Sculptor Jon Laustsen, an artist based in Rhode Island, is showcasing his unique artwork in the University of Rhode Island’s Art Gallery through Nov. 6.
Laustsen’s exhibitions, entitled “Interior Perspectives”, are open-ended structures made of wood, paint, modeling clay, wire, joint compound and concrete. He explained that his ideas for this project stemmed from scaffolding outside and repairing brick at a construction side. From above, he saw all of the pallets of materials that were ready for use in miniature.
As a sculptor, Laustsen was already working with concrete and wood, so he imagined house-like structures in full scale. He realized that the seven or eight acres he would need to create a piece wasn’t attainable, so he decided to shrink his idea. The pieces he created were large enough that the materials mattered and viewers could see how they were constructed.
“This exhibition is one I’ve been looking long for,” Laustsen said. “It’s a transition between a body of work I’ve done for 10 years and where I’m headed for the future, which is wide open. I’m very fascinated and excited about that.”
Laustsen said that he has taken a lot of new risks and choices in materials for these pieces, but as a material-based artist he derives a lot of his ideas from subject matter and the content of various materials. He said that construction has been the background for a lot of his work and his most recent pieces have been the tail-end of that body of work.
Currently, Laustsen resides in Pawtucket where he has his own studio, but he is teaching at URI for the semester. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Art from Bethel University and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions, including the Soap Factory in Minnesota, Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Florida and the David Winton Bell Gallery and AS220 in Providence. He recently earned his third fellowship from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts in 2014.
URI Art Professor and URI Main Gallery Coordinator Bob Dilworth said that there are three galleries per semester in the Fine Arts Center. The first exhibit of the semester was the Art Faculty Biennial, which took place on Sept. 30. The university’s Department of Art and Art History professors showcased their own work, and their next show will not be held until 2017.
The last show of the school year, set to take place next semester, is an annual exhibit that showcases the “best of the best” from the URI Art Studio Program. Dilworth said students in the art or art history departments can submit their work, which must be presented in a professional way. The department invites an outside judge to select from the submitted works. At the show, prizes are given out and there are four awards presented.
Dilworth said that they do not announce the juror until January, but the department looks for a juror in the surrounding area who is either a painter, sculptor, printmaker or photographer. He said that each year the juror varies, as well as their artistic taste, but each juror weighs a lot of their decision on presentation. Dilworth explained how this gallery helps students see what it’s like to be asked to present their work in the “professional world.”
Alike Laustsen, many artists are showcased at URI’s Art Gallery each year. Dilworth said that the gallery is non-profit as well as noncommercial and over the years, has a distinguished reputation.
“The gallery serves South County in a big way,” Dilworth said. “It’s one of the largest galleries in the area and features some of the best artists in Rhode Island.”
Laustsen’s show is currently ongoing in URI’s Art Gallery through Nov. 6 on Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is free and open to the public. For more information on Laustsen’s work, visit https://jonlaustsen.wordpress.com/. URI’s Art Gallery updates can be found at http://events.uri.edu/group/art_and_art_history_department.