Duality in Detroit
August 28, 2009
One sculpture displays the rough physicality of Detroit architecture. The next, the delicate balance and relationship between a person and their shadow. Together, these works showcase the work of new visiting art faculty members Naomi Falk and Jayson Lowery in “Michigan Left”, an exhibit at Andrews Gallery. Falk and Lowery created the exhibit together in order to begin their teaching careers at the College of William and Mary with a display of their personal work.
The exhibit features both past and present works from the artists and is open to the public until Sept. 25. An opening reception will be held in the gallery on Sept. 3 to discusst he unique styles of Falk and Lowery. Their methods may be individual, but their work is unified through the title of the exhibit.
“Jayson’s work is different than mine, but we collaborated on how it was going to be installed,” Falk said. “The exhibit flows better if you have it planned together.”
Both sculptors use a variety of different media to create their pieces.
“Both Jayson and I are new faculty here, so it’s an exciting opportunity to come work here and to introduce ourselves with a show,” Falk said.
For Falk, the pieces on display demonstrate the relationships between people and the differences between physical and psychological states. She uses mostly everyday objects, including ceramics, paper and twine in her art.
“Some of the work on display is about social dynamics and social relationships,” Falk said. “How much do we encompass? It tends to psychologically extend beyond our physical presence, which is the general concept of my work.”
Lowery’s pieces are samples of his work from the past five to six years. His sculptures are a combination of steel, cast iron, bronze and stone. He also does outdoor exhibits, so many of the materials he uses are sturdier and less fluid those Falk might use.
“Several of the pieces in this show feature carved marble left in the closed form that I got it from,” Lowery said. “Some are carved into round forms you see in casting; some are architectural blocks.”
Many of Lowery’s sculptures are designed to represent large architectural structures in smaller form, such as skyscrapers in downtown Detroit.
“The block pieces are intentionally meant to represent architecture in Michigan and cities, or a built environment,” Lowery said.
Falk also examines architectural work through her art, but, according to her statement on her website, naomijfalk.com, she investigates how everyday objects and the spaces one inhabits become our life architecture. Her use of more delicate objects juxtaposes with Lowery’s solid and structural materials, creating a more fluid exhibit.
The title of the exhibit, “Michigan Left,” is significant to the artists because both recently moved from Michigan to teach here at the College.
“The title is a play on words because we are both from the Detroit area,” Falk said. “It is a term that we use to tell people to make a U-turn in Michigan.”
The focus of Falk’s pieces is on social dynamics and relationships. Many of the pieces demonstrate metaphors for different relationships. The first piece in the exhibit is entitled “Converse,” which carries a double meaning.
“‘Converse’ can be speaking to each other or ‘converse’ like people opposing each other,” Falk said. “My work has a layering of meaning all the way from the titles of things to the materials I use.”
Two of Falk’s exhibits are connected in a broader sense. One, entitled “Shadows” displays four large photos with a story connecting to her exhibit entitled “Holding My Breath,” a display of 1,000 paper lunch bags, each containing one breath.
“The story is pretty dark, but I think people could relate to it on a number of levels, from being abused to wanting to speak and not being able to,” Falk said. “I talk about holding my breath in the story, and that’s what I’m doing in the [lunch bag] piece — so I can literally hold my breath in my hand.”
In addition to opening this exhibit, both Lowery and Falk have begun teaching 3-D foundations at the College. Falk also serves as the gallery coordinator and 3-D technician.
“The full-time art faculty invite people to exhibit here, I just coordinate most everything outside of that,” Falk said of his new position.
As both begin instructing their respective classes, the new exhibit will allow them to demonstrate their work to the community as well as to their new students.
“It is an opportunity to show a grouping collection of two integrated bodies of work,” Lowery said.