Meet the Artists
Natalia Arbelaez’s work researches undervalued histories, such as Latin American, Amerindian and Women of Color. She works with how these identities are lost through conquest, migration and time, gained through family, culture and exploration, and passed down through tradition, preservation and genetic memory. Works exhibited are influenced by Peruvian Moche Pre-Columbian vessels and the symbolism of river rituals.
Connected ear to ear, check to check, temple to puddle – Soojin Choi’s head sculptures present figures in moments of interplay. Where they meet and touch, and just as notable where they don’t, evoke a range of emotions often unresolved and confused. Eyes that don’t meet, gazes averted, lend the figures to emote internal emotions as well as external. Choi’s interest in ambivalence points to the gray areas of being human — things unsettling or uncertain. The artist recounts unsettled situations as an invitation for the viewers to encounter empathetically the emotions of the human forms. Notable for the subtlety in their expressions, the surfaces of the works are muted in color, soft in their brush work, and arresting in their sturdy introspection.
Dolores Furtado is a sculptor who creates work that focuses on materiality. She uses technical research and experimentation to create forms that expose the unique qualities of her materials and views her sculptures as the documentation of process and action. Working with formlessness, the material is exposed in a raw naked way: Matter becomes body. The works originate from basic shapes, roughly manipulated, so that their angles and edges disappear. The initial geometry is lost in an organic deformity. These sculptures highlight Furtado’s process, through tactile marks, scratches, and object-based prints.
Neon knots, ceramic figures, and cast-glass heads lean, reach, bend and fall, contorted or disfigured gesturing simultaneous death and transformation. Micaela Amateau Amato's series of cast leaded glass busts and figures explore her specific family origins and the broader origins of human culture. Evoking the historical romance of ancient cultures including Greece and Egypt, along with the cultures of Mesopotamia’s Fertile Crescent and the Near East, Amato derives inspiration from the weight of history. From a young age, Amato developed a respect for patterns of living and healing that connected her to her Spanish, Jewish heritage. Her ancestors were expelled from Spain in 1492 and scattered over the Mediterranean basin where they maintained their particular Sephardic customs.
Kris Grey is a State College-based, gender-queer artist whose cultural work includes curatorial projects, performance, writing, and studio production. The series of ceramics on view in "Human Expectations II" use the casting process to multiply interchangeable parts from a mold. The cast and altered porcelain pieces are hybrid, sculptural, forms that reference body and organ, tool and toy. Interrogating the economy and connotations of gendered objects and the relationships between gender and power, these works produce an aesthetic of cultural critique and potential for play and joy, questioning why we use things, why we don’t use things, and how we act.
Cropped bodies, in respite, absent of parts yet simultaneously present, Lilly Zuckerman’s figurative works are an intimate scale- much smaller than actual size yet large enough to be held with two arms. Made as a response to grief, the artist calls forward memory to reconstruct what has passed. Using emotional and muscle recollection to piece together a still scene, their specificity, their personhood, also holds an ambiguity. Self-portraits of the artist’s body, feet and extremities become elongated and exceedingly small as they trace away from the core of the torso. Expressing impacts of her mother’s Alzheimer’s on herself, these portraits consider where knowledge, feelings and intentions locate, moving from the brain and head, heart and torso, to the gut and belly, the legs and feet.
"Human Expectations" is viewable in the HUB-Robeson Center display cases and online through Jan. 31. The exhibition utilizes ceramic, neon and glass to approach the form of the human head as a map or apparition, expressing systems of knowing, disruption and social difference. Working from their interests, stories and origins, the artists consider the limitations and possibilities of human expectations — their ignorance, perceptual limitations and potentially, their magic.
"Human Expectations II" is viewable in the HUB-Robeson Center display cases and online through June 20. The works embody a search for expression and experience through material, with each symbolic form paying tribute to both life and death.
The HUB-Robeson Galleries is a unit in Penn State Student Affairs. For more information on this and other exhibitions or events, contact HUB-Robeson Galleries at 814-865-2563, or visit the website. Keep up to date with HUB-Robeson Galleries by signing up for the Listserv or follow the galleries on Instagram, @hubrobesongalleries.