The University Record, October 5, 1992

Rackham Gallery exhibition showcases faculty works

By Kate Kellogg
News and Information Servcies

Half of a coffee can or sewing box scraps and buttons in a major art and architecture exhibition? Sure enough, demonstrates “Surfaces and Structures,” a showcase of new works—many of them comprised of unusual media—by faculty and students of the School of Art and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

On display through Nov. 1 at the Rackham Gallery, the exhibition includes sculpture, paintings, photography and architectural representations as well as fiber hangings and mixed media collages.

“‘Surfaces and Structures’ is one of the most arresting visual statements ever presented in the Rackham Galleries,” says art Prof. Theodore K. Ramsay, coordinator of the exhibition. “From the specially designed graphics to the unique display surfaces, all aspects of this show have been integrated into a total visual presentation.”

The images and concepts invite mental reflection as well as visual appreciation of the artists’ talents. Stars painted on a coffee can cut-out and a paper moon create a homey universe above photographs of old-fashioned row houses in art Prof. Joanne Leonard’s dream-like, three-dimensional collage, “The Small Houses and the Distant Light Stars.”

The model of a parking deck (“Urban Campground—Pavilion for Storytelling”) combines an architect’s model, drawing and text, to show how “architecture ... opens up the world a bit, not so much to disclose its secrets as to confirm its wonder.” Architect Robert Carpenter’s wood model includes interior lighting and a pavilion on the top deck.

The canvas for the oil painting “Obsession, 1992” by Kevin M. Donahue, assistant professor of art, is filled with American flags blazing with fiery scarlet stripes.

Donahue’s painting conveys the power of the flag as an icon, emblematic of both the greatness and the disasters that have occurred beneath it.

A recent environmental disaster influenced the fibers work of MFA candidate Nancy McRay. Her “One Hundred Hour Weaving/One Hundred Hour War” hanging depicts the oil spill off the shore of Kuwait. Besides woven ramie and linen, her materials include strips of plastic trash bags, which contain petroleum. The black strips help form the shape of the spill on the blue water.

Gallery hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.