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Dittmar Gallery Exhibition Features Works by Joe Meiser

Installations by guest artist on display at Norris University Center through Sept. 24

September 17, 2010 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- What looks like a colossal dark cloud suspended from the ceiling is the focal point of the admission free “ether-eal-istic” exhibition at Northwestern University’s Dittmar Memorial Gallery, on view to the public through Sept. 24.

Created by guest artist Joe Meiser, the work titled “Transcribing-Transposing” nearly fills a third of the gallery. The Dittmar is located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. The installation shares space with other installations and a diorama by Meiser.

Meiser said the work is a visual mechanical contemplation on the known and unknown or what we think we know and what is.

Formed from semi-sheer black fabric, translucent paper, electric motor units and other materials, the “cloud” -- which is activated by a motion detector -- continually changes shape and dimensions. About 8 feet wide and 23 feet long at its largest, it is suspended above a floor display of 300 white folded forms made of paper and covered with Euclidean geometry diagrams.

Other highlights are Meiser’s bronze and steel dumbbells, artifacts from “On Shadows and Realities,” (one of Meiser’s performance projects), featuring dreidel-shaped hand weights that rest on a white terrycloth towel inside a glass case. The ends of the weights are decorated with impressions of the artist’s own teeth -- a symbol of the limitations of communication and understanding that humans face in their existence.

A mixed media piece, titled “Encounter with the Being of Light,” depicts the artist emerging from a tiny sensory deprivation tank. Nearby is a man-sized steel sensory deprivation tank featured in the work.

An all-white untitled work made of wood, plastics and glass, was inspired by Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” It depicts a dead whale on a bed of jumbled bonsai trees.

“Today, nearly anything created (or appropriated) in space qualifies as sculpture,” said Meiser, who is assistant professor of art at Bucknell University.

For more information about the artist and his works, visit www.joemeiser.com. To view a video of “Transcribing-Transposing” in motion, visit http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/jdm037/individual/cloud.htm#.

For more information about the exhibition, phone (847) 491-2348, email dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit www.norris.northwestern.edu/recreation/dittmar/.

Topics: Campus Life