McIntire Department of Art Introduces Work by VCU Graduate Sculpture Students at the Off Grounds Gallery in March

February 19, 2007

Feb. 19, 2007 -- The work of a diverse group of artists currently enrolled in the MFA Sculpture/Extended Media program at the Virginia Commonwealth University will be on exhibit at the University of Virginia's McIntire Department of Art Off Grounds Gallery during March.

The group, dubbed the Commonwealth Bricoleurs, work in a range of new and traditional sculptural media that are not focused on creating objects but on making and exploring environments. They take their name from the French word bricoleur - a resourceful person who collects things and information and puts them together in a way that they were not originally designed to do. The Commonwealth Bricoleurs - Jesse Robinson, David Grainger, Eli Kessler, James Sham, Sami Ben Larbi, Lily Cox-Richard - are visiting artists in the McIntire Department of Art giving individual critiques to U.Va. students and providing an opportunity to create community between artists in Charlottesville and Richmond.

Kessler builds complex assemblages, creating environments and organisms of orchestrated noises and movement. Robinson creates two- and three-dimensional works that bring together disparate elements from a broad scope of history and culture. Cox-Richard's sculptures and installations explore ways people communicate and "experience" through vernacular icons and other cultural materials. To upset the culture of professionalism and demystify the creative process, Grainger works in separate, distinct categories. Sham and Ben Larbi bring a special perspective to their work. Sham, a citizen of Hong Kong and Canada, explores the demographic of "other" as it relates to being outside the culture and society and also as a source of galvanization. The installations and interactive environments that French-Tunisian artist Ben Larbi creates frame how we communicate and interact socially.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, March 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. The artists will be on hand to give artists' talks at a closing reception on Friday, March 23, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Off Grounds Gallery is located at the McIntire Department of Art, 300 West Main Street, First Floor, Ridge Street Entrance. Hours are: Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.