New arrivals at the Miller Gallery

The Regina Gouger Miller Gallery has recently seen some changes, both in its exhibits and its staff. A new exhibit, TRANSIT 2008, opened on Feb. 29. Apart from the installation of the new exhibit, the Miller Gallery has also recently hired a new director, Astria Suparak.

Known for her work at Syracuse University’s Warehouse Gallery, where she curated exhibits such as COME ON: Desire Under the Female Gaze in 2007, Suparak will succeed interim director Petra Fallaux. Suparak’s appointment was effective from March 1.

“I look forward to leading the Miller Gallery into its next phase, as a vital component of Pittsburgh’s flourishing cultural life,” Suparak stated in a Feb. 15 press release. “I envision dynamic collaborations with other local, national, and international organizations, bridging diverse communities across the campus, the city, and the art world at large.”

The gallery also welcomes visitors to view its new exhibit. Succeeding Plastic Poetics is TRANSIT 2008, a cross-cultural exchange featuring a variety of works from Kyoto University of Art & Design, Nagoya Zokei University of Art & Design, Tokyo Zokei University, and Carnegie Mellon University. The exhibit had its opening reception on Friday, Feb. 29.

TRANSIT 2008 is a reciprocal exhibit, as it features Japanese art in America, while the exchange’s previous exhibits were held in Nagoya, Kyoto, and Tokyo and featured American art. It reflects the collaboration between the universities and encourages cultural recognition and diversity.

“It was very nice to see how the schools have come together to show their dynamic collaboration in one room,” said Zahra Ahmed, a first-year art major.

The exhibit includes sculptures, paintings, printmaking, drawings, photographs, and videos, spanning across all the three floors of the gallery. The first floor houses different artistic videos by the student artists. The videos can be seen on individual television screens and as projections on the wall. There is also a separate area where a large screen has been constructed and different videos are displayed.

One of the videos on the television is of a woman applying makeup. As the film progresses, she begins to get messier, and eventually smears the makeup all over her face. Another video is of a person creating a chain of star-shaped links by meticulously connecting them one by one.

The artists found ideas for their videos from different places. Julia Stein (she goes by the artist name of “Juliacks”), a senior creative writing and art major from Carnegie Mellon, was inspired by a graphic novel to create a video entitled To have with my eggs.
“It is about a moment in a graphic novel about rage and anger and it cycles through [that moment],” she said, describing her video.

The second and third floors have paintings, drawings, and photographs on the walls, along with sculpture and models in different corners. One wall is covered with black and white pictures of objects spinning, and is titled “Rotation Body,” created by Masao Takenaka of Kyoto University of Art & Design. Another exhibit is a collection of three paintings called “The Shade of Trees I, II, III” by Fumiko Miwa of Nagoya Zokei University of Art & Design. These paintings are in vivid orange and depict beautifully drawn women under trees.

One piece that is especially interesting and simultaneously funny is “Untitled flow chart” by Carnegie Mellon senior art and creative writing major Michael L. Pisano. This piece is a long and inventive flow chart, beginning with “Japan” and proceeding through various connections, finally ending in “Pen is dying.”

The exhibit also has different moving models. One called “Propelled Flesh,” by Rexy Tang of Carnegie Mellon, consists of a mechanical arm that rotates continuously, pulling along a flesh-colored piece of material. This piece aims to contrast the unrelenting and mechanical nature of machines to the more understanding nature of humans.

Another interesting exhibit called “From whence it came,” created by Carnegie Mellon senior art major Emily K. Berezin, consists of plates with slices of bread and bologna on them.

Misato Kuroda, a student of Kyoto University of Art & Design, has taken different photos of a young man, titled “Temperature.”

“Time doesn’t stop, but photos can stop time. [The man in the photographs] is not my boyfriend but I loved him and I wanted to stop time when I was with him,” she said.

On the whole, the exhibition displayed an impressive collection of art from all of the contributing universities. What set the exhibition apart was the fusion of Japanese and American culture, clearly portrayed through the art.

“I think this is an interesting precedent to collaboration between CMU and universities abroad. I hope that in the future there are more possibilities to, not just study abroad, but to exchange work,” said Laura Miller, a senior ethics, history and public policy major at Carnegie Mellon who attended the exhibit’s opening.