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Two Dittmar Gallery Exhibits Explore Architectural Forms

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February 25, 2009 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Two simultaneous exhibitions with architectural themes will be showcased at Northwestern University's Dittmar Memorial Gallery from March 30 to May 6.

The large-scale abstract photographs taken by 90-year-old Highland Park, Ill., photographer Robert Logan that are featured in the "Constructivists Chicago" exhibition capture the abstraction of the city's man-made structures. And three-dimensional steel, glass and concrete constructions by St. Louis-based artist and architect Iain Fraser, in the "missed places" exhibition, explore industrial materials and textures that blur the boundaries between the familiar and the new.

The Dittmar Gallery is located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the University's Evanston campus. The exhibitions and a gallery reception for both artists from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 3, are free and open to the public.

Logan's photography has typically focused on nature, but in his "Constructivists Chicago" series, his lens turned toward more industrial themes three years ago.

"I was stopped by traffic on the Chicago River Bridge and chanced to look west," said Logan. "There stood the working structures of the Material Service Corporation, combining raw power with a rare grace in a symphony of forms."

This inspiration led to photographic explorations of those and other man-made structures in and around Chicago's Loop. The images were originally printed on silver gelatin paper, but for display in the Dittmar, they were digitally expressed in large-scale dimensions to further realize their vitality. Logan began to study photography 50 years ago after attending a public celebration of influential photographer Edward Weston's artwork in Highland Park. Since then, Logan has practiced and studied with photographers that have included Arthur Lazar, Nancy Gutrich and the late Fred Picker.

Fraser, a practicing architect for nearly 30 years and professor of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., has created the architectural-looking structures by exploring the legacy of infrastructure and referencing the machineries and constructions that support today's cities. The work displayed in Fraser's "missed places" exhibition develops the expressive potential of the rough and crude use of materials that are often encountered in the spaces behind, between, under or even above buildings. Fraser brings the distinctive weight, textures, durability and surprising delicacy of these materials in contact with his reservoir of architecture and sculpture to give form to moments of speculative association and create strange forms that border on the familiar.

Fraser, who was born in Canada, first came to the United States in the early 1960s to study, returning in the early 1970s to live. During his student years, he paralleled his academic work with creative experimentation in various media. It is only in the past eight years that he has reentered the arena of pure creative speculation, primarily in three-dimensional constructions.

For more information, call the gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or go to the Dittmar Web site at http://www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.