Blaffer showcases ĎA Brief
History of Twinei
By M. Kahlil Taylor
Daily Cougar Staff
Blaffer Gallery, art museum of UH, has
filled its space with common objects that have been transformed into quizzical
combinations of artistry.
The exhibit, Donald Lipski: A Brief
History of Twine, opened January 13 and will continue until the long-awaited
graduate art show begins in March.
Donald Lipskiis work over the past 13 years
is amazingly satirical and inventive. He has recycled the "less valued"
items of American life into intriguing pieces of art. By presenting our
own childlike obsession to playfully creative toys made of chewing gum
wrappers and paperclips on a large, exaggerated scale, Lipski reminds us
of humanityis need to obsessively create.
Lipski was born in Chicago during the late
1940s. His father taught him magic and assemblage while his mother taught
him the art of "elaborate-looking things" through her cooking.
Photo courtesy of Donald
Best described as "recycled"
art, "Texas Instruments" is one of the pieces by artist Donald Lipski on
display at Blaffer Gallery. His exhibition runs through March.
Lipski tinkered with toys, erector sets
and wood carving during his youth, but ended up majoring in history at
the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His senior year experiences with art
pushed him toward his masters of fine arts at Cranbrook Academy of Art
and a teaching job at the University of Oklahoma.
There he was invited to create one of his
first major pieces, "Gathering Dust."
Upon passing the front desk, you are visually
greeted by "Gathering Dust." Although the 100 or so small sculptures may
have been gathering dust before this transformation, they are now coordinated
combinations testing our imagination. His sculptures catch your eye and
force you to examine their ingenuity or looking for their utilitarian purpose.
This piece is an introduction to the fascination viewers will continue
to feel throughout the show.
The exhibit promotes art focused on the
idea and concept rather than on expensive materials. His work gives you
the feeling that he could be a twisted mad scientist because most of his
inventions are useless for practical purposes.
For instance, "Untitled #90-07" is a beautiful
pinwheel created from 36 rust-brown fly swatters. His use of the flyswatters
has surpassed their original intent, but the new creation of a giant wheel
is far more interesting to the mind.
The 1994 piece "The Starry Night" is a
reinstallation of double-sided razor blades flowing across the wall like
a shaken etch-a-sketch. Razor blades pierce the white-walled canvas and
become abstracted reflectors of light.
Their curves and unified turns draw the
human eye around the wall in continuous patterns.
He once again alters the original intent
of an object in "The Humidors," a metal-and-glass encasement of thousands
of cigarettes. Lipski approximated how many he had smoked each year during
his attempts to quit.
He then placed the cigarettes inside the
container using the brown tobacco front and the white filter backing as
tiles to write the date each box represented.
Some may ponder whether these pieces and
objects are now art, or just overpriced stacks of trash. Regardless, A
Brief History of Twine still offers intriguing visuals and comical
relief from the daily grind of university life.