Exhibit moves through time and space



UNI Gallery of Art presents “An Art Collection Travelogue,” a unique display of cultural backgrounds represented through a creative selection of art pieces. The exhibition runs from Jan. 14 through Mar. 2.


Upon walking into an art gallery, visitors are greeted by various objects of different mediums and styles. Even though they’re contained within the same room, each work offers its own narrative. Two people viewing the same painting may have different interpretations of its meaning. Each person’s culture and background influence who they are and how they create and perceive art.

The UNI Gallery of Art is displaying an array of such aforementioned cultures in its latest exhibit, “An Art Collection Travelogue,” on display now through Saturday, March 2.

“I would describe it as an exhibition that addresses the local, the national and the international,” said Darrell Taylor, gallery director and curator of the exhibit. “That’s basically what I mean by travelogue; it’s kind of a movement through time and space. That movement always begins where you are, so we began with the local and we moved through other cultures from there.”

According to Taylor, the first things viewers will see when entering the gallery are the tapa cloths from the Polynesian island of Tonga, followed by an installation on the back wall, ‘Paper Border’ by Paul Valadez.

“[Valadez] actually lives on the border between Texas and Mexico; he has that heritage as well. He spent at least 365 days or more making daily drawings of that landscape and his emotions responding to that landscape […] and we filled the entire back wall with those images, so that’s very powerful as you walk in.”

According to Taylor, this exhibit differs from previous exhibits at UNI due to its unique emphasis on travel. The word “travelogue” was used to imply a journey in which you travel to many places around the world.

Taylor believes every experience in an art museum should have a narrative to it. Even though each viewer will have their own unique interpretation, he believes the journey itself is what counts.

However, bringing these stories to life wasn’t without its challenges.

“The ‘Paper Border’ is 349 individual pages that you have to organize into a grid, and that was difficult to figure out,” Taylor said.

“The Mary Frisbee Johnson drawings are enormous, so, I had to have help. We had to do a lot of measuring to make them fit in the gallery.”

Taylor was faced with another challenge when he found himself filling the empty spaces between the larger pieces in the exhibit so each piece flowed seamlessly into the next.

He said that as he assembled this exhibition, he discovered an unexpected aspect of the works he had chosen. Many of the pieces he picked were extremely colorful, which came as a surprise to him. The colors of the art played a major role in how each piece was positioned in the exhibition.

While Taylor had a big hand in putting together the exhibition, he didn’t put it together alone.

“The gallery staff is composed of students,” he said. “When I need to install a grand exhibition or a difficult-to-install work of art, I have to call in students to assist me. When that happens, students are getting museum experience. I like to tout that because in some cases this is the first experience that a student will have before they go out into the wider world. It’s possible that this will give them a leg up when they’re looking for work after graduation.”

Once people have visited the gallery, Taylor hopes they will realize the full scope of UNI’s art collection. It contains over 4,000 pieces, and no two pieces are the same. Even with the 50 or so pieces on display, there is always more to see. Taylor said that this diversity of style and cultural infuluence is what inspired him to showcase works from around the world. Artists from all across the globe have a story to tell, and the gallery space is meant to bring them together.

The UNI Gallery of Art is free to the public. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday.