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'Animal/Artifact' Exhibition Questions Human Identity

Dittmar Gallery exhibition examines relationship between humans and mammals

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February 26, 2013 | by Judy Moore
The Dittmar Memorial Gallery’s “Animal/Artifact” exhibition, featuring the work of Maria Lux and David R. Harper, opens Feb. 21 to runs through March 22.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Animal/Artifact,” a new winter exhibition at Northwestern University featuring Maria Lux and David R. Harper, explores the intersection of natural history and cultural history.

The show runs through March 22 at the Dittmar Memorial Gallery, located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. Free and open to the public, the exhibition is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Lux and Harper investigate man’s urge to dominate animals and create installations that allude to the tenuous relationship between human and mammal.

Maria Lux

• Champaign, Ill.-based artist Lux says her interdisciplinary investigations of animals and animal issues raise questions about our own identity as a species. Her installations include drawings, paintings, dioramas and fabricated and found objects, including photographs and inkjet prints that are combined with related texts. The Dittmar exhibition includes “Big Pig,” a giant freestanding pig made of carved rigid foam coated in Latex paint matching the color of the artist’s skin; and “Small Scale/Large Scale,” a modified red and white Fisher Price toy barn with 1,000 miniature plastic hogs in row after row. For more on Lux, visit www.marialuxart.wordpress.com.

David R. Harper

• Harper, a Chicago sculptor, is drawn to memorials, markers that he says formalize links between memory and present experience. Harper creates elaborate objects that combine common and unusual materials with historical techniques to “amplify an ephemeral natural world with enduring monumentalization.” On display at the Dittmar is “Settlement in Place of Lore,” comprised of 18 neatly stacked and arranged piles of animal bones. The installation is made of vitreous china and felt. For more on Harper, visit www.davidrharper.com/home/sculpture.

For more information, visit www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life