By Josh Herring
An exhibition of Kati Toivanen’s digitally composed photography is currently on display at The Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery. “Transmutations,” as Toivanen calls it, scatters the gallery’s walls and walkways with an innovative collage of aesthetically mystifying images.
Toivanen’s exhibition opened on Thursday, Sept. 4, at which the artist herself appeared. Upon entering the visually puzzling presentation, one is overwhelmed with a sense of wonder. According to the gallery’s director, Karen Stanford, over 200 students and members of the Kutztown community shared this experience on the opening night.
“Students at the reception wanted to know what the photographs were pictures of and they seemed very intrigued by her techniques,” said Stanford. Also on opening night, Toivanen presented a speech where she revealed some of the elements in the images, such as melted gummy bears, glass vases, grapes, fake flowers and miscellaneous thrift store items.
Among the photographs were also interactive pieces that students were permitted to handle, as well as a video projection, all which incorporate similar elements and techniques. “The exhibition is very soft,” said Stanford. “Her video is soothing to watch and you can recognize the imagery from the work in the frames.”
Originally, Toivanen applied for the Artist in Residency project, but the position was given to Hannah Bertram. “We were intrigued by Toivanen’s ideas and asked her to have a solo exhibition instead,” said Stanford. “Her work’s mysterious imagery as well as her play with scale was interesting to us and we wanted to see more.”
“Transmutations” will be featured at the Miller gallery until Sunday, Oct. 5. The following exhibit will be a large, multi-faceted show called “Engage: Color, Ritual, and Material Studies,” opening on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. According to Stanford, the exhibit will feature ten artists; one from Africa and nine from around the country, who will show how they “use color, ritual and material manipulation both in their own practice and in their teaching.”
Co-sponsored by the Art Education department and curated by professor Michael Radyck, “Engage” will conclude on Friday, Nov. 21. There will be a workshop conference that “will provide the opportunity for K-12 teachers, academics, researchers, artists, designers and students to exchange ideas and participate in a day long engagement with the art.”
Also, in January, the gallery will be constructing an exhibition with Michael Covello, the 2015 Artist in Residency. According to Stanford, volunteers are currently needed to help him produce prints in order to supplement a mixed media installation.
The Miller Gallery hosts five exhibitions every year: three for professionally working artists all around the world, and two for graduating students. “It presents students with the opportunity to see the work of professional artists in person and visit a world class space for free,” said Stanford. “The gallery committee, consisting of myself and members of the arts faculty, is looking for artists with established careers, feasible projects and great, thought-provoking work.”
The gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. More information on the exhibitions at the Miller Gallery can be found at http://www.kutztown.edu/acad/artgallery.