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August 12, 2002

Center for Art and Visual Culture presents Maria Elena González: Selected Works 1996 - 2002

Gonzalez artworkUMBC's Center for Art and Visual Culture presents Maria Elena González: Selected Works 1996 - 2002. This exhibition, curated by Renée van der Stelt, features recent sculptures and drawings by emerging artist Maria Elena González, a Cuban-American artist from New York City. The exhibition will also introduce her public sculpture called Magic Carpet/Home, which will be installed in City Springs Park, near five Baltimore public housing projects, in the spring of 2003. An educational outreach program will accompany the exhibition and public sculpture. Maria Elena González has been investigating the possibilities of formal sculpture for over a decade. Her work accesses elements of sculpture while reworking what these elements represent, complicating our interaction with form to evaluate identity, emotion, history and the nature of metaphor. On Thursday, September 12, the artist will speak from 3:30 to 4:30 pm in the Center's Gallery. The opening reception will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

About the Artist
Maria Elena González is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. Her drawings, sculptures and installations combine a minimalist aesthetic with a highly personal content, employing powerful metaphors along the way. The events of her life are seen through unpredictable subjects such as cakes, champagne glasses, baseballs, and flying carpets. Her work focuses on the body and self with the intention of moving between public and private space. She is committed to changing the standard way of looking at art, by eliminating the distance between object and viewer. González incorporates tactile materials, encouraging viewers to do what is often forbidden: touch the art. Her work contains rich and beautiful surfaces such as wood, rubber, lead, tile, feathers, and smoke.

The work of Maria Elena González embraces the traditions of contemporary art, but renews the language of sculpture and expands ideas of community. Like the Minimalists, by whom she was influenced and to whose legacy she responds, she is not a figurative artist; her objects and references are stripped down to essential materials and form. But she rejects the coldness, distance, and emphasis of formal issues of Mimimalism. She aims to humanize the formal rigor of her predecessors through tactility, texture, personal metaphors, humor and implied narrative.

The exhibition was organized to emphasize the idea of a studio visit, and thereby to show the connections between Ms. González's works, to emphasize that the process of creating can be as interesting and as important as the work itself. The drawings, sketches and plans show the development of ideas before and after a sculpture is completed. The sculptures and video documentations of three previous installations show the range of production, and versatility demanded of a contemporary sculptor.

Gonzalez artworkA recent focus of Maria Elena González's work is the Magic Carpet/Home projects. After consultation with the Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as neighborhood organizations and residents, González will install a Magic Carpet/Home sculpture in Baltimore's City Springs Park in spring 2003. Each Magic Carpet/Home replicates the floor plan for a typical neighborhood apartment, printed on the soft black rubber that is used to surface playgrounds. An undulating structure is built to float the "carpet" above the ground. The dimensions of each piece are determined by the square footage of the apartment references. After consulting with Baltimore City's Department of Public Housing, the artist selected a 766 square foot one-bedroom apartment from Douglas Homes as her architectural floor plan for Magic Carpet/Home.

An intensive educational outreach program for four K-12 schools near City Spring Park will commence in September 2002 and will culminate with the Magic Carpet/Home installation in the spring of 2003. A 36-page brochure, containing an interview with the artist and an essay by Mark Alice Durant, associate professor of visual arts, will be available at the Gallery.

González is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, two Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant, the Anonymous Was a Woman grant, and fellowships from Artists' Space and Art Matters. Upcoming exhibitions of her work this year include UN Real Estates, DiversWorks, Houston, Texas, a traveling show of new works; and Mnemonic Architecture at the Bronx Museum of Art, New York City. She has had one-person exhibitions and projects with the Public Art Fund in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn; The Project, New York; Hall Walls, Buffalo, New York; El Museo del Barrio, New York; New York Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn; and Art in General, New York. Her group exhibitions include Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, New York; White Columns, New York; Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, Washington; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Cuban Museum for Art and Culture, Miami, Florida; PS1, Long Island City, New York; and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York.

Gonzalez artworkThe Center for Art and Visual Culture
The Center for Art and Visual Culture (formerly known as the Fine Arts Gallery) is a non-profit gallery space dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art. The CAVC serves as a unique center for students, faculty, and the general public in the visualization and discussion of important philosophical and aesthetic issues of the day. Disciplines represented include painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, imaging and digital arts, video, film, installation and performance.

Since 1989, the CAVC has incorporated a number of public programs into its exhibition programming schedule to further impact the communities it serves. Symposia, lecture series, conferences, film series, visiting artist series, and residencies have all been fundamental in an effort to create an ongoing dialogue about contemporary art and culture. The Center has also initiated a number of projects with Baltimore and surrounding schools systems to integrate the contemporary artist and their concerns into the classroom. These projects take place on-site at both middle schools and high schools and are team taught by the instructors at these schools, professional artists, and students from the CAVC's Internship Program.

Currently the Center produces one to two exhibition catalogues each year. Each document is fully illustrated and contains critical essays on the given subject by a variety of distinguished professionals in the field. With the printing of Minimal Politics: Performativity and Minimalism in Recent American Art in 1997, the CAVC inaugurated a new series of publications entitled Issues in Cultural Theory. These catalogues are published yearly and are distributed internationally through Distributed Publishers in New York.

Since 1992, the Center for Art and Visual Culture has actively pursued the organization of exhibitions that contain the aesthetic, theoretical, and educational potential to reach both a national and international audience. Over the years, the CAVC has traveled these exhibition projects to a broad spectrum of museums, professional non-profit galleries, and universities national and internationally. These traveling exhibitions include:

  • Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations (2001)
  • Adrian Piper: A Retrospective (1999)
  • Bruno Monguzzi: A Designer's Perspective (1998)
  • Minimal Politics (1997)
  • Kate Millet, Sculpture: The First 38 Years (1997)
  • Layers: Contemporary Collage from St. Petersburg, Russia (1995/96)
  • Notes In Time: Leon Golub and Nancy Spero (1995)
  • Ciphers of Identity (1994)
  • Nancy Graves: Recent Works (1993)
  • Environmental Terror (1992)

Beyond the scope of these traveling exhibitions, the Center for Art and Visual Culture also undertakes an exhibition schedule that includes a Faculty Biennial, and projects such as the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership. As part of the educational mission of the CAVC, one graduate thesis exhibition and one undergraduate senior exhibition are scheduled on a yearly basis.

This multi-faceted focus for presenting exhibitions, projects and scholarly research publications focused on contemporary art and cultural issues positions the Center for Art and Visual Culture in a unique position within the mid-Atlantic region.

Hours of Operation
Sunday: CLOSED
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday 10 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Wednesday: 10 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Thursday: 10 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Friday: 10 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Saturday: 10 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

CAVC offices: (410) 455-3188
UMBC Artsline (24 hour recorded message): (410) 455-ARTS
Media inquiries only: (410) 455-3370

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From Baltimore and points north, proceed south on I-95 to exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Fine Arts Building.

From I-695, take Exit 12C (Wilkens Avenue) and continue one-half mile to the entrance of UMBC at the roundabout intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Hilltop Road. Turn left and follow signs to the Fine Arts Building.

From Washington and points south, proceed north on I-95 to Exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Fine Arts Building.

Daytime metered visitor parking is available in Lot 10, near the Administration Building. Visitor parking regulations are enforced on all University calendar days. Hilltop Circle and all campus roadways require a parking permit unless otherwise marked.

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Posted by dwinds1 at August 12, 2002 12:00 AM