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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA artists meld with off-campus community

    This weekend, one building will showcase student artists who produce work with more substance than merely grade-earning results. Flow Gallery, in conjunction with 5th and 6th Gallery, will open a multi-space exhibition in the heart of the downtown Tucson arts district. “”It’s becoming a better and better location because Congress is experiencing a renovation,”” said sudio arts senior Tina Notaro.

    All of the typical gallery opening accoutrements will be present: wine and cheese, cryptic artistic conversation and spectators murmuring “”I think I get it”” over the work on display. The subtle difference that will make “”Epoch”” stand out from the rest lies with the twelve sculptors included in the exhibition; each is an Advanced Sculpture student in the UA art department.

    Notaro, who is co-curating the show with fine arts graduate student Chika Matsuda, began renting a space in the building this past June. “”At first it was sort of a space for me to exhibit my sculpture that was getting bigger and bigger, to experiment with installation and to work with other friends and community artists to do that sort of thing,”” she said.

    That circle of friends and community artists now includes students from Notaro’s sculpture class. Each artist created an installation piece for “”Epoch”” that examines the concept of time as a construct of society and how we perceive its passage.

    For Jacob Biggerstaff, a studio art senior, this show represents new experiences on many levels. Most of the work he has done is two-dimensional, and getting used to the actual space in the gallery has been a challenge. “”This is definitely the first large-scale installation piece,”” he said. 

    The single-shot nature of installation sculpture means that the work makes a tangible impact without a sense of permanence. “”Personally, I approach it as more of a performance,”” Biggerstaff said.

    His contribution to the show, entitled “”Molting,”” represents his first foray into the exercise of collaboration. He and Jessica Leftault, a studio art senior and Daily Wildcat staff member, teamed up to create the piece together.

    “”You have to get used to someone else’s work process, which is different for every artist,”” he said of the cooperative effort. ””I’m pretty OCD and anal-retentive when it comes to my art. I obsess about it until it’s done. (Leftault) is much more go-with-the-flow and laid back. We definitely met somewhere middle-of-the-road.””

    Middle-of-the-road is a fitting description here, as Biggerstaff and Leftault began their creative process with a journey to gather items that had been discarded along Arizona’s service roads. A burned-out, abandoned house provided an old wheelchair and yards upon yards of antiquated plumbing. The two artists chose to complete and install the entire project in the gallery space within 24 hours.

    Rachel Martin, a studio arts senior and participant in the show, also chose to manipulate the time element of her installation. Her contribution to “”Epoch,”” which involves the projection of time-lapse images into fog, touches on the concept of time as a mirage. 

    The projection of images represents “”something occurring in front of us that is occurring inside of us,”” according to Martin. “”The picture that you see isn’t actually there,”” she explained. “”How we choose to perceive it, to perceive time, is up to us.””

    Those involved say that one of the most valuable aspects of the gallery installation experience is the do-it-yourself element. Every step of the process is up to them.

    “”I’d never really worked this closely with a curator before,”” said Biggerstaff. 

    And what will each of the artists take away from the experience, when the patrons go home, the work is disassembled and the sand is swept out the door?

    “”This has been kind of our premiere for all of us, and that makes it really exciting,”” Biggerstaff said. “”It’s a shift toward the professional edge.””

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