Join in on the fALL ARTS FESTivities at the Schneider Museum of Art

Willie Cole, From Water to Light, 2012 Recycled 16 OZ. P.E.T. Bottles

Willie Cole, From Water to Light, 2012 Recycled 16 OZ. P.E.T. Bottles

As part of Southern Oregon University’s fALL ARTS FEST/2013 presented across the campus from September 30 through October 5, the Schneider Museum of Art is opening three thought-provoking exhibitions.  The Museum will feature noted African American artist Willie Cole with From Water to Light, an installation made of recycled water bottles, and additional sculptures, The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition, drawings and vessels created by Daniel Duford during his artist residency at SOU, and Black Manifold, a program of short videos curated by Avantika Bawa and Greg Minissale.  An opening reception will be held Thursday, October 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, and the exhibitions will be on view starting Friday, October 4 during the Museum’s regular hours of 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Saturday.

Willie Cole

Willie Cole

From Water to Light features Willie Cole’s newest artistic obsession: water bottles.  With this material he redefines recycling as reincarnation, repurposing over 10,000 recycled water bottles to create chandeliers and rooms filled with a spiritual aura.  According to Cole, “From Water to Light pays homage to the natural feminine forces of water, light, and air, and to the earth itself.”  The installation consists of 10,000 recycled P.E.T. water bottles configured into two chandeliers, each six feet in diameter and seven feet long, that hang in a large room.

Rather than ‘recycling’, Cole uses the term ‘upcycling’ to describe his transformation of ordinary domestic and used objects such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, hair dryers, bicycle parts, wooden matches, lawn jockeys, and other discarded appliances and hardware, into imaginative and powerful works of art and installations.  Through the repetitive use of single objects in multiples, Cole’s assembled sculptures acquire a renewed metaphorical meaning, or become a critique of our consumer culture.  Cole’s ‘upcycled’ assemblages challenge viewers to see beyond an object’s function.

Willie Cole, a New Jersey native, rose to prominence in 1989, and since then his work has been the subject of several one-person museum exhibitions including: Miami Art Museum (2001), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998).  Cole was one of the featured artists in Reconfiguring an African Icon: Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents, which opened in March 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  A catalogue of his work, Anxious Objects: Willie Cole’s Favorite Brands, was written by Patterson Sims and published by Rutgers University Press.

Showing in the Museum’s entry Gallery will be The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition, an exhibition of drawings and vessels

Daniel Duford, When I Return, 2013, woodblock print

Daniel Duford, When I Return, 2013, woodblock print

created by Daniel Duford during his Spring 2013 artist residency at SOU’s Center for the Visual Arts.  This exhibition and residency was generously funded by The Ford Family Foundation, Roseburg, OR.

The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition is a fifteen-page large-scale woodcut comic that, according to Duford, “is part meditation of separation and change and part metaphor for the Columbian Exchange—the mingling of culture, flora and fauna between the Old and New Worlds.”  The comic portrays a story about two separated lovers in which, says Duford, “one goes abroad spreading death and returns altered. The other remains rooted digging deep into the mythic soil of her home.”  Duford states that “the diaristic text belies the mythic imagery.”

Daniel Duford is an Instructor in the Intermedia, Illustration and Sculpture Departments at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR.  Duford’s sculptures and drawings have been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States.  His illustration and comic work has appeared in numerous magazines and independent publications.  He has self-published graphic novels and posts an on-going anthology on Radio Relay Towers.

 Kevin Jerome Everson, American Motor Company, Billboard installation, Buffalo, NY, 2009, Mixed Media


Kevin Jerome Everson, American Motor Company, Billboard installation, Buffalo, NY, 2009, Mixed Media

Augmenting the Cole and Duford exhibitions will be a continual screening of short videos in the Treehaven Gallery.  Black Manifold is a series of contemporary video pieces that “delve into how Black operates as sociopolitical force, a slate that can mark a beginning as well as an end, while also engaging with the tactility of film and the theatricality of cinema.”  Curated by Avantika Bawa and Greg Minissale, Black Manifold features the work of artists Mike Bray, Jodie Cavalier, Chelsea Knight, Brandon Neubauer, Jennifer Lauren Smith, and two-time Whitney Biennial artist, Kevin Jerome Everson.  According to the curators, “Black is social and silent, human and inhuman.  It rests the eye, turning it upon itself in introspection, plunging the soul into loneliness, yet provides the continuum for hidden touches, chiasms and communications.  It provides us with the space to breathe, and beckons us to leap into its freedom with reckless abandon.  It makes us think differently.  It dissolves subjectivity, yet brings it back.  The works presented here ask, ‘What is this thing called black, and how can we turn it into productive thought and practice?’”

Willie Cole, The Traveler and the Housewife: Deluxe Edition, work by Daniel Duford, and Black Manifold, a program of short videos curated by Avantika Bawa and Greg Minissale will be on view at the Schneider Museum from Friday, October 4 through Saturday, December 7 during the Museum’s regular hours of 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Mondays through Saturdays.  The opening reception for all three exhibitions will be held Thursday, October 3 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  Abacela Winery is generously donating and pouring wine for the reception.

The Department of Art and Art History, Performing Arts and the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University present fALL ARTS FEST/2013 across the campus from September 30 through October 5.  The festival features musical and theatrical performances, gallery exhibits and a Blue Flag installation connecting all the of university’s arts activities.  “Southern Oregon University has a rich legacy in the arts and with the opening of classes this fall the visual arts and performing arts have come together to present the very first fALL ARTS FEST/2013 to demonstrate what an active arts community exists here,” said Dr. David Humphrey, director of the Performing Arts department.  “The festival welcomes students, faculty and the community back to the campus and to its wide variety of arts.  See http://sou.edu/performingarts/ArtsFestivalFall2013forweb.pdf for a full schedule of activities.