By: Taylor DeVille, Staff Writer
Towson University’s art department opened its gallery doors July 9 to present “Mission Universe: A Curanaut’s Journey,” as part of the Artscape Gallery Network Exhibition, which partners with and draws attention to local galleries through Baltimore’s annual arts festival, Artscape.
Art and Design Department Director at TU and gallery curator Erin Leham said that the general theme of this year’s Artscape festivities is “space.”
The exhibition at TU features the work of 19 local artists who employed a variety of media, including film, algorithm-based visual works, photography, painting, printmaking and metalwork.
The artists were handpicked by Lehman and Susan Isaacs, another curator for Towson’s Department of Art and Design, from a list of artists applying for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.
“We chose artists whose work we thought fit within our general theme, broadly-defined, and whose work appealed to us artistically,” Lehman said.
The subject-matter of the work included Benjamin Andrew’s celebration of 1960s sci-fi writer Andre Alice Norton during a time “when space travel was more myth than reality,” according to the artist’s description, and Hasan Elahi’s “Grave of Miss Baker,” which pays homage to the first monkey that survived in space.
Kei Ito’s “Sungazing” featured 108 chromogenic color prints exposed to the sun “with the pattern controlled by the exhale of the artist’s breath,” according to the artist’s description. Ito was inspired by his grandfather, who described witnessing the bombing of Hiroshima “like hundreds of suns lighting up the sky.” The number 108 holds significance in Japanese Buddhism.
One of the artists selected for the exhibition was Towson graduate Amy Boone-McCreesh, whose mixed media sculpture/collage is displayed in the “triangle” of the gallery as the foremost and most noticeable piece.
“Some of the artists took [the theme] literally, like outer space, but I was thinking more about depth and how we perceive space,” Boone-McCreesh said.
Her sculpture includes a large wall of flat, digital collages of her previous work, with some wrapped around three-dimensional objects that hang from the ceiling. The effect is the “dizzying experience of camouflage and the potential for visual deception,” according to the description of the display.
The Mission Universe exhibition is on display now for free in the Center for the Arts gallery until Aug. 6, with a reception on July 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For a list of galleries participating in Artscape 2016, visit www.baltimorearts.org/gallery-network/.