'OpenLab' exhibition showcases innovative sculptural installations by Virginia artists
The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech will feature two innovative 3-D sculptural installations created by Virginia Tech students and alumni in its newest exhibition, “OpenLab.” These works were selected from proposals submitted by Virginia artists during an open call.
An exhibition opening reception will be held June 14, from 6-8 p.m. in the Moss Arts Center’s grand lobby, located at 190 Alumni Mall. The event will include a panel discussion with the artists at 7 p.m. in the Ruth C. Horton Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.
The first exhibition, “MOTION + Emotion,” is the work of two current students in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The second installation, “Fields and Array,” was created by a group of recent graduates from the college. Both installations utilize elements of pattern, movement, and geometry that visually interact with both the viewer and the architecture and lighting in the gallery spaces.
While very different in appearance and technique, both exhibitions engage senses of scale and explore the relationship of the human form to space, shadow, and light. Both installations transform raw materials, such as steel, wood, Plexiglas, concrete, and fabric, into an aesthetic and corporeal experience — one using functional objects, and the other through an immersive environment. Filtered through different lenses, the work by these artists presents a compelling visual and phenomenological experience.
“MOTION + Emotion” is a selection of intricate kinetic sculptures that dramatically redefine space. Created by Alireza Borhani and Negar Kalantar, both doctoral students in the School of Architecture + Design, the exhibition demonstrates the concept of transformability as a new architectural design tool and demonstrates how motion can be suggested, depicted, or physically incorporated in kinetic tiles. Presenting a design workflow of a new building enclosure system that actively responds to environmental conditions, the exhibition is a synthesis of art, architecture, and engineering.
The exhibition’s kinetic tiles move and overlap, creating a architectural shading system that regulates transmitted light, ventilation, and airflow. As this system adjusts to outdoor conditions, the observer may become aware that those adjustments are being made to satisfy their personal space requirements, which helps stimulate a cognitive response of awareness of place in a larger environment.
The geometric shading system is playfully dynamic, taking advantage of both the perceptual and the functional qualities that motion can offer. “MOTION + Emotion” teaches the viewer about geometry and the daily and seasonal rhythms of the environment, as well as the role of technology in advanced control of building systems.
”Fields and Array” is an immersive architectural environment created by Ashton Hamm, James Heard, Daniel Hemmendinger, Chelsea Kilburn, and Matthew Ridgeway, all recent graduates of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies who are now pursuing architecture through a range of mediums. The exhibition engages both its components and the viewer with shifting relationship to scale, light, and space and extends the group’s previous work on a proposed installation in the lobby of Cowgill Hall on the Virginia Tech campus.
Proposing the imposition of a new regulative geometry in an existing gallery, the exhibition features an array of cast cylinders that will emerge from the floor and occupy the larger volume of the room and may be encountered as a unified volume or as a series of objects. As the array collides with one wall of the gallery, it seems to continue as if the walls were transparent. Its presence presses the empty space around it, creating tensions across the gallery. The installation is encountered not as a geometric idea, but as concrete phenomena.
“MOTION + Emotion” will be on display in the Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery and Sherwood P. Quillen '71 Reception Gallery and ”Fields and Array” will be featured in the Ruth C. Horton Gallery. “OpenLab” runs from June 14 through July 27. Gallery hours are available online.
Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.