Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

College Contemporary Art Series Engages Transparency

December 21, 2006

“Art Now: Transparency”

January 25–June 3, 2007

For immediate release: 12/21/06
For further information contact: Douglas Perkins, Administrative Operations Manager, at (802) 443–5235

Middlebury, VT—Opening on Thurs. Jan. 25 at the Middlebury College Museum of Art, located in the College’s Center for the Arts, Rte. 30, is “Art Now: Transparency,” an exhibition that presents three-dimensional works by eight artists who engage transparent visual phenomena. On view through Sun. June 3, the exhibition is curated by Middlebury College Professor of Art Jim Butler. Although best known as a painter Butler has for several years made sculpture and sculptural installations focused on complex glass fabrication. In 2005 he was a visiting artist at the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, returning there in 2006 as Hauberg Fellow. In the summer of 2007 he will be a teacher at Pilchuck.

The works included in the exhibition are made in a range of media: glass, metal, plastic, resin, photography, and video, often in complex combinations. Each work provides the viewer with a beguiling interaction with the nature of light.

At the center of the installation is a work from the college’s permanent collection: Dennis Byng’s “Split Cube,” made of hypnotically intense orange and green cast resin. Acquired directly from the artist in the mid-1970s the work is an aesthetic forerunner to many contemporary artists’ concerns.

All of the other works in the exhibition were created in the last seven years. Notably, one was made as a site-specific installation for this exhibition: Deborah Czeresko’s “Horizontal Rain” is a blown-glass sculpture that descends dramatically from the ceiling of the Museum’s sunny eastern stairwell to the ground level of the staircase.

Richard Humann’s tour-de-force “Codex” is made from thermoplastic resin. Cast from a large open book, the sculpture contains tiny laser-cut black letters magically suspended within the book’s clear structure. It perfectly synthesizes the literary with the visual.

New York artist Michelle Jaffé presents “Large Cruciform,” a work in plexiglas and aluminum. A life-size, streamlined form of a woman’s one-piece bathing suit or leotard, the piece manipulates light to create balance and harmony.

Also on view is “Xanadu” by Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Art Hedya Klein. Her grouping of twelve light-boxes creates a subtle glow in the gallery through dreamy photographs of mysterious and luminous light phenomena.

A video by Berlin artist Bettina Pousttchi consists of a single zoom that begins with a close-up of a red spot of color. As the camera slowly pulls away, our perceptions of scale and physicality are poetically altered.

Marsha Pels, a distinguished sculptor equally comfortable working in bronze, clay, steel, or glass, presents a piece called “Spine”. Made of lampworked clear glass, it is a jewel-like image of a human spine ghostly yet completely tactile.

Mark Zirpel, based in Seattle, is a prominent and innovative artist in the studio-glass world. His piece is an extraordinary and meticulously crafted photo-etched, sandblasted, and kiln-slumped glass sculpture of a single leaf, many times its actual size.

Professor Butler joined the faculty of the College in 1981. In addition to exhibiting his own work at the museum, he curated the museum’s “Contemporary Pastels” show as well as the first Art Now installation, “Images of Fictive Reality.” He also presented “Transparency,” with all the artists included in Middlebury’s Art Now show, at Corrider Gallery in Reykjavik, Iceland, this past fall.  Butler will present a gallery talk about the exhibition on Thurs. Jan. 25, at 4:30 p.m. in the museum.

The Middlebury College Museum of Art is free and open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed Mondays. The museum is accessible to people with varying disabilities. Parking is available in the Center for the Arts parking lot. For further information, please call (802) 443-5007 or TTY (802) 443-3155, or visit the museum’s website at http://museum.middlebury.edu/.