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Semyon Faibisovich, one of the artists displaying their work in the traveling exhibition Remembrance: Russian Post-Modern Nostalgia at the Grossman Gallery of the Williams Visual Arts Building on North Third Street, is interacting with professors and students during a campus residency that began yesterday and concludes tomorrow.

He also will give a public lecture noon today in Williams Center for the Arts room 108, meet with the public 7 p.m. today at the Grossman Gallery, and hold a master workshop 1-3 p.m. tomorrow at the gallery, where he will demonstrate his techniques.

A compilation of works by renowned Russian artists, Remembrance is one of three exhibitions in the Grossman Gallery that explores the artistic expression of the struggle with national identity and human security issues in the global context as part of the class of 2009’s First-Year Experience program.

Curated by Alexandre Gertsman, founder and president of the International Foundation of Russian and Eastern European Art, Remembrance explores the complex role of nostalgia in the search for national identity in post-communist Russia. Appearing at the gallery from Sept. 2-Oct. 29, it includes works by Grisha Bruskin, Eric Burlatov, Faibisovich, Rimma Gerliovina, Valeriy Gerlovin, Komar & Melamid, Natalya Nesterova, Leonid Sokov, and others.

This exhibition encourages students, faculty, and the public to contemplate “the various freedoms we experience in America – and the limitations as well,” says Jim Toia, director of the Grossman Gallery. “We cannot ponder these questions without examining other societies, their range of freedoms and ability to express themselves. Remembrance witnesses Russian artists’ gradual movement towards a freer, democratic society in the late 20th century, both within their own country and as many moved to the West. The works range from nostalgic pauses to moments of fierce indictment, sometimes within the same work of art. The exhibition opens up a dialogue and promotes questioning versus imposing a hierarchy of ideas.”

Remembrance debuted in summer 2003 at Yeshiva University Museum in New York City and has traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe. The collection of works evokes the current plightof modern Russian social culture and mindset. It represents blended visions of the past, present, and the future, a struggle between reality and legend, and an escape from the grasp of failed ideologies while embracing a legacy.

An opening reception was held Sept. 8 in the Grossman Gallery.

A native and resident of Moscow, Faibisovich graduated from Moscow Institute of Architecture in 1972. He started his career in graphic design and later began exhibiting his graphic artwork and paintings. Faibisovich’s works have exhibited extensively in the U.S. and Eastern Europe and are found in museum collections in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Russia. Faibisovich’s pieces are also part of private collections in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Russia.

His techniques combine 19th century Russian realism with American photojournalism to create raw portraits. His intent is not to convey a sociological message, but rather to present the reality and leave the message for his audience to construe.

Subsequent exhibits include Limits on Freedom: Art of Taiwan Today, Nov. 4-Jan 28, curated by locally-based Taiwanese artist Wei Jane Chir, featuring three Taiwanese artists and their struggle for free expression in the face of governmental limitations, and Imprints and Artifacts, Feb.11-April 1 (tentative), presenting conceptual artist Diane Samuels, a Pittsburgh native whose work explores how generations removed from the Holocaust live in rural Buttenhausen and Grafeneck, southern Germany.

Directed by internationally known abstract painter Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp II ’36 Professor of Art, the 23,500-square-foot Williams Visual Arts Building is one of the leading high-tech facilities for art education and exhibitions in the nation. It includes sculpture and painting studios, a community-based teaching studio, the Grossman Gallery, a flexible studio area with movable walls for honors and independent study students, a seminar room, a conference room, and faculty studios and offices. Honors students, faculty, and visiting professional artists work together with area high school and adult art students through the Community-Based Teaching Program led by Toia.

The building was recognized for excellence in design quality with the Silver Medal from the Pennsylvania chapter of The American Institute of Architects, the highest award given by the organization. It was chosen from a pool of applications by 100 practicing architects in Pennsylvania. It also received the Adaptive Reuse Award from the Easton Heritage Alliance.

Gallery hours are 10-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, contact the Grossman Gallery at 610-330-5831.

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