Reflections primordial emanate from the wall constructions on exhibit in Tiffin University's Diane Kidd Gallery of Art. About 40 people attended a public reception Thursday evening as Michgan artist Robert Mirek spoke about his work.
"Strands: Recent Works by Robert S. Mirek" is to be on display until Nov. 25. Mirek said the exhibition includes 42 pieces, but the "Strands" series has more than 60 components and continues to expand as new ideas emerge. He has been working on the series for more than two years.
"It's pumice acrylic over a laminated plywood form with automotive glass fragments and epoxy resin in the core," Mirek said. "The automotive glass is material I get from a windshield company by giving them a dozen doughnuts when I walk in there."
The natural colors and volcanic textures add a primitive element to the art. The pumice comes from the Golden Paint company. Mirek said it is added to acrylic paint to give it more body and texture. When the glass fragments are combined with the resin, the mixture takes on the green color that can be seen in the centers of the vertical sculptures.
The viewer can interpret the pieces in a number of ways. The artist said the objects have human, geologic, mythic or universal elements. Mirek likes to think of the green area as the "nucleus" of the piece. Each resembles a micro-organism, a cross-section or a puzzle piece that fits into something larger.
"I don't think of them as complete forms. That's why I call them 'strands.' They are parts of a whole," Mirek said. "I think of them on a microcosm scale. I also think of them on a macrocosm scale, like architectural models or landscape architectural models. They could be land forms, water shapes, or green spaces."
The artist has been creating art for about 35 years. Mirek received a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and internationally, and has been included in private, corporate and museum collections. He also has taught at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit and at Lawrence Technological University's College of Architecture and Design in Southfield, Mich.
Although he has done mostly paintings, he recently decided to try three-dimensional art after someone told him, "Sculpture is what you bump into when you step back to look at a painting."
At the reception, Mirek explained each piece in "Strands" begins with a drawing that is used to construct the plywood base. Then Mirek coats the base with pumice and fills in the cavities with the glass/resin mixture. Mirek said each piece takes four to five weeks to complete. He tends to work in series because he needs more than one piece to present an idea. The series ends when the ideas cease.
"The one thing I generally know is, there usually isn't just one piece, because I really can't say everything I need to say. I need to work in series," Mirek said. "I just try to keep my brain open and try to get them down and keep a bunch of drawings."
More information about Mirek and his work is available at www.robertmirek.com.
Admission to the Diane Kidd Gallery is free. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and by appointment. Group tours are also available. For more information about tours or special viewings, call Celinda Scherger at (419) 448-3313.