Sweeping, wall-length panoramic mural inspired by the Moss Arts Center's stunning architecture

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Sweeping, wall-length panoramic mural inspired by the Moss Arts Center's stunning architecture
Jason Middlebrook, Another World, 2020. Concept drawing (detail). Pen, ink, graphite, colored pencils, and acrylic paint on mixed media paper. Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, New York.

BLACKSBURG, VA.- The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech marks the reopening of its gallery spaces with a sweeping, panoramic work of art inspired by its own architectural elements. “Another World” is a site-specific commissioned work created by nationally acclaimed artist Jason Middlebrook.

Middlebrook envisioned, created, and digitally rendered this new 17-by-25 ½-foot work of art, which stretches across the gallery’s longest wall. Recognized for his complex and mesmerizing compositions, Middlebrook is best known for his “plank paintings,” geometrically-patterned paintings on planks of elm, maple, or other hardwoods that exist somewhere between painting and sculpture. He has also created a number of public art works ranging from mosaic wall works to large-scale bronze sculptures.

This two-dimensional wall work at the Moss provides a new direction for the artist. For “Another World,” Middlebrook merges his drawing and painting skill with digital processes on a grand scale. Middlebrook developed the work through numerous sketches, creating a 40-by-60-inch multi-colored drawing which was scanned, digitally rendered on PhotoTex, and mounted to the gallery wall.

“’Another World’ presents a visual journey in a grand sweep through multiple perspectives, intersecting and colliding formations, and points of view,” said Margo Ann Crutchfield, Moss Arts Center’s curator-at-large. “The work’s imagery, inspired in part by the soaring architectural elements of the Moss Arts Center, is rooted in this world, though, sifted and transformed through the artist’s imagination. From one end to the other the imagery ventures beyond our immediately recognizable reality into another realm. It’s a complex, intriguing, and fluid landscape.”

Middlebrook’s work has been shown throughout the United States with exhibitions at major museums including the New Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Princeton University Art Museum.

“Another World” is curated by Crutchfield and is on view through November 21, 2020.

Also currently on view in the Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor is “Art and Social Conscience,” a sequence of installations calling attention to sociopolitical issues and the need for change. The first presentation is “In Search of the Truth” by CAUSE COLLECTIVE. This installation presents concise thoughts and observations by people from around the world who are grappling with one of the most pertinent social, political, and philosophical issues—what the truth is and what it means. Created by CAUSE COLLECTIVE members Ryan Alexiev, Jim Ricks, Hank Willis Thomas, Jorge Sanchez, and Will Sylvester, the work is a thoughtful and at times profound exploration of values in this time of moral upheaval.

“22 Steps” is a recurring installation on the Moss Arts Center Grand Lobby Staircase that celebrates the written word in a spatial and visual experience. The iteration of “22 Steps” currently on display features a statement from “Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change” by the late civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis (1940-2020).

“Art and Social Conscience” will also feature the exhibition “Four Freedoms,” produced by For Freedoms, an artist-run platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States, co-founded by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman in 2016.

“Four Freedoms” opens on October 15, 2020.

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