Figge exhibition showcases the diverse work of UI faculty

University of Iowa Art Faculty Biennial Exhibition

Figge Art Museum — Through May 31, 2015

Susan Chrysler White's "Untitled" (2015) Acrylic on canvas, Mexican serape, Plexiglas, steele-- photo by Jill Holaday
“Untitled” (2015) by Susan Chrysler White — photo by Jill Holaday

Perhaps the greatest virtue of the University of Iowa Art Faculty Biennial Exhibition at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport is its diversity of mediums and artistic practices. From animation and social practice objects, to prints, each space in the room is full of juxtapositions that are unpredictable and engaging.

Upon entry to the gallery, you can hear Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” the song that accompanies an animated video titled Dance Pro by Peter Chanthanakone.

But it is Susan Chrysler White’s work in progress that confronts the viewer once inside the exhibition space. Brightly colored squares of Plexiglas and mirrors compose several columns that rise from a colored floor covering composed of equally bright lines and squares.

Mirrors on the floor create new shapes as they divide, double and separate color patterns. White’s work perhaps best captures the spirit of this exhibition; seemingly unrelated objects brought together by space and by the visual connections made by each viewer who walks through the exhibition.

"Contained" (2010) by Donald Miller -- photo by Jill Holiday
“Contained” (2010) by Donald Miller — photo by Jill Holiday

Daniel Miller’s “Contained” includes a monitor showing what appears to be an birds-eye-view image of Chicago. There are slow changes in the footage that can be understood only later when the second component of this artwork is encountered in the last room of the exhibition. Miller created a complex machine that mimics the urban environment by using activated light, motion and cold steam elements under a glass dome. The work goes through a 40 minute cycle that approximates the daily 24 hour cycle and provides live feed to the monitor seen in the first room.

A sculpture by Isabel Barbuzza, “The Permeability of the Veil,” is attached to the top of one of the museum walls and spills down toward the floor and the viewer. Compact shapes radiate from a circular center and appear one after the other. Upon closer examination it becomes clear that the entire sculpture was made with cut pages of text — pages of discarded English language dictionaries.

There are also several well-crafted and imaginative prints and other paintings worth checking out. The show runs through May 31.

"The Permeability of the Veil" (2015) by Isabella Barbuzza -- photo by Jill Holaday
“The Permeability of the Veil” (2015) by Isabella Barbuzza — photo by Jill Holiday