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The Dayton Art Institute presents summer suite of water focused special exhibitions
Daniel Rozin, Penguins Mirror, 2015, 450 stuffed animals, motors, control electronics, Xbox Kinect, Mac mini, custom software, tin bases, Dimensions variable, Edition AP of 1, 1 AP. Courtesy bitforms gallery, New York, photo by John Berens.

DAYTON, OH.- It is a cool summer at The Dayton Art Institute, as the museum continues its “Year of the Classical Elements” with three contemporary installations, all relating to the element of water.

The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water presents large-scale photography, cutting-edge video art, and a display of 450 mechanized, interactive penguins that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. The special exhibitions opened July 16 and will be on view through October 16.

No philosophical idea has captured the imagination of artists more than the sublime, which emerged as a concept in the first century CE writings of the Greek philosopher Longinus. It took greatest shape in the 18th century through the writings of philosophers Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) and Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804), whose collective works connect the sublime to an experience with something so boundless, grand, or dangerous that it inspires awe, fear, or veneration. Nature is one place where examples of the sublime abound, as visitors are often awe-struck by its monumentality and ferocity, as well as mankind’s small place within the universe.

“Organizing a series of exhibitions featuring 21st-century work that explores nature and the elements, where examples of the sublime abound, struck us as something extremely relevant, given the complex and evolving questions related to humans’ relationship with the natural world,” remarked the DAI’s Chief Curator, Dr. Aimee Marcereau DeGalan. “The sublime is a deeply personal and intimate interaction or reaction to nature, and to that end, this suite of exhibitions presents engaging and unique experiences.”

The Antarctic Sublime, Gallery 119 (off Lower Court)
The first installation of the summer suite presents Penguins Mirror (2015) by Daniel Rozin, whose Snow Mirror and Brushed Metal Mirror were guest favorites in the recent special exhibition Into the Ether: Contemporary Light Artists. A colony of 450 mechanized penguins designed by Rozin provides an interactive installation that responds to visitors. As creatures of the Antarctic terrain, and highly adaptive to life in water, the inclusion of the penguins fits the series thematically, providing an immersive and responsive environment for viewers, and offering an opportunity to further explore the Polar Regions and their climate shifts, ideas of natural selection and the randomness of genetic drift.

Elements of Nature: Water, Gallery 209 (off Great Hall) & Gallery 118 (off Lower Court)
In the second part of the special exhibitions, Elements of Nature: Water, two distinct installations examine the concept of water in various forms.

In traditional Japanese painting and in Japanese woodblock prints, oceans, rivers, and bodies of water are expressed as a curvilinear series of lines. These lines give the impression of life, as though water itself were a living creature. It is from this premise that the contemporary Japanese ultra-technologist group teamLab drew inspiration for Universe of Water Particles, an over 10-foot digital waterfall rendered at five times that of full high definition. This digital work is on display alongside Edo-period (1603–1868) ukiyo-e woodblock prints from The DAI’s extensive collection, to explore the encounter and navigation of space within both 2D and 3D work, which is a fundamental concept to teamLab.

In another gallery, a single, monumental photograph by contemporary Berlin-based artist Frank Thiel, of the Perito Moreno glacier, is on display. Located in the Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia, Argentina, this glacier is part of the third-largest ice cap in the world. Thiel has created large-format images to capture the immense scale of the 18-mile-long by three-mile-wide formation, which is one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually growing. Reasons abound yet simultaneously confound many scientists and researchers as to the glacier’s growth, and the debate remains one that is very relevant today. Thiel’s photograph makes viewers question the transient nature of what is around them, and it also provides the opportunity to discuss the fragility of humans in the face of nature’s awesome might.

The exhibitions are organized and curated by The Dayton Art Institute’s Chief Curator and Curator of European Art, Dr. Aimee Marcereau DeGalan.

“Visitors are still raving about our recent exhibition Into the Ether, and our curatorial team has created another one-of-kind experience with The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water,” says The Dayton Art Institute’s Director & CEO, Michael R. Roediger. “We guarantee you’ve never seen anything quite like this at The DAI, and both adults and children will be spellbound by these installations.”

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