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Internationally known sculptor to work with students, exhibit at Foster Gallery

RELEASED: Sept. 21, 2010

View more photos of Roy Staab's environmental art installation with UW-Eau Claire students on the university's Facebook page.
Roy Staab
Environmental artist Roy Staab hung garlands in UW-Eau Claire's Haas Fine Arts Center lobby Oct. 1. The garlands, hung to promotoe an outdoor art installation Staab is creating with UW-Eau Claire students, are made from natural materials found near the Chippewa River. (UW-Eau Claire photo by Rick Mickelson)
Students helping with environmental art project
Students and UW-Eau Claire Foster Gallery Director Tom Wagener helped move another garland that is part of the installation. The art project, located on the UW-Eau Claire footbridge, will be formally installed Oct. 3. An exhibit of Staab's work also will open Oct. 7 in the Foster Gallery. (UW-Eau Claire photo by Rick Mickelson)

EAU CLAIRE — Roy Staab, regarded as the "Johnny Appleseed of environmental art" by The New York Times, will be on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus beginning Sept. 20 to work with students on an outdoor art installation. The visit precedes an exhibit documenting 31 years of Staab's environmental artwork.

An opening reception for "Four Seasons/Four Corners" will be held from 7:30-9 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Foster Art Gallery of the Haas Fine Arts Center. This traveling exhibit, on display through Oct. 28, features four major works from the four corners of Wisconsin throughout the four seasons of the year. The exhibition consists of line and chalk drawings, paintings on paper, and photographs of work done from 1967 to the present. It was curated by Nicholas Frank for the Institute of Visual Arts in Milwaukee.

Throughout his career, Staab has given communities the opportunity to collaborate with him on his site-specific pieces. Staab's work is often located on or near water, using natural materials such as reeds, and incorporates the reflection on the water as part of the work.

The new sculpture to be installed along the Chippewa River under the north side of the university footbridge will complement the gallery display with a more ephemeral and organic form for which Staab is well known. UW-Eau Claire sculpture students will participate in the project and create site-specific projects of their own, to be judged by Staab, after a semester course on the historical and cultural roots of site-specific sculpture.

"It is a rare opportunity for our students to be able to work with an international artist," said Jason Lanka, assistant professor of art & design. "From actual professional experiences outside the classroom, the students are able to synthesize the conceptual ideas we teach in the classroom with the physical demands of the making the work on site.

"This is a wonderful opportunity given that Roy has so readily agreed to work with our students and mentor them while they help to create his work."

His works have been installed in France, Italy, Japan, Canada, Costa Rica and the United States, among other countries. Many of the installations were temporary works that no longer exist due to the incorporation of nature.

Lanka's sculpture students will be working with Staab, but all students are invited to participate. Those interested should contact Lanka at lankaja@uwec.edu or Foster Gallery director Tom Wagener at wagenetk@uwec.edu for details.

For more information about Roy Staab, view his artist statement and blog, featuring videos of past installations. For more information about gallery exhibits, contact Tom Wagener at 715-836-2328 or wagenetk@uwec.edu. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, 6-8 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4:30 p.m. weekends.

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RD/DW

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