Emporia State art students volunteered their time last weekend to help Laura Berman, associate professor of printmaking at Kansas City Art Institute in Mo., with a site-specific installation titled “Umbras.” The installation contains rock displays and colored prints based on shadows.
“Most of my prints are based on things I collect,” Berman said. “A lot of the prints that are in the installation are based on rocks I’ve collected from different areas, and there are some prints that are based on things I have around the house, like candleholders.”
The installation is currently on display in the Norman Eppink Gallery in King Hall through Oct. 12. Berman and students started working on the installation last Thursday.
Berman said she was invited to set up the installation by the art department in late spring. She currently has an installation in the Dolphin Gallery in Kansas City, Mo. and at the High Point Print Center in Minneapolis. Later this fall, the Círculo del Arte art club and gallery in Barcelona will publish a series of her prints, which she said are “color-based works.”
“Roberta Eichenberg and Patrick Martin knew my work, and I’ve known Patrick since we met at Tulane 13 years ago,” Berman said. “We talked about doing an installation in the Norman Eppink gallery late last winter, and in late spring we decided we could do it at the beginning of the fall semester.”
Senior glass blowing majors Joe Sircoloumb, Kaila Mock and Danny Shipley helped Berman set up the installation.
“I like the fixation on an inanimate object,” Sircoloumb said. “The use of color adds something new. It makes the banal stimulating. I also collected rocks from different places as a kid, so I particularly like the use of rocks in the installation.”
Berman said the Eppink gallery was actually the inspiration for much of the work featured in “Umbras,” especially five large inkjet on vinyl prints, titled “Lost Stars,” which are aligned with the five windows in the gallery. The installation also uses the rocks from Berman’s collection that she used to create the shapes in “Lost Stars.”
“We hung up special lighting filters to create rock shadows similar to the colors used in each print,” Mock said.
The north wall of the gallery features one work titled “All She Ever Wanted Was Everything: Laura Berman’s Rock Collection,” a set of over two thousand hand-cut intaglio prints. Berman said this work has been to several shows and is set up in a different arrangement each time.
“That north wall is my favorite part of the installation,” Mock said. “I like it because there are an infinite amount of ways to set that up.”
The south wall consists of relief monoprint sets with names related to the use of shadows and rocks such as “Umbrarocks,” “Umbrahome,” “Rockpiles” and “Gridrock.” Berman said the prints in “Umbras” focus on the shadows of objects such as rocks and household items instead of the actual object, and most of the prints also focus on color.
“It’s the effect of seeing both sides of a shadow,” Berman said, “but not the actual object.”
The majority of pieces in the gallery are based on Berman’s interest in rocks.
“I think of rocks as prints themselves,” Berman said. “There are no two alike, and they each have their own individual features and details.”
Berman will be back on campus for an art forum lecture from 3-5 p.m. Aug. 29 in Brighton Science Hall, room 72, followed by a reception from 5-7 p.m. in the Karl C. Bruder Theater lobby of King Hall.