Mazgal displays faculty artwork

Students observe the drawings by artist and Art Professor Barbara Milot. (Photo By Melina Bourdeau)

The Mazmanian Gallery is currently showcasing sculptures and drawings by two FSU professors.

Covering the back and right walls of the gallery are artist and Art Professor Barbara Milot’s ink drawing series “Empty Quarter.”

The subject of all the drawings is the abandoned and deteriorating Griswold Mill in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Milot depicts the mill from several perspectives, exaggerating both the scale of the buildings and the density of the vinery that now grows out of some of its windows.

Milot said she found herself compelled by how constantly changing the state of decay is.

“When you see it over time decay, you’re watching this process occur,” she said.

“Because I see [the mill] every day, I am aware of its changing condition from season to season. It forces me to remember that nothing lasts – things just deteriorate at different rates. Perhaps I find beauty there because to do otherwise would be unbearable.”

Taking up the floor space and much of the left wall of the gallery, artist and FSU Professor John Anderson displayed his still-life wood sculptures of household items and things that normally find their way into the trash, such as empty yogurt containers and coffee cups.

Anderson encourages those who look at his art consider “how we look at things, and we see, and how they are two very different Things.”

“In a way, I want to sort of short-circuit that expectation that we have when we look at something. I think upon close inspection the brain can tell that there is something off.”

Wood is Anderson’s primary medium in this installment. Most of which he carved – some, however, was found.

“I gravitate towards discarded materials gleaned from the refuse of everyday life,” he said in his artist’s statement. “I look for things that have history embedded into their DNA.”

Anderson finds inspiration and materials in thrift stores, dumpsters and empty lots. On a ride home one day, he saw a weathered nightstand put out with the garbage on a side street. The moment he saw the piece of furniture, he knew he couldn’t just keep driving, he said, but at the time he was not quite sure why.

“Why I needed to drag this home with me at that moment in time, I’m not so sure I can explain,” he said.

A twist in that nightstand’s fate has landed it as the centerpiece in this month’s gallery, titled “La Noche.”

Its drawer sits slightly open, causing viewers to instinctually peek inside, but resist opening it further. In the drawer, naturally strewn about are painted wood carvings of objects such as flashlights and other everyday tools.

Wood carvings of a coffee cup, a notebook, a wallet, a radio and a spoon with a used teabag sit on top. The table is precariously perched on a bundle of kindling wood, playing into Anderson’s theme of disarray and instability, as well as matching the aesthetic he was pursuing.

“My decisions are often based off texture, color, shape. I also wanted it to be unstable. There’s also the potential of setting a fire and burning it.”

In the front of the gallery is Anderson’s sculpture, “In the Future We Will Build Our Shopping Carts Out of Sticks and Twigs in Order To Stock Up on The Bones of Our Children.”

The long title of the piece implies that in the future, our bones will be metal, and we will be part, if not all, machine.

Anderson used tree branches, cardboard, wire and paint to create the light-weight functional shopping cart. He kept the surreal images in the Mad Max series, as well very real images of war-torn Syria in mind when creating this piece.

This piece is not limited to any one interpretation, but Anderson suggests a juxtaposition between the scavenged materials used to create the cart and the American urge to fill the empty space within it, commenting on capitalism and consumerism.

“I see it as a matrix, I see a lot of things flow through this particular object.”

The gallery will be on display until March 25.

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