University Art Gallery hosts exhibit by Mark Rumsey

Object of Consumption: “Disguise,” 2021 (left) and Object of Consumption: “Console,” 2020 (right). Vanguard Photographer | Sarah Brege

The University Art Gallery is hosting Mark Rumsey’s exhibit, “Objects of Consumption.”

The exhibit consists of elements cast from packaging materials that came from objects of consumption.

Rumsey will be giving a public lecture about his exhibit 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28.

Fourteen pieces were on display in the exhibit made from foam, paint, flocking and composition gold leaf.

They were titled “Greener Grass,” “Aschenbecher 1970,” “Actuator,” “Spores,” “Regulators,” “iRock,” “Disguise,” “Console,” “Remnant,” “Hull,” “Distention,” “Absorbing Light,” “Basking” and “Container Wall”.

The largest item in the exhibit was the Container Wall, which is around the size of the side of a shipping container, measuring 8.5 feet by 20 feet.

Sara Clark is a studio art technician and gallery coordinator for the University Art Gallery who also serves as an art instructor. She said the theme surrounding consumption stood out to her.

“For many reasons, I am acutely aware of the materiality of world,” Clark said. “I am not a big consumer, but I also don’t throw anything away. I spend most of my time trying to figure out what to do with everything. I appreciate a well-designed, sturdy box, and my field requires me to have a lot of packing material at the ready, so Rumsey’s concept is interesting to me.”

Clark also said this exhibit is highly relevant in 2021 with the onslaught of the pandemic and the impact it had on our consumer habits.

“With COVID and all the online shopping that took place, and the fact that now these containers are stuck out at sea, it is relevant to see the scale of waste and contemplate how it can be repurposed into beautiful tactile objects,” she said. ”Beyond that, art is uplifting, and the gallery space is beautiful, and you can hear your own thoughts as you meander through the sculptures.”

Rumsey, the artist behind the exhibit itself, said he did not have a favorite or least- favorite piece on display.

“Each piece offered me unique challenges in production; some lent themselves to an end with ease, some caused me to struggle,” he said. “Either way, each piece has given me some sense of satisfaction both in the making process and in its final result.

Rumsey said his inspiration for the exhibit stems from his experiences with the world around him.

“I had a job purchasing luxury products for wealthy clients,” he said. “When fragile items arrived, I would open and inspect them for any potential damage. I often found myself more interested in the packaging materials than the objects themselves. I started to collect the packaging materials and began exploring potential uses for them in my studio.”

Rumsey said that art making is about creating experiences, and such experiences are part of what he wants visitors to take away with them.

“As an artist, I attempt to craft a framework for such experiences, which I present in the exhibition,” he said. “There are two very different experiences that are on display that are tied together by common content and mode of production. What can be taken away by a viewer is dependent on the viewer’s desire to engage with the objects and the proposed purpose of their existence.”

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