UK Art Museum exhibits run the spectrum
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UK Art Museum exhibits run the spectrum
Ed Clark, Untitled, 1991, acrylic on canvas. Collection of the UK Art Museum, purchase: Art Museum Funds.

LEXINGTON, KY.- From one end of the spectrum to the other, the University of Kentucky Art Museum is opening two art exhibitions that explore the use of color. Utilizing some favorites as well as rarely seen pieces from the museum collection in combination with select works on loan, “Coloring” will remind viewers just how complex color can be. And for those visitors drawn to a more stark, monotone palette, don’t miss “Template Days” featuring the work of artists Avantika Bawa and May Tveit in conversation for the first time. Both exhibitions are free and open to the public.


From our own skin tones to the clothes we wear, the sky outside and the food we eat, traffic signals and currency, pride flags and the screen savers on our devices — color is everywhere and is always affecting us. “Coloring” is an exhibition that features primarily abstract works of painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture, whose dominant condition is color/colors that define hard-edged geometries, coalesce in lush atmospheres, are the result of acts of accretion or dramatic gestures, and exist in store bought or found items. In the hands of artists of varied traditions, color relationships can be made using oil and acrylic paints, nail polish and glitter, wool and thread, steel pipe and plastic bottles, to name a few.

“Color is such a rich subject that crosses over disciplines including art, science, philosophy, design and others — all taught on the UK campus. Obviously, we have an attachment to blue around here, so color can be quite emotional,” UK Art Museum Director Stuart Horodner explained. “Art lovers of all ages can access this ‘Coloring’ exhibition and find connections to their own favorite hues — be they brash Day-Glo combinations or more subtle arrangements and atmospheres. The combinations of acclaimed artists and lesser-known ones, geometry and gesture, and several different media, will make for a very visceral gallery experience.”

Artists featured in “Coloring” include: Josef Albers, Jake-Berthot, Norman Bluhm, Kiah Celeste, Ed Clark, Jeff Conefry, Sonia Delauney-Terk, David Diao, Adrienne Dixon, Friedel Dzubas, Remo Michael Farruggio, Tony Feher, Keltie Ferris, Sam Francis, Sam Gilliam, Joanne Greenbaum, Stephen Greene, Peter Halley, Hans Hofmann, Ralph Humphrey, Scott Ingram, Alfred Jensen, David Kaiser, Sol Lewitt, Chris Martin, Fritz Ruoff, Judy Rushin-Knopf, Jackie Saccoccio, Judith Scott, Alan Uglow, Wendy White and Jack Whitten.

Artists/educators Bethany Collins, Wayne Koestenbaum and Judy Ledgerwood served as "color consultants" on this project, providing questions, suggested readings and event proposals. Their contributions are incorporated into wall labels, handouts and public programs.

“Template Days: Avantika Bawa & May Tveit”

Offered in quite literal contrast to “Coloring,” “Template Days: Avantika Bawa & May Tviet” brings together two midcareer artists who both utilize and improvise with readymade industrial shapes and materials. They work serially, each using templates to develop bodies of sculpture and printmaking that combine a rigorous investigation of form. While each artist has used riotous color in previous productions, the works on view here are decidedly monochromatic.

“’Template Days’ is a strong, but subdued companion show for ‘Coloring,’ with the works of Avantika Bawa and May Tveit being paired for the first time. Their sculptures and prints share many affinities, from the ways they both use templates to industrial materials and architectural references,” Horodner said. “It has been a particular pleasure to have both artists installing their works in person at the museum after the past year of COVID-related restrictions.”

Following her site-specific installation, “A Pink Scaffold in the Rann” (2019-20), which located a large construction of surprisingly painted metal scaffolding in the vast salt desert near an international border in India, Bawa turned to a much smaller scale and new technologies. Using 3D printers, she has fabricated maquette-sized stackable scaffolds in bronze steel and produced subtle embossings on paper, which use vertical and horizontal bars in distinct formations that shift between presence and absence.

For several years, Tveit has created complex geometric structures made of cut and stacked sheets of cardboard, born of her long-term collaboration with the Lawrence Paper Company, a Kansas-based manufacturer of corrugated packaging products. Her wall works borrow from the vocabularies of painting and sculpture and suggest new takes on ancient shapes including pyramids and ziggurats. She has also variously inked and printed from carefully orchestrated cardboard shapes to create monoprints that possess emanations of light and shadowy depths in equal measure.

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