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Site-Specific Installation by Susan Ewing & Vratislav Novák


Site-Specific Installation by Susan Ewing & Vratislav Novák

The Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts announces two new exhibitions: Konvergence, a kinetic site-specific installation by Susan Ewing and Vratislav Novákthat invites viewer participation; and Journey, a poignant and contemplative multimedia installation by Karen Snouffer that addresses themes of memory and loss.

Continuing a collaboration begun in the Czech Republic in 1997 during an extended artist residency, Susan Ewing (Oxford, Ohio) and Vratislav Novák (Czech Republic) will create Konvergence, a kinetic site-specific work in the gallery’s highly-visible street-level exhibition space, that both reflects and actively engages the viewer. Accompanying the installation is an exhibition in the lower west gallery that focuses on individual aspects of the artists’ work (early photographic collaborations with artists and models in the Czech Republic by Novák and recent metal works by Ewing), as well as the model for Crystalline Tower, a commissioned public sculpture scheduled to be installed at International Friendship Park on the Cincinnati riverfront in late 2003.

Consisting of a cubic, 16-foot steel and mirror structure, Konvergence features a 19-foot tethered kinetic titanium "needle" that circulates through the three-sided reflective space. All elements of the structure converge to a single point at the center, and conversely radiate, reflecting and refracting the space into an abstract changing "star geometry." The needle is motorized and driven automatically, but can also be manipulated by viewers. In addition, the needle is anodized with refractive colors and has LED lighting within for special effect at night.

Konvergence represents the first major sculpture by Novák outside of the Czech Republic and the first site-specific installation project by the collaborative team of Ewing & Novák. Through the use of star symbolism within the work, the artists hope to convey a metaphorical coming together to express optimism, hope and communication through enlightened friendship.

Vratislav Novák was born in 1942 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he earned his master’s diploma at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design. He has served as professor and head of the Academy’s Sculpture Studio for Metals and Jewelry since 1990. Novák has maintained a sculpture studio since 1968 in Jablonec and Nisou from which he has produced 105 monumental interior and exterior sculpture projects.

Born in 1955 in Lawrenceville, Illinois, Susan Ewing earned her bachelor and master of fine arts degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington. Since 1981, she has headed the metals program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she is a professor and distinguished scholar. Ewing and Novák were first introduced in the spring of 1996 through the special joint international exchange project between the Ohio Arts Council and the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. Following her 1996 travel to the Czech Republic, Ewing was appointed twice as a Fulbright Senior Lecturing Scholar to the Sculpture Studio for Metals and Jewelry at the Academy of Art, Architecture, and Design in Prague from 1997-99.

Novák was first appointed to teach at Miami University as an international visiting scholar during the summer of 2000. He returned to teach as a Fulbright Senior Lecturing Scholar in the spring of 2002. Over the past five years, the two artists have developed an artistic collaboration that includes team-teaching, lecturing, organizing exhibitions, student exchanges, and the development of collaborative studio projects.