation by Liz Miller.

Liz Miller
Liz Miller’s mixed media installations and drawings recontextualize simplified shapes, signs and symbols from disparate historical and contemporary imagery to create abstract fictions.  Existing forms from a multitude of sources are co-opted, altered and spliced to adopt hybrid identities.

“Through the process of appropriation and subsequent recombination, shapes lose their real-world connotations and take on fictitious roles,” noted Miller in her artist’s statement.  “Forged relationships between benign and malignant forms confuse the original implications of each while revealing the precariousness of perception and how easily it can be tampered with.

“Recent projects pit Baroque and Gothic pattern and ornament against forms derived from armor and weaponry.  Seemingly oppositional pairings create duplicitous environments where conflicting messages are conveyed.  The use of felt, foam and other tactile materials further complicates questions of source, masking the identity of forms while allowing them to inhabit both sculptural and two-dimensional space.”

Miller graduated with honors from Rhode Island School of Design with a B.F.A. in painting, and earned an M.F.A. in drawing and painting from the University of Minnesota.  Her work has been exhibited at numerous shows across the U.S.

For more information on the exhibit, call 399-8581.