Group Sculpture Exhibit 'Touched by Virginia' Opens at U.Va's Ruffin Gallery Sept. 30

September 15, 2011

September 15, 2011 — Recent sculpture, installations, sculptural photographs and video works by University of Virginia alumni artists and others who have spent their formative years in the University's sculpture community will be on display in "Touched by Virginia" in the McIntire Department of Art's Ruffin Gallery from Sept. 30 to Oct. 22. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.

An opening reception will be held Sept. 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and will be preceded at 4:30 p.m. by brief gallery talks by the 10 artists whose work is exhibited.

The artists are Golnar Adili, Britta Bielak, Jonathan Durham, Rosemarie Fiore, Judith Leemann, Maya Mackrandilal, Ashley Williams and Adam Wolpa, all of whom are U.Va. studio art alumni and Aunspaugh Fifth-Year Fellows; Firat Erdim, who was a post-doctoral fellow in the School of Architecture; and Eric Schmidt, a studio art gallery and studio technician who received a bachelor's degree in painting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has attended advanced sculpture classes at U.Va.

In addition, Fiore will give a talk, "Rosemarie Fiore: Pyrotechnic Artist!," on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153. On Oct. 1, she will lead a "Firework Drawing Workshop" at noon in the Ruffin Hall sculpture work yard. Fiore creates her "Firework Drawings" by directing colored smoke emitted from ground-based fireworks at her "canvas," typically sheets of paper.

"I bombard white sheets of paper with color Smoke Bombs, Jumping Jacks, Monster Balls, Magic Whips, Spinning Carnations, Ground Blooms, Rings of Fire and Lasers," Fiore said. "As I work, I create imagery by controlling the chaotic nature of the explosions in upside-down containers or by dragging smoke canisters attached to poles over the works."

She repeats the process over and over. "The final drawings display many layers of explosions and are thick, burned and heavy," she said.

All of the events are free and open to the public.

"The work in this show reflects the richness of the expanded field of contemporary sculpture practice, but also the diversity that has always been a feature of the University of Virginia sculpture community," said William Bennett, a sculpture professor in the College of Arts & Sciences and the exhibit's curator. "While their art is eclectic in material, style and approach, these artists are unified by a shared interest in making art that is informed by the past, rooted and at home in the present, and yet filled with the unexpected, creating a bridge to the future."

The exhibit is accompanied by a catalog that includes essays by the artists about when and how they were "touched" by U.Va, biographical information and color images of their work. The catalog will be available in Ruffin Gallery and online at the Arts at the University of Virginia website.

The exhibition will travel to The Beverly Street Studio School Gallery, 22 W.  Beverly St. in Staunton, from Oct. 28 through Nov. 29.

The exhibition is sponsored by the McIntire Department of Art and the Arts Enhancement Fund, provided by the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.

For information, contact William Bennett at 434-960-7837 or

— By Jane Ford

Media Contact

Jane Ford

Senior News Officer U.Va. Media Relations