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The Williams Center art gallery will open its 2001-2002 season with Timepieces, an exhibition of gravity-defying, complex sculptures by the late Nancy Graves showing Sept. 4-Oct. 14.

The six pieces in the gallery were created through collaboration between Graves and Saff Tech Arts of Oxford, Md., in 1991 and 1992. Founder Donald J. Saff and his staff worked closely with Graves in the fabrication of the sculptures.

Graves is best known for her bronze sculptures, although she also made paintings, prints, films, and stage designs. For her early sculpture she cast natural objects such as leaves, fruits, and vegetables along with domestic items such as scissors directly in bronze. These elements were then welded together and chemically patinated, painted, and enameled in bold colors.

The Timepieces series were constructed from a large inventory of natural and manmade forms– architectural fragments, anatomical models, and marine and plant life– cast not only in bronze, but in aluminum, paper, polyurethane resin, polyester resin and fiberglass as well. These elements were also given a richly colored patina. Art critic Joan Simon wrote about these works in 1992 that Graves’ sculpture asserts “new improbabilities of luminosity and structural supports, temporal and spatial weights and balances, and tantalizing juxtapositions of quotidian reference with art historical resonance.” Three pieces, including the spectacular Unending Revolution of Venus, Plants, and Pendulum, Shadowy Vortex, and Screaming in Birds also contain moving clockwork elements, gears, pendulum, and counterweights, which result in ever changing sculpture.

The Timepieces, watercolors related to Unending Revolution of Venus, Plants and Pendulum, and photographs of Grave’s working at Saff Tech Arts are loaned courtesy of Saff Tech Arts, Inc.

Graves grew up in Pittsfield, Mass., where her father was an assistant director of the Berkshire Museum. It was at the museum where she had her first exposure to paleontology, archeology, and natural history collections that later influenced her work.. She received bachelors and masters degrees in fine arts from the School of Art and Architecture, Yale University. Her work is represented in collections in the United States and Europe. Graves died in 1995.

The gallery is located in the Williams Center for the Arts, located at the corner of Hamilton and High streets on the main Lafayette campus.

Gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and
Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday; and 2-5 p.m. Sunday, and before public performances in the Williams Center. For more information, call the gallery at 610-330-5361 or email exhibitions are free and open to the public.

The exhibition series is presented under provisions of the Detwiller Endowment. The gallery is funded in part through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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