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Photography students install works around campus for final project

RELEASED: Dec. 17, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — Large-scale photographic works by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire art students are on display in and around campus for a fleeting time. Viewers are encouraged to look closely and look soon because these diverse and unconventional visual concepts won't last long.

Students in Jyl Kelley's Art 382 photography class selected locations relevant to their individual concepts, which include the underside of the Chippewa River footbridge, multiple campus buildings and residence halls. Many of the installations can be viewed until the end of December or early January. The works explore topics such as environmental and political issues, homelessness, and identity and survival in a contemporary and fast-paced culture.

According to Kelley, an assistant professor of photography, students were inspired by well-known artists like Ron English and Barbara Kruger who have created similar public photo campaigns.

"I am always delighted at the level of conceptual risk taken by my students to challenge their audience's thinking," Kelley said. "Taking risks with new techniques and ideas is sometimes an extremely challenging task to consider. The results from many of these projects are remarkable in that they boldly offer fresh interpretations from each individual's perspective."

Shari Berg & Alyssa Trainor's project titled "reflect"
Shari Berg and Alyssa Trainor's "reflect," photographed from the observation window under the McPhee pool.

Shari Berg, a senior from Monticello, chose the McPhee public pool to install a project she created with senior Alyssa Trainor, Winona, Minn., titled "reflect."

"One of the most magnificent things about water is the way that it alters light. Looking up from below, one sees an almost silvery surface — a distorted view of the rest of the world," said Berg, who described the piece as going beyond self-perception and the literal reflection of water and into a more abstract idea.

"Below the surface of the water is a pristine world, and above is an uncared for and dark place that is decaying into and taking over the other. Take time to reflect upon this treatment and how our fragile world is decaying."

Lee Wagener's "Study in Motion Images"
Lee Wagener's "Study in Motion Images" on display on the third level stairway of the department of art & design at the Haas Fine Art Center.

Lee Wegener's project was inspired by Eadweard Muybridge, who is often referred to as the "father of motion images," setting photos to motion prior to the development of the filmstrip. Wegener, a senior from Hartland, borrowed sequential images of an equestrian, an elephant and two nude fencers from Muybridge's motion studies for his installation. "A Study in Motion" is on display on the third-level stairway of the department of art & design at the Haas Fine Art Center.

"The paper towel dispenser references the disposability of the moving image and how we take it for granted. I attempted to explore the utility of these images by incorporating them into objects that we use, such as a bulletin board, towel dispenser and fire extinguisher case, while still retaining their utility."

A narrow hallway under Davies Center is the setting for Andrew Brose's "Passing."

"People passing one another often have quick meaningless conversations that are scripted out and used over and over." said Brose, a senior, from La Crosse. "This piece reproduces the passing of people and creates a quick, humorous dialog between the images and the viewer."

For students yearning for home this time of year, Stacy Hutchinson, a junior from Chippewa Falls, installed what she described as a "homey place to remember people who don't have a home at this time of year." Hutchinson said the piece, which can be viewed under the campus footbridge, plays off of the notion that someone may take refuge under a bridge and use it as shelter.

Photos of the installations also may be viewed on Facebook with more information about the 20 students who participated in the project. For additional details, contact Jyl Kelley at kelleyja@uwec.edu or 715-836-4622.

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JK/RD/JP

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