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Faculty art exhibit showcases OSU’s best in video games, photography

Department of Art Faculty Exhibition,' which is currently on display at the OSU Urban Arts Space. It is scheduled to be on display through Dec. 9, 2011.

Nestled against a dim, abandoned wall hangs a large flat-screen television with a joystick stationed in front of it. A weightless gem-like pattern transmitting an ambient glow from the screen hypnotizes spectators, provoking them to step forward to pull the trigger.

This is one of the ultramodern ways that visitors are engaged at the “Down on Town: Department of Art Faculty Exhibition,” located at the Ohio State Urban Arts Space, located at 50 W. Town St.

Shane Mecklenburger, an OSU Department of Art faculty member, said he has always been captivated by how individuals value certain things in their lives, particularly video games.

“I wanted to create my own first-person shooter game as an expression of how conflict plays into what society values,” Mecklenburger said. “I think conflict and value are tied up with each other in ways that we don’t think about.”

The Tesoro-ee 1.0 (Fortress of Solitude), created by Mecklenburger, allows users to wield a joystick to navigate through an expansive 3-D environment — inspired by Superman’s lair — while creating and destroying an imaginary wealth of spinning gems, which is representative of the intangible treasure one receives while playing a video game.

Mecklenburger said it’s the first time he has shown his work to the OSU community and faculty.

“It’s been a great opportunity to see the work of my fellow faculty,” Mecklenburger said. “It has been a great honor to share my work with them and the Columbus community.”

“Down on Town” is comprised of works from 24 contemporary artists on the OSU Department of Art faculty.

Leigh Lotocki, OSU graduate and communications coordinator for the Urban Arts Space, said the faculty doesn’t show its work together very often.

“This is only the second time this decade that the Department of Art faculty has shown their art together in an exhibition as a cohesive unit,” Lotocki said. “It’s rare that you get to see a show like this. It’s been a great experience seeing how the art is based from their interests and how they show themselves through their work.”

All disciplines within the Department of Art are represented. The works range from interactive installations, glass sculptures, paintings, drawings and photography, showcasing the faculty’s research and all of its various stages it shows itself in.

Ken Rinaldo used his creative genius to highlight societies growing use of public surveillance through his Paparazzi Bots, where digital cameras with motion sensors that snap pictures of visitors walking by.

Michele Wood, a first-year in art education, said Rinaldo’s robotics piece really spoke to her.

“The idea of the robots is interesting, but the social commentary behind it was the most intriguing part,” Wood said. “As human beings we’re under the microscope every day. He puts an interesting spin on how we’ve transformed into a society where we constantly have cameras on us documenting our lives.”

“The Down on Town: Department of Art Faculty Exhibition” will be on display through Dec. 9.

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