LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 18, 2015) — The Art Museum at University of Kentucky is currently presenting four simultaneous exhibitions, offering a range of historical and contemporary works including photography, painting, sculpture and video. These free public exhibitions, on display through April 12, feature acclaimed artists known for their capacity to combine provocative ideas and exquisite craft.
Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh and Russell Maltz are dedicated studio practitioners who each use strategies of theme and variation, often finalizing their works at the gallery or museum, where component parts are experimentally stacked, clustered and dispersed. Their installations in "Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh, Russell Maltz" highlight a commitment to process as well as product, and in this exhibition the artists take advantage of the Art Museum at UK’s own architecture, especially the wooden floors and soaring ceiling height.
Grabner’s abstract paintings are grounded in the real world, often taking their cues from handmade or store-bought blankets, tablecloths and quilts. Her recent paintings accumulate lines and shapes that are the result of pushing glossy enamel paint through crocheted baby blankets. Textured and illusionistic, these canvases have a homey elegance and complex spatial depth.
Leigh’s sculptural works are known for their intense physicality, and she is adept at forming and firing ceramics that range from the ornamental to the ominous. At UK, she creates a gravel garden with “cowrie shell” sculptures that feature stunningly glazed surfaces with jagged openings, and a video clip from the 1960s-1970s television show "Julia," featuring Diahann Carroll as a nurse. In combination, her installation offers a meditation on identity, labor and beauty.
Maltz uses a range of industrial materials as his palette, creating singular and multi-part works that alert audiences to the nature of creating — making choices about content, context, color, scale, density, gravity and sequence. His recent paintings feature plywood sections that are covered in Day-Glo paint and overlaid on top of each other, then suspended from steel posts on the wall; referencing Kazimir Malevich’s infamous 1915 "Black Square" and continuing the evolution of the monochrome into the 21st century. Maltz consistently examines states of entropy, assembly and permanence. "Same Difference" is meant to highlight the aspects of consistency and mutability that each artist is known for, as well as making connections between their distinct productions.
May Series Photographer's Work Examines Human Rights in Middle East
Tanya Habjouqa’s photographs focus on gender, social, and human rights issues in the Middle East. She approaches her subjects with sensitivity and humor, striving to capture nuances rarely seen in press coverage. Her images invite the viewer to more deeply consider the humanist situations she documents, including women practicing yoga in a Biblical landscape, and young men somersaulting in the air outside of a refugee camp in Gaza.
In her series, "Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots," Habjouqa photographed women who live in exile in Jordan, struggling to feed their children while coping with loneliness and grief. In 2014, she won a World Press Award for her series "Occupied Pleasures," in which she pictures many of the ludicrous moments of everyday life that the 47-year occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem has created. Habjouqa is a founding member of Rawiya, a collective of female photographers from across the Middle East.
The photographer's exhibition at UK, "Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs," is presented in conjunction with Habjouqa's lecture presented as part of the Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series. The May Lecture series explores photography's roots in the 19th century and its reinvention in the digital world. This series is made possible through the Robert C. May Photography Endowment, a museum fund established in 1994 for the support of acquisitions and programs relating to photography.
Installed on a new “project wall” at the Art Museum at UK is a combination of photographs, wall graphics and video, documenting the collaborative projects by noted local artists Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde. Included are images from the "Lexington Tattoo Project" developed with Lexington poet and UK doctoral candidate Bianca Spriggs, whose poem "The ____of the Universe: A Love Story" inspired numerous residents to have their bodies tattooed with suggestive fragments of text, punctuation marks and small design elements.
Also on view, are elements from Gohde and Todorova's current tattoo-endeavor, "Love Letter to the World," a global celebration of pride and place, prompted by a poem by Kentucky poet Laureate and UK English Professor Frank X Walker. Their installation posits the museum as a gathering site for those interested in how flesh, love and ideas can come together in thoughtful inclusive ways.
Edward Troye on the Horse, Of Course
Video Produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area. Photos used in this video courtesy of UK Special Collections.
The restrictions of an art form can sometimes provide the most interesting variations. "Edward Troye: Theme & Variation," a series of lithographs reproducing Edward Troye’s celebrated 19th-century paintings of famous American Thoroughbreds is a case in point. The pose of the horses — intended to showcase desirable traits — doesn’t waver, establishing a visual rhythm of the equine bodies in the middle of each composition.
Troye's works have been selected from the Art Museum at UK's permanent collection, and offer memorable equine portraits with distinctive profiles yet subtle differences in proportion, musculature, color and personality. Of course, the lithographs, already a step away from Troye’s paintings, are themselves multiple interpretations of distinct originals.
The mission of the Art Museum at UK, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,500 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection.
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