On April 1, 2009, the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums
, will open Chi-Yun, Breath Resonance in Contemporary Art: Museum Studies Seminar Exhibition. The exhibition is presented by students enrolled in the Seminar in Museum Studies, a course offered in the University of Richmond's Department of Art and Art History and part of the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Arts Management. The exhibition remains on view through June 7, 2009.
This exhibition was conceived during the Fall 2009 class "Chi-Yun: Breath Resonance in Asian and Contemporary Art" taught by Stephen Addiss, Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities-Art and Professor of Art History, and Erling Sjovold, Associate Professor of Art, University of Richmond. Participants in the class studied the historical significance of chi-yun and produced works infused with aspects of vitality, movement, freedom, naturalness, and individual spirit for which chi-yun is known. Chi-yun sheng-tung, the principle's formal name, was coined by Hsieh Hoe in the 6th century to represent the first law of Chinese painting - breath resonance and life movement. Chi-yun originally emphasized how brush stroke and gesture create energy and movement throughout the space of a work.
The Museum Studies class researched and selected works by several contemporary artists who demonstrate aspects of chi-yun. Among these artists are Deborah Ellis, Ron Johnson, Ray Kass, Kate McGraw, Anne Tarantino, and Heide Trepanier. The exhibition investigates the presence of qualities of chi-yun, such as movement, freedom, and honesty, in the artwork. The exhibition compels viewers to question whether the ancient practice of chi-yun has value for contemporary art and if so, how it applies and resonates today.
Under the supervision of their professor, Richard Waller, executive director of University Museums, and working closely with the museum staff, the students curated and designed the exhibition and developed exhibition text and programming. Collaborating as a group and in teams, the curators are Megan Bell, Melanie Griguts, Zachary Orefice, Garrett Pinder, and Dayle Wood; the educators and programmers are Ashleigh Greene, Amanda Haviland, Amy Mathis, and Anna Saccoccio; and the marketers are John Briney, Lindsey Lowe, Alexandra Varipapa, Hillary Wayland, and Bridgette Weeks.