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Wexner Center for the Arts Announces Fall Exhibitions

The Wexner Center hosts a suite of exhibitions this fall, on view September 16–December 30, 2011, featuring artists who explore, integrate, ortouch on nature and the environment: Alexis Rockman, Paula Hayes, Elliott Hundley, and Diana Thater. The work ranges from painting to terrariums, collages to video, and even includes a new, permanent outdoor installation.

“All four artists address and/or incorporate aspects of the natural world into their work, if in very different ways,” notes Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin. “Alexis Rockman and Paula Hayes are particularly invested in ‘eco-issues,’ producing work that reveals a keen sense of environmental consciousness. Elliott Hundley’s dense collages are ‘landscapes’ of a different order, laden with all manner of organic and found materials. And the center’s lobby features a video installation by artist Diana Thater focusing solely on peony blooms.”
An overview of the exhibitions:

• Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow, organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, features nearly 40 vivid paintings depicting environmental decay and disaster, the dangers of genetic engineering, and other imagery. This retrospective covers more than two decades of work, including many of Rockman’s monumentally scaled paintings. “Rockman’s work from the start has pursued a surprising and prodigiously suggestive conversation with traditions of nature painting and scientific illustration, traditions his own work continues to move forward,” says Curator at Large Bill Horrigan. “He’s as much a translator as a storyteller, showing us the world as made and, under human stewardship, re-made and mis-made.”

• Paula Hayes features eight to ten of the Brooklyn-based landscape designer and artist’s imaginative works, highlighting her green terrariums and crystal gardens. Select Ohio State students will care for the terrariums in the gallery during the run of the exhibition. “These works are immediately visually seductive,” notes Chief Curator Christopher Bedford. “But they’re also propositions about how we should care for things, and each other. I can think of no other artist who is working so clearly and with so much purpose to produce objects that generate new thinking and require literal care. The contract individuals and institutions enter with the artist to present or own her work represents an interesting twist on the history of conceptualism, requiring the collector or institution not only to abide by the rules of display but to take responsibility of the life of the object.” This exhibition coincides with the unveiling of Hayes’s Wexner Center Roof Garden, which will be a permanent installation just outside the Wexner Center’s entrance. Composed of hearty sedum plants and grasses, and featuring several of Hayes’s signature planters, the garden will evolve and thrive in all four seasons. Sitting atop the underground Wexner Center Film/Video Theater, the roof garden is essentially at ground level and will include a footpath allowing visitors to interact with the installation.

• Elliott Hundley: The Bacchae will continue the L.A. artist’s explorations of the Greek tragedy through multilayered, wall-mounted collages, accompanied by freestanding assemblage and two major site-specific works. Both the panoramic collages and the three-dimensional work include a variety of found and organic materials, from pins to bamboo to paper and paint, to fragments of staged photographs. “Elliott’s work may begin life in the distant, classical past,” says curator Christopher Bedford, “but the images he coaxes into existence help us feel and visualize what is it like to think—and even live—in the present.” The show will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue representing the first scholarly examination of Hundley’s entire oeuvre, with essays by Bedford, Anne Carson, Doug Harvey, and Richard Meyer.

• Diana Thater’s Peonies, already on view in the Wexner Center’s lower lobby, is a nine-monitor video installation depicting peony blooms. Filmed in 16mm, but presented on a Blu-ray player, Thater’s breathtaking work raises questions about technology and perception by altering the viewer’s sense of linear time and color.

Image: Paula Hayes, “Wexner Center Roof Garden,” 2011. Digital photo rendering. Courtesy of the artist.

Wexner Center for the Arts
The Ohio State University, Columbus
1871 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43210
T 614-292-3535

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