Feature Articles

February Issue 2002

Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, Features Works by John Ruppert, Sheila Pepe & More

An installation of recent work by artist John Ruppert is on view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC-Greensboro in Greensboro, NC. Ruppert is a Falk Visiting Artist at the university and the exhibition will be on view through Mar. 10, 2002. The Museum will also present an installation by Sheila Pepe which will be on view through Apr. 7, 2002 and an exhibition entitled, A Way with Words, which will be on view through Mar. 10, 2002.

Ruppert works with a range of both traditional and non-traditional materials - from cast bronze and iron to chain link fencing. His work references the forms and forces of nature, the remains of ancient civilizations, and his materials' inherent properties. For this exhibition, Ruppert will install a series of his large cast metal "moon gourds" in the Falk Gallery and outside in the sculpture courtyard. The gallery's large windows will give audiences a continuous line of vision linking interior and exterior.

Ruppert is this year's third Falk Visiting Artist and plans to visit UNCG in early Feb. to work with students in the studio art program. He will lead a walk-through of his installation on Feb. 11 at 4pm and will present a slide lecture on the development of his work on Feb. 12 at 5:30pm. Admission to both talks is free and the public is invited.

In late Jan., artist Sheila Pepe created a new room-sized installation especially for the Weatherspoon Art Museum. For several years, the New York-based sculptor has been transforming spaces with readily available domestic and industrial materials, such as rubber bands and shoelaces. Pepe knots, crochets, and ties these elements into looping, draping, web-like forms, whose "drawn" character is echoed by the shadows they cast and the artist's charcoal wall drawings they inspire. Pepe's recent installations redefine an empty gallery space as both a walk-in environment and psychological playground, and recall the abstract sculpture of earlier artists like Eva Hesse and Judy Pfaff. Pepe's works are a hybrid of sculpture, drawing, and installation that are simultaneously humorous, whimsical, and slightly eerie. This Gallery 6 installation will be on view through Apr. 7.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum will also present the exhibition, A Way with Words, which will be on view through Mar. 10, 2002.

One of the many artistic developments of the 20th century was the incorporation of text into works of visual art. Functioning no longer simply to identify the subject of a portrait or the locale of a landscape, words came to be used by a wide range of artists as textural and compositional elements and even as the subject of their work. As early as 1911 and 1912, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso were using stenciled words and bits of newsprint for their inherent "flatness," as a way to assert the primacy of the picture plane over the traditional illusionism of painting.

The selection of works in this exhibition, all drawn from the Weatherspoon's permanent collection, follow more closely in the conceptual tradition of Marcel Duchamp, although the incorporated texts may also function as compositional elements. From Carl Andre's use of typewritten lines of text as minimal box on a field of paper to Kay Rosen's visual/verbal pun, which features the word "R(aft)" in a piece entitled Back of the Boat, the marriage of text and image takes many forms and has become a given in contemporary art.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 336/334-5770 or on the web at (http://www.uncg.edu/wag/).

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