Tag: sculpture

Art professor Rob Neilson featured in exhibition at Madison’s Watrous Gallery

Works by Lawrence University sculptor Rob Neilson will be featured in an exhibition opening Friday, July 6 at the Wisconsin Academy’s James Watrous Gallery in Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts.

Rob Neilson sculpture entitled "Bi-Bully"
Rob Neilson’s “Bi-Bully” will be part of his “Pataphysical Portraits” exhibition.

The exhibition “Pataphysical Portraits” runs through Aug. 19. A free artists’ reception will be held Friday July 13 from 5-7 p.m. with an informal gallery talk delivered at 5:30 p.m.

In “Pataphysical Portraits,” Neilson exploits the traditional genre of portraiture busts in a way that combines iconography and incongruity.

Concentrating on the exchange between the idiosyncratic and collective readings of each figure’s image, Neilson explores the construction of identity and the space where the iconic encounters the absurd. His work asks what this reveals about how we see ourselves, what we value and the meaning we give to individual narratives.

Neilson, who joined the Lawrence art department in 2003, holds the Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art endowed chair. He has exhibited his sculpture, installations and drawings at galleries, museums, and alternative spaces nationally and internationally.

He has created public art commissions throughout the United States, including projects in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Three of Neilson’s projects “You Are Here,” “We Are Here” and “Community Caryatids,” are featured in the Fox Cities Exhibition Center in downtown Appleton.

Rob Neilson sculpture Badly Bain Among the Kye
“Badly Bain Among the Kye (Robert Lambie 1760-1799” is one of the works in Rob Neilson’s “Pataphysical Portraits” exhibition.

A native of Detroit, Neilson earned a BFA degree in fine arts from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA in sculpture from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The James Watrous Gallery is a program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, an independent, nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire discovery, illuminate creative work, and foster civil dialogue. The gallery’s primary focus is the work of contemporary Wisconsin visual artists. We also present exhibitions that explore the history of art in Wisconsin or topics that bridge the sciences, arts, and humanities. The gallery is free and open to the public.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

 

 

Three Lawrence students honored by Wisconsin Visual Artists organization

Three former Lawrence University students have been recognized by the Northeast Chapter of Wisconsin Visual Artists with a merit prize.

Sculpture by student Eryn Blagg
“a^2 + b^2 = c^2” by Eryn Blagg ’18

Eryn Blagg, Omaha, Neb., Kori Looker, Weyauwega, and Rachael Wuensch, Reedsburg, all of whom graduated on June 10, were named recipients of the WVA’s merit prize, which is presented annually for outstanding student artwork at the college level.

Blagg is a sculptor whose work focuses on the intersection of art and math. “In a quest to prove theorems, mathematicians are guided by aesthetics as much as intellectual curiosity,” Blagg wrote in her artist statement. “As an artist I am similarly driven by creativity expression and aesthetics, focusing on creating new objects from nothing, the same way a mathematician creates a logical framework for a proof or problem. My art is an avenue to show that the art world and the math world are the same: complex and beautiful.”

A scupture by student Kori Looker
“Amore Mio” by Kori Looker ’18

Looker, also a sculptor, specializes in figurative work rendered abstractly out of carved wood. She said her  abstract figurative sculptures “convey the connections possible and expression of emotions within relationships. This work draws inspiration from a variety of sources, from bell hook’s emphasis on caring in ‘Teaching to Transgress’ to Michelangelo’s expression of maternal love and anguish in the ‘Pietà.'”

A print by student Rachael Wuensch
“Scarlet Sphere” by Rachael Wuensch ’18

Wuensch’s work combines printmaking with elements of collage. According to artist statement, “personal growth has shifted my interests from representational and symbolic works to more abstract pieces. Using texture, pattern and an intuitive approach. My current work depicts emotion through volume, depth and movement while expanding beyond the picture plane. By combining recycled objects including plastic, fabrics, and wax paper with the printmaking, painting, and embroidery processes, each piece has an independent voice.”

Blagg, Looker and Wuensch all have works in the current Senior Art Exhibition in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center Galleries.

Each received a $100 prize and a one-year membership in the Wisconsin Visual Artists organization. The merit award honors the caliber of their art itself and is designed to encourage graduates to continue their work in the visual arts.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Works by student art majors featured in new Wriston Art Center Galleries exhibition

The creative talents of 12 Lawrence University student art majors will be showcased in the annual Senior Major Exhibition opening Friday, May 25 in the Wriston Art Center Galleries. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, runs through July 1.A postcard promoting the 2018 Senior Art Show

Media in the exhibition include paintings, prints, photographs, ceramics, installations, and sculptures in various materials including wood, plaster, steel and 3D-printed PLA plastic.

“Several of this year’s senior art majors have merged their multidisciplinary interests and their studio practices,” said Beth Zinsli, director and curator of the Wriston galleries.  “Their works featured in the exhibition explore mathematical theorems, the history of science and invention, biodegradable plastics, the visualization of psychological and emotional states, and 3D printer programming.

An oil painting of Mme. C.J. Walker by Lawrence senior Aedan R. Gardill
Aedan Gardill’s oil painting “Innovating a Legacy: Mme. C.J. Walker” will be among the works in the 2018 Senior Art Show in the Wriston Art Center Galleries.

“Other students’ works delve deeply into the idea of memory and identity, examining the continued significance of childhood experiences like transnational adoption or the death of a loved one as they transition through college and into adulthood,” Zinsli added. “Sculpture in a variety of media is quite dominant this year, but there are excellent examples of photography, painting, printmaking, and mixed media pieces as well.”

The student exhibitors include: Eryn Blagg, Omaha, Neb.; Natalie Cash, Elgin, Ill.; Molly Froman, San Francisco, Calif.; Aedan Gardill, Waunakee; Susie Hendrix, Appleton; Emily Hunt, Aurora, N.Y.; Kori Looker, Weyauwega; Jake Ryan, Medford, Ore.; Penn Ryan, Madison; Elizabeth Utter-Limon, Milwaukee; Lizzy Weekes, Milton; and Rachael Wuensch, Reedsburg.

Wriston Art Center hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m. The galleries are closed Mondays. For more information, call 920-832-6621.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Professor Rob Neilson adds artistic flair to new Fox Cities Exhibition Center

When the city of Appleton threw a grand-opening party Jan. 11 for its new $31.9 million downtown exhibition center, Lawrence University art professor Rob Neilson’s talents were one of the building’s star attractions.

Rob Neilson with "You Are Here" sculpture
Rob Neilson stands under his sculpture “You Are Here,” which hangs from the ceiling.

Three projects of Neilson’s — “You Are Here,” “We Are Here” and “Community Caryatids,” a series of 10 I-beams representing each of the local municipalities contributing financially to the center — provide an artistic connection between the 30,000-square-foot facility, the people and communities who built it and the visitors it will serve.

Neilson proved he’s not only highly creative, he also can work fast. From the time he was first selected for the art commission from among three finalists to the completion of all three projects: 10 months.

“I’ve done projects that are three, four years, but this was very quick and a lot of work,” said Neilson, the Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art at Lawrence. “I was teaching at the same time.”

Two of the projects are designed to complement each other.  “You Are Here” is a 12-foot–by-13-foot sculpture project suspended from the ceiling of the ground-level floor. It features a cutout of the state of Wisconsin with a giant red pushpin inserted where the Fox Cities would be on the map. “We Are Here” is a series of 10 oversized portraits each comprised of 1,000 individual headshots shot last summer and fall of citizens from throughout the Fox Cities.

“The sculpture project was where I started. I was thinking about what is this exhibition center, what is our community trying to do?,” Neilson explained. “They’re trying to get people to the Fox Cities, get people to come and stay. It’s about travel, destination, the history of this place and how geography and landscape has shaped this community.

“So, I was really thinking about how to do a three-dimensional representation of all those ideas; the river, history, paper, travel, destination. That all just came together in a way that I’m used to working, thinking, developing ideas.”

Rob Neilson with portrait project "We Are Here"
Rob Neilson chats with guests in front of his “We Are Here” portrait project at the grand opening of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center.

Neilson was presented with a second opportunity to propose something for a space on the lower level and the photography portrait piece “was a natural.”

“Of course, if you’re doing ‘You Are Here,’ you have to do ‘We Are Here,’” said Neilson. “I had done the sculpture about the history, the paper industry, the river, travel and destination. The other thing that the Fox Cities does so well is community. It was natural going to one project from the other.”

As a sculptor, the portrait project was a giant step outside of Neilson’s experience with a rather steep learning curve.

“My photography skills up until this point were limited to what I needed to know to take a photo of the sculptures I make,” said Neilson with a laugh. “I had to figure out how I wanted to do this, the lighting, what was the right aperture. I needed these all to be consistent so it could become one big piece.”

“The project really was me in the community, talking with people, meeting with people, people collaborating with us, telling us how happy they were. That was meaningful in a way I wasn’t prepared for and it was a great surprise.
— Rob Neilson

Despite his self-admitted photographic limitations, the bigger challenge, he discovered, was a game plan for actually taking 10,000 individual head shots in a very compressed time frame.

“How do I get images, how do I get people engaged, the logistics of it all was the thing that was keeping me up nights,” said Neilson, who found himself taking pictures seven days a week, including many days that stretched to 12-plus hours.

Saturday morning downtown Appleton farmer’s market crowds provided Neilson with plenty of potential, if not sometimes leery, subjects.

“The first time we went out on Oct. 21, people didn’t quite understand what we were doing. Given the setting, people assumed we were there to sell something. I can’t tell you how many times we had to say, before they even got to ask, ‘100% free!’ That was the line.

“Once we started rolling, once people understood what we were doing, we didn’t have to sell the idea every single time. It bloomed rapidly,” added Neilson, who said every person who had their picture taken wound up in one of the final portraits.

While he doesn’t like to name favorites among his many public art works, Neilson said the photography project is one that will stay with him forever.

Rob Neilson next to pillars project
Rob Neilson on his “Community Caryatids” project: “This sounds ridiculous, but they look exactly like I designed them.”

“The project really was me in the community, talking with people, meeting with people, people collaborating with us, telling us how happy they were,” he said. “That was meaningful in a way I wasn’t prepared for and it was a great surprise.

“It’s profound when it’s something in the place I’ve been living for 15 years. It’s the only home my kids know. This is our hometown. This is where we live. I go through those photos and I know these are my neighbors, my friends, people I work with, people I’ve met, people I interacted with. I don’t know how many opportunities we get to experience that kind of thing in our lives. But I’m fortunate to have had that opportunity and I will never forget that.”

The center’s third project was the result of a bit of happenstance. While attending a meeting about ways Miron Construction, the building’s general contractor, could recognize the communities involved with its construction, Neilson was asked if he had any ideas.

“I just stood up and said what it was on top of my head. You need columns, you need pillars, something that is holding this place up, figuratively and literally.”

Crowd at Expo Center grand opening
Rob Neilson’s “We Are Here” photography project dominates the south wall of the main floor of the expo center.

The finished product is a series of 10, 10-foot tall I-beams, each with the name of one of the communities cut into the flange of the I-beam,

“It’s supposed to be figuratively holding this place up, the 10 communities,” Neilson explained. “This sounds ridiculous, but they look exactly like I designed them.”

Appleton is home to several other public art projects by Neilson, including engraved manhole covers depicting some aspect of compassion. He also has done projects in Los Angeles, Charlotte., N.C., and for the Long Beach Transit Authority. The Expo Center projects were capstone of very happily busy year for Neilson.

“It was a big year for me. I had more shows last year than I’d ever had. More exhibitions than I’d ever had in a single year my whole professional life. I did more talks on public art, had been in more newspapers, magazines and on television than I’d ever been by far in a single year. It was some of the hardest work I’ve done and it was great.”

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Lawrence seniors featured in new Wriston Art Center galleries exhibition

A photo entitled Final Form- Desolation for the senior art show
Final Form: Desolation by Malcolm Lunn-Craft.

The creative talents of 12 Lawrence University student art majors will be showcased in the annual Senior Major Exhibition opening Friday, May 26 in the Wriston Art Center galleries. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, runs through July 2.

Media in the exhibition includes ceramics, digital art, installation art, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture and virtual reality.

“This year’s senior studio art majors are really pushing the boundaries of visual art by incorporating sound, found digital elements, video game aesthetics and virtual reality into their pieces,” said Beth Zinsli, director and curator of the Wriston Art Center galleries. “For students working in more traditional media like photography, painting and printmaking, concerns ranging from the search for personal identity to the current moment of cultural anxiety permeate their presentations.”

Ink jet print of Noah Gunther's senior art show project "Mystery Ocean"
An inkjet print from Noah Gunther’s “Mystery Ocean” virtual reality program and installation.

The featured seniors in the exhibition include:
• Lexi Ames, White Bear Lake, Minn.
• Noah Gunther, Madison
• Michael Hubbard, Chicago, Ill.
• Willa Johnson, Ann Arbor, Mich.
• Malcolm Lunn-Craft, Brooklyn, N.Y.
• Cael Neary, Naperville, Ill.
• Nick Nootenboom, Portland, Ore.
• Molly Nye, Los Angeles, Calif.
• Alison Smith, San Leandro, Calif.
• Kelsey Stalker, Milton
• Nina Sultan, Bloomington, Ill.
• Ridley Tankersley, Phoenix, Ariz.

Wriston Art Center hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m. The galleries are closed Mondays. For more information, call 920-832-6621.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Faculty, contemporary prints, Japanese woodblock prints featured in new Wriston Art Center exhibition

The work of five Lawrence University studio art faculty members will be featured in the university’s latest Wriston Art Center Galleries exhibition.

A photo of the artwork "Boys & Bubs: Seasons of Change" by Benjamin Rinehart.
Benjamin Rinehart’s “Boys & Bubs: Seasons of Change” (2016) will be among the works in the Wriston Art Center’s faculty exhibition.

The faculty exhibition in the Kohler Gallery, one of three new shows, opens Friday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. with a free public reception. A performance by the Lawrence band We Go From Where We Know follows at 8 p.m. The exhibition runs through March 12.

The faculty exhibit includes painting, sculpture, video, ceramics, photography, and book-making by Tony Conrad, lecturer of art, Rob Neilson, Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art and associate professor of art, Benjamin Rinehart, associate professor of art, John Shimon, associate professor of art, and Meghan Sullivan, Uihlein Fellow of Studio Art. An exploration of portraiture in its various forms occupies a prominent place in this exhibition, the first faculty group show in the galleries in more than a decade.

“The exhibition is a stunning showcase of our studio art faculty’s current work,” said Beth Zinsli, curator and director of the Wriston Art Center Galleries. “It really highlights their skill, thoughtfulness and brilliance as working artists as well as teachers and mentors.”

A photo of the artwork "Couples" by Louise Bourgeoise.
“Couples” by Louise Bourgeoise is part of the “The Fine Print” exhibition, a selection of contemporary prints by women.

“The Fine Print” in the Hoffmaster Gallery features a selection of contemporary prints by women on loan from long-time art collector and 1963 Lawrence graduate Dr. Robert Dickens.  A prominent psychiatrist in Manitowoc, Dickens’ primary area of interest is late 20th and early 21st century works on paper. The exhibition feature works by such well-known artists as Louise Bourgeoise, Squeak Carnwath, Allison Saar and Frances Myers, among others, as well as a triptych by Jean Shinn — “Celadon Threads” — she created using digital embroidery.

The Leech Gallery features “Dreams of the Floating World: 15 Views of Tokugawa Japan,” 30 Japanese woodblock prints from Lawrence’s permanent collection that were selected and researched by Lawrence students in Assistant Professor of History Brigid Vance’s course “Early Modern Japan.” The exhibition is organized into three themes: portraits, nature and urban perspectives.

Through their work with the prints, the students learned about Japan’s Tokugawa period (1603-1868). They wrote explanatory texts for each work and framed the prints for the show. Woodblock printmaking tools will be part of the exhibition.

The Wriston Art Center galleries are free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m.; closed Mondays. For more information on the exhibition, 920-832-6890.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

 

 

Wriston Art Center exhibition honors former Lawrence art professor

A photo of former Lawrence University art professor Arthur Thrall.
Arthur Thrall taught art at Lawrence from 1964 until his retirement in 1990.

 A celebration of former Lawrence University art professor Arthur Thrall’s skills and imagination as an award-winning printmaker and painter highlights the newest exhibition in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center galleries.

Arthur Thrall: Tribute to a Master Artist” in the Kohler Gallery opens Friday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. with a free public reception. The exhibition runs through Nov. 23.

During a 26-year teaching career at Lawrence — Thrall retired in 1990 but remained an active artist in retirement — he established an international reputation for works inspired by sources as diverse as calligraphy and computers, music and microchips.

Covering three broad themes — calligraphy, musical notation and lyrical lines — the exhibition features a wide array of media and print-making processes, from intaglio and relief prints to gouache and oil paintings.

A video by professional photographer Mark Heffron, “Orchestrated Lines,” that documents Thrall creating the print “Confluence” will be shown during the exhibition, while the plate for that print and some of Thrall’s printmaking tools also will be displayed.

Beth Zinsli, director and curator of the Wriston Art Center galleries, called Thrall “a legend in the Wisconsin arts community.”

A photo of former Lawrence University art professor Arthur Thrall artwork in the "Tribute to a Master Artist" exhibition.
“Etude,” acrylic on canvas, will be one of Arthur Thrall’s works in the “Tribute to a Master Artist” exhibition.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to showcase this stunning array of Arthur’s complex and multilayer works in a variety of media,” said Zinsli. “I’m confident viewers will find his work aesthetically pleasing and intellectually engaging.”

His prints and paintings appeared in more than 500 exhibitions around the world and many found homes in the permanent collections of the British Museum, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress and the Chicago Art Institute, among others.

A native of Milwaukee, Thrall was one of 21 members of the Milwaukee-Downer College faculty who came to Lawrence in 1964 as part of the consolidation with the former all-women’s college. He died at the age of 88 in March, 2015.

During his career, Thrall was recognized by the art community with more than 75 awards, including the Lifetime Award from the Society of American Graphic Artists in New York in 2013. He also received the Museum of Wisconsin Art’s Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

A photo of Shannon Sullivan's "Interractive Bubble Array" work in the exhibition "FACET."
Shannon Sullivan’s”Interactive Bubble Array” will be among the featured works in the exhibition “FACET.”

In addition to “Tribute to a Master Artist,” the Leech and Hoffmaster galleries host  “FACET: Diverse Works by Women in the West.” The show features five female artists from the American West — Renee Brown, Natalie Macellaio, Jessica McCambly, Lesli Robertson and Shannon Sullivan — who work with “heavy” sculpture materials, including metals, clay, concrete, wood and glass. Their work, reflecting deep consideration of the virtues and limitations of their chosen medium, references the natural world, including geologic, chemical and biological processes.

“FACET” includes Sullivan’s interactive piece “Interactive Bubble Array,” which visitors can manipulate (while wearing gloves).

The Wriston Art Center galleries are free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m.; closed Mondays. For more information on the exhibition, 920-832-6890.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Wriston Art Center features Lawrence senior studio art majors

Senior-Art-Show_2016_newsblog2
Abigail Kosberg: “I am Dophie Doltz,” acrylic paint and thread on cotton fabric

Eight Lawrence University art majors will have their creative work featured in the annual senior major exhibition opening Friday, May 27 in the Wriston Art Center galleries.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, runs through July 3. A reception with the student artists at 6 p.m. opens the exhibition.

Works in the exhibition include photography, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, paintings, installation and performance art.

The seniors whose work will be featured are:
• Oumou Cisse, Washington D.C.
• Tess Gundersen, Santa Fe, N.M.
• Liam Hoy, Chicago, Ill.
• Abigail Kosberg, Wildwood, Ill.
• Brandin Kreuder, Burlington
• Isabella Schleisner, Greenville
• Laura Udelson, San Francisco, Calif.
• Austin Wellner, Green Bay

LU-Senior-Art-Show_newsblog1
Brandin Kreuder: “Paddled Box,” ceramic

The Wriston Art Center galleries are free and open to the public Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m.; closed Mondays. For more information on the exhibition, 920-832-6890.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Rolf Westphal 1945-2016: A “poet” whose medium was steel

Rolf-Westphal_newsblog
Rolf Westphal (center) spent six years as Lawrence’s first Frederick R. Layton Distinguished Visiting Professor in Studio Art.

Rolf Westphal, Lawrence University’s first Frederick R. Layton Distinguished Visiting Professor in Studio Art, died Wednesday, Feb. 17 of natural causes at his home in Spring Hill, Fla. He was 70 years old.

A “poet” whose medium was steel, Westphal held the Layton Professorship from 1984-1990. One of his works, “Aerial Landscape,” a trio of brightly painted arched structures and four lower bollards, graces the outside of the Wriston Art Center. Originally installed in 1988, the piece was taken down in 2010 for repairs and restoration work and re-installed in 2014. Westphal returned to campus for its re-dedication ceremonies last spring.

During his tenure at Lawrence, Westphal converted a paper factory into a sculpture studio where he worked on his own massive creations while also giving Lawrentians the opportunity to create their own artwork.

In addition to Lawrence, he held teaching positions at Clarion State College in Pennsylvania, Vancouver College of Art and Design in British Columbia, the Kansas City Art Institute and the University of Texas, Austin.

As a large-scale metalworker whose personality matched the scale of his sculptures, his quest for commissions frequently took him to Eastern Europe, in particular to countries in or on the fringes of the socialist bloc. His first major international com- mission was for the state of Slovenia in the former Yugoslavia in 1978. Other large, abstract and powerfully geometric Westphal creations adorn sites around the world, including Austria, the Central African Republic, Finland, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Turkey. Besides Appleton, his sculptures can be found throughout the United States, including Anchorage, Detroit, Houston and Pittsburgh.

Aerial-Landscape_newsblog_3
Rolf Westphal’s “Aerial Landscape,” which graces the west entrance to the Wriston Art Center, was rededicated in 2015.

He once proudly proclaimed, “I have used every kind of material, but my forte has been steel.’’

Born in Germany in 1945, Westphal grew up in International Falls, Minn. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri, where he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree, and at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where he earned a master of fine arts degree.

He is survived by his son, Ahti, 35, Bejing, China, and his first wife and life-long friend, Susan Schug of Gladewater, Texas.

A celebration of his life will be held this summer on a date still to be determined at Stop Island, Rainy Lake, International Falls, Minn.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

The beauty of patterns featured in latest Wriston Art Center exhibition

The combined work of five nationally recognized artists will be featured in the new Wriston Art Center Galleries exhibition “An Unnamed Need: Pattern and Beauty in Contemporary Art.”

Rights of Passage_newsblog
Anila Quayyum Agha: “Rights of Passage”, embroidery, screen printing, graphite drawing and beads on paper, 2011.

The exhibition opens Friday, Jan. 15 with a reception at 6 p.m. and runs through March 13. The exhibition and reception is free and open to the public.

Following a decade-long national trend of new works of unabashed beauty, the five artists — Anila Quayyum Agha, Jennifer Angus, Michelle Grabner, Heather McGill and Tony Orrico — have used patterns to create stunning visuals that explore the many intersections of beauty and craft.

Held in all three of Wriston’s galleries, the exhibition features works that challenge the mind while delighting the eye. Celebrating beauty’s many forms, the artists collectively examine complex cultural themes, including ethnic identity, gender and humans’ relationship with the natural world.

A Wisconsin native, Grabner curated the 2014 Whitney Biennial while Agha won the 2014 Public Vote Grand Prize at ArtPrize, the radically open, international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Mich. Angus, who will deliver an artist’s talk Feb. 19 on biodiversity, conservation and art, has earned national acclaim for her 2015 installation in the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.

Michelle-Grabner_Untitled_newsblog
Michelle Grabner: “Untitled,” flashe and gesso on canvas, 2014.

As part of the exhibition’s opening, Orrico will perform the final installment of his Penwald 1: 1 Circle series, which features bilateral drawings in which he explores the use of his body as a tool of measurement to inscribe geometries through movement and course. During the 25-minute performance, Orrico will create 1,000 marks with graphite sticks on paper while lying prone.

The exhibition was curated by Lawrence faculty members Rob Neilson, Frederick R. Layton Professor of Art and associate professor of art, and Benjamin Tilghman, assistant professor of art history.

Wriston Art Center Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday noon – 4 p.m.;  closed Mondays. For more information, 920-832-6621.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.