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Material Terrain: A Sculptural Exploration of Landscape and Place

July 6 - August 26, 2007

Material Terrain: A Sculptural Exploration of Landscape and Place includes nationally and internationally known sculptors who have created monumental works to be installed both inside the museum and outside on Boyd Plaza in a thought-provoking and playful exhibition opening to the public on Friday, July 6, and running through Sunday, August 26, 2007. The museum's first cell phone tour and podcast launches for the exhibition and includes interviews with several of the artists. Visitors also have the opportunity to write their own descriptive labels for several of the works as a way to engage directly with the artwork.

Museum executor director Karen Brosius said, "This will be our most interactive exhibition to date. Visitors will have the opportunity to actively explore, not only the artists' thought processes in the cell phone tour, but also their own reactions to these works by writing down their thoughts at the 'write your own text panel' stations throughout the galleries."

These 26 sculptures, some enormous in size, are composed of surprising materials such as poured fiberglass, polyethylene, aluminum chain-link steel and wheat grass, and they are appearing in unusual spaces in and around the museum. Featured artists are Michele Brody, Kendall Buster, Ming Fay, Donald Lipski, Dennis Oppenheim, Roxy Paine, Wendy Ross, John Ruppert, Ursula van Rydingsvard, Valeska Soares and James Surls.

The artists are well known for their avant-garde approaches, and Material Terrain addresses provocative questions such as genetic engineering and modification of species, conservation, farming and logging. From giant pumpkins and deer light fixtures to grass skirts and concrete trees, the exhibition is visually engaging and should appeal to everyone from children to adults.

Van Rydingsvard was a featured artist in the January 2007 issue of ARTnews magazine and has exhibited in both national and international solo and group exhibitions. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Joan Mitchell Award and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sculpture Award, among others. Oppenheim has exhibited internationally, including at the Tate Gallery, London, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York. Buster's work has been shown at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., and The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, Pa., as well as internationally in Berlin and South Africa.

China born Fay says of his work, Monkey Pot, "Much like a scientist, I research and cultivate specific plant forms for their inherent and symbolic qualities, reinterpreting and reinventing them in my studio/laboratory greenhouse. Inspired by the metaphor of the Monkey Pot, an Amazon jungle plant with a pot-like shape that often traps monkeys in their desire to obtain the seeds inside. In my version, the Monkey Pots are a symbol for humans who are caught by their obsessive need to consume, acquire and conquer."

In a look at contemporary landscape based sculpture, the exhibition explores the relationship between the natural and constructed world, employing diverse materials and techniques to address the uneasy balance between nature and the man-made environment. Using natural and synthetic materials, these artists have created surprising works that either change the outside environment or bring elements of the outdoors into the museum.

Material Terrain: A Sculptural Exploration of Landscape and Place is organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C., with support from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.


(above: Donald Lipski, Exquisite Copse (Big Knot), 2002, Mixed media)


(above: Dennis Oppenheim, Digestion, Sculpture, 1988, Deer bodies, poured fiberglass, copper tubing)


(above: John Ruppert, Moon Gourds, 1997-98. Cast copper, cast aluminum, cast iron)


(above: John Ruppert, Three Aluminum Pumpkins, 2004, Cast aluminum)


(above: James Surls, Me the Flower and the Pistil, 2000, Poplar, oak, steel)



About International Arts & Artists

International Arts & Artists is a non-profit, comprehensive arts service organization. Founded in 1995, IA&A is using innovative approaches to respond to the needs of the international arts community.

IA&A promotes international and cross-cultural understanding by working with a multitude of museums and cultural institutions, showcasing a wide range of diverse artists, arts movements and cultural programs. IA&A has collaborated with institutions in more than 40 states in the United States and with institutions in France, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Brazil in an effort to make the arts more available to a broad segment of the population.

International Arts & Artists's Traveling Exhibition Service provides large and small institutions with a wide range of thematic and solo exhibitions.


Cell Phone Tour and Podcast

The Museum offers its first-ever podcast and cell phone tour during the exhibition Material Terrain this summer. The past 12 months have seen a dramatic rise in the number of museums using mp3 and mobile phone technologies. These devices allow the user to access content on demand, often for free, through their own device rather than traditional museum audio guides.
The tour features exclusive content about the exhibition not available anywhere else. Users can hear several of the artists in the exhibition talking about their work including John Ruppert, Ursula van Rydingsvard, James Surls, Michele Brody, Wendy Ross and Dennis Oppenheim. The cell phone tour also allows you to leave feedback.
The tour will be available for download as a free podcast through the Museum's Web site -- www.colmusart.org -- and is also available as a cell phone tour by calling 408.794.2804. There is no additional charge to use the cell phone tour; only minutes through the user's plan are used. Podcast users should download the tour to an mp3 player before arriving at the Museum.
When visiting the Museum, visitors may pick up an audio tour card listing the stops. There are 11 different stops in the exhibition. Next to the works, visitors will find an audio tour icon. They may choose the corresponding stop number on the card to hear this stop. Visitors may follow the stops numerically or in any order by selecting the number for each particular stop.

Related Events and Programs

Exhibition Preview Celebration
Thursday, July 5    8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Entertainment by Armed Chair Productions, music, BBQ, and drinks provided by Firefly Vodka. Summer festive attire for an inside and out evening of surprises. Fee paid at the door. Guest fee can be used towards the purchase of a new membership. Individual museum membership admits one free. All other membership levels admit two free. R.S.V.P. to 803.799.2810 or email to  rsvp@columbiamuseum.org by June 28 to attend.
Film: Sculptors at Storm King: Shaping American Art (47 minutes)
Thursday, July 12     11:00 a.m.
Saturday, August 25    2:00 p.m.
The 400-acre Storm King Art Center is America's premier outdoor museum of post-1945 sculpture. Through interviews, archival footage and film clips of sculptors in action, this program offers a glimpse into the creative process of some of the century's most influential artists. Featured sculptors include David Smith, Louise Nevelson, Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Kenneth Snelson, Mark di Suvero and Richard Serra. Thursday's show free with admission or membership. Saturday's show is free courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of SC.
Film: Henry Moore (Two parts, 50 minutes each)
Saturday, July 14    2:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 9    2:00 p.m.
Composed of massive biomorphic forms, punctuated with the playfulness of hollowed-out spaces and openings, the sculptures of Henry Moore are scattered throughout the modern landscape. This definitive program combines critical evaluation of Moore's work with biographical background, photographs, film clips and drawings previously unrecorded. Saturday's show free courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of SC. Thursday's show free with admission or membership.
Material Terrain Tour & Tasting: An Exploration of Wines from Our Own Backyard
Friday, July 20        6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
The evening begins with light refreshments and a tour ofMaterial Terrainfollowed by a guided tasting of wines from Eastern states -- including North Carolina and Virginia -- led by Ali Borchardt, associate educator and graduate of the University of South Carolina Wine and Beverage Certification Program. Fee. Pre-registration is required; register early, as this program will fill to capacity. Call 803.343.2186.
Film: Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides (90 minutes)
Saturday, July 28    2:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 11    2:00 p.m.
This film is a study of the fragile relationship between man, art and nature - a mesmerizing, poetic and contemplative portrait of Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, whose long-winding rock walls, icicle assemblages and other intricate, druidic masterpieces are made entirely of materials found in the wild. Free courtesy of BlueCross BlueShield of SC.

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