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Ross Art Museum Hosts Ceramic, Metal Sculptors

February 19, 2007

From coils of clay to sheets of steel, two new exhibitions at Ohio Wesleyan University's Richard M. Ross Art Museum sculpt one artist's world in minute detail and another's in bold, geometric grandeur.

From Feb. 20 through April 8, the works of Columbus ceramicist Janis Mars Wunderlich and Coventry, Conn., sculptor David Hayes will be on display at the Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St.

Janis Mars Wunderlich, “Family Matters”
Hi-res Version (8,226k JPG)
David Hayes, “Maquette Study”
Hi-res Version (1,923k JPG)
For her "Family Time” exhibit, Mars Wunderlich has created hand-built ceramic sculptures using thin, slab-like coils of clay. The whimsically surreal, intricately detailed pieces depict life as a wife, mother of five young children, and artist.

"My recent work explores the idea of 'accessorizing' with children,” Mars Wunderlich explains on her Web site, www.janismarswunderlich.com. "Sometimes I feel as though my wardrobe consists of kids from head to toe. Instead of 'artsy' or fancy accessories and jewelry, I have children hanging from my ears, neck, and arms! In a sense, the mother figure seems hidden or lost behind all the clingy creatures. But in reality, she is strengthened, clothed, and made beautiful by them. They give her layers, textures, identity.”

To bring that sense of texture to her artwork, Mars Wunderlich creates glaze surfaces in watercolor hues that she builds up by multifiring layers of underglaze, slips, and overglaze.

For his exhibit, "Drawings, Maquettes, and Small Sculptures,” Hayes provides start-to-finish examples of his attention-grabbing sculpture.

"My intention in making sculpture is to portray a reaction to the shapes and forms I see daily, and create a harmony of these forms within a given piece — sometimes coordinated, sometimes disparate, but subservient to the overall image of the sculpture,” Hayes notes on his Web site, www.davidhayes.com. "Interpretation of the individual pieces is left to the discretion of the viewer and is open to as varied interpretations as the variety of viewers themselves.”

Justin Kronewetter, director of the Ross Art Museum, says the combined exhibitions provide a wonderful study in contrast.

"Janis Mars Wunderlich's artwork is crawling with all sorts of details,” says Kronewetter, M.F.A., also a professor of fine arts at Ohio Wesleyan. "She leaves no square inch unattended. Her color palette is subtle, and her subject is organic — the human body.

"David Hayes, in contrast, uses very bold geometric shapes cut in steel. He uses bright colors. These exhibitions represent both ends of the spectrum in how artists approach their work.”

In conjunction with her exhibit, Mars Wunderlich will speak on campus at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, in Room 121 of Edgar Hall, 35 S. Sandusky St. She will be honored afterward with a reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the art museum.

Hayes will speak at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, in Room 121 of Edgar Hall and will be honored immediately afterward with a reception at the museum. Both lectures and receptions are free and open to the public.

The Ross Art Museum is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and Saturdays, and will be closed March 10-19 for spring break. Admission is always free.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges, dedicated to preparing students for a lifetime of learning, service, and leadership. Located in Delaware, Ohio, 20 miles north of the state capital, Ohio Wesleyan is a coeducational, residential, privately supported undergraduate institution. The university is ranked consistently by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's top 100 liberal arts colleges and is featured in the book Colleges That Change Lives. The faculty includes more than 135 educators, all of whom actively teach and hold either doctoral degrees or the highest recognized professional degrees in their fields. Approximately 1,850 students representing 44 states and 45 countries attend Ohio Wesleyan. More information is available at www.owu.edu.