Internationally-renowned sculpture artist Don Gummer will bring innovation and creativity to Fairfield’s Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery in his exhibition entitled, “The Armature of Emotion.” The Walsh Art Gallery has a history of presenting exhibitions of contemporary artists with some ties to Connecticut, and Gummer fits perfectly into this category due to his home and studio located in upstate Connecticut in Salisbury. The title of the exhibition gets its name from fixtures known as armatures, frameworks that keep forms from collapsing and hold excess or imbalances in check. Gummer’s work is inspired by paradoxical impulses that address concepts such as equilibrium and imbalance, status and flow and muscularity and grace. The fluidity of Gummer’s art can be described as the core for his pieces.

Dr. Linda Wolk-Simon, director and chief curator of the University Museums explains, “The more deeply I look at Don Gummer’s art the more profound, poetic and haunting I find it to be, and it is really meaningful to me as a curator that I can share that assessment with the students of Fairfield and members of the general public who come to see the exhibition.”  

The exhibition will be comprised of painted wood wall reliefs, collages, drawings, watercolors, grisaille encaustic (pigment suspended in hot wax) on paper, as well as earthworks incorporating rock, soil and water. With sculptures made from a variety of materials including stainless steel, aluminum and stained glass, Gummer’s work is able to capture the eye of viewers.

One of the major themes I have tried to pursue in the exhibition is the fluid and essential relationship between his drawings and his sculptures,” said Wolk-Simon.

The exhibition is aimed to attract all types of students who would be fascinated by Gummer’s captivating pieces. Gummer’s unique work encompasses qualities that attracts a variety of viewers.

“Enjoying art is something everyone can engage in, regardless of what he or she is studying or what career path he or she is pursuing,” stated Wolk-Simon. “Art makes us think, it gives us pleasure and it is life-affirming. The creative impulse is almost as old as the human species itself and it is at the core of what it means to be human. I hope everyone will come.”

Being able to display Gummer’s work at Fairfield, students will have the opportunity to view the works of a profound artist.

Wolk-Simon said, “Don Gummer is one of the most renowned contemporary sculptors in the art world. It is a great honor and privilege for us to be showing his extraordinary works on campus. I hope that students in all fields and disciplines will want to come see the show in their very own backyard.”

Students can take away more from the exhibition than simply enjoying the view of astounding artwork. Gummer’s character radiates not only through his work, but also through his person.

Wolk-Simon, who had the opportunity to speak with Gummer himself, explains, “I admire many things about him but one of the qualities I would single out is his work ethic. His message is one that anyone would benefit from taking to heart, and that is that you need to be serious and work hard at what you do.”

Gummer finds that even in his own work that perseverance is required to produce a meaningful piece. When Gummer is constructing a sculpture, he’ll begin with one form, and then he’ll make an addition to shift the flow of the piece and then will have to redirect his work to correct it.

“Gummer offers the advice to be persistent when things don’t always come easily or instantly, and you need to love what you do;” explained Wolk-Simon. “In his case he is talking about the hard work of being an artist, but really that is a universal message: to be good at whatever you do, you need to work hard, be diligent and serious, and like your job. Those are universal ingredients for success.”

The exhibition will open on March 3, and will be available for students and the public to view until June 11. These elaborate pieces, created in a variety of mediums will be sure to astound all those who attend, and students should not miss out on this amazing opportunity to view the works of such a renowned and inspirational artist.

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