“Urban Transformations,” an art exhibition of energetic and experimental works, featuring prints, collages and three different installations by nationally known artist Nicola L�pez, opens in the Mesaros Galleries at the Creative Arts Center Thursday, Jan. 21. The exhibition will be on view through March 4.

L�pez, who currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., will also present a visiting artist lecture about her work Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. in the Bloch Learning and Performance Hall. The opening reception for the exhibitions will follow at 6 p.m. in the galleries.

“Urban Transformations” is co-produced by the Mesaros Galleries and the Chazen Museum at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“This is the first time the Mesaros Galleries have partnered with another museum to do an exhibition,” Mesaros Galleries Curator Robert Bridges said. “I have been working on this project for two years, since Nicola’s work was brought to my attention by Jacob Lewis, an alumnus of the WVU Division of Art and Design, who is currently director of Pace Prints in New York City.

“This is a really important exhibition and it is going to be exciting for our students and also for the local community,” Bridges said.

“L�pez’s abstractions deploy drawn architecture and its infrastructure. The artist builds layer upon layer of complex networks to depict her urban landscapes. Her exhibition utilizes drawing, painting and print collages to create large-scale framed works as well as multi-faceted installations.”

According to Art professor Kristina Olson, who wrote the essay for the exhibition catalogue, L�pez uses her work to express her distress over unchecked development and the devastating toll it has taken on nature.

“The artist’s vision of the city is undoubtedly influenced by her experience moving to congested New York City after growing up in New Mexico,” Olson said. “It is also a vision informed by an understanding of the conditions (political, technological and economic) that led to the targeting of the World Trade Center. A post-9/11 interpretation of the declining city has been prefigured in the work of a number of Deconstructive architects over the last 20 years or so.”

L�pez said recently, “I care deeply about preserving the natural world in a recognizable and healthy state. I am also terrified about the way that we, as human beings, are capable of impacting it.”

According to Olson, that terror is fully expressed in the artist’s print installations.

“In these complex and horrifying constructions, forms seem to crawl across the gallery walls and ceilings like a man-made invasive vine. These installations – a tangle fashioned from cut-outs of woodblock prints and photolithography on mylar – mimic cacophonous urban sprawl,” she said.

“Like the best art, her works provide a place to reflect on reality,” Olson said. “L�pez raises serious and relevant questions in her fictive cityscapes that offer a visual roller-coaster trip of terrifying delights.”

Managed and programmed by Bridges and the WVU Division of Art, the Mesaros Galleries organize a diverse and exciting schedule of exhibitions throughout the year. The galleries are committed to showing experimental work that is innovative both in terms of media and content. The Mesaros Galleries and the WVU Division of Art and Design also host contemporary artists of important or growing reputation who work in all media in the Visiting Artist Program.

All Mesaros Galleries events, including art lectures, exhibitions and receptions, are free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, from noon to 9:30 p.m. The galleries are closed Sundays and University holidays. Special individual or group viewing times may be arranged upon request.

For more information, contact Bridges at (304) 293-2312 or visit www.nicolalopez.com.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4841 ext. 3108, Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu