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Robert Hower: Personal Space-Universal Space

Calm, 2010, by Robert HowerHANCOCK, MI – “Robert Hower: Personal Space-Universal Space” will be featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, September 12 to October 16, 2013.

An opening reception will take place at the gallery Thursday, September 12, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  Robert Grame, Finlandia asssociate professor of graphic design, will present a talk about Hower’s work.  The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

How do our youthful perceptions and interactions with the world shape us?  How do we carry forward our interactions with culture, space, form, and light?

Robert Hower’s work addresses what is essential and fundamental in our experiences of space, time, and our physical and psychological environments. Through the interplay of form and light, interpreted through the lens of our associations, Hower’s work reveals the poetry of place.

“Growing up, I think that each one of us has unique experiences that affect how we relate to the physical and psychological world. I grew up in a house that was very small; my mother was born in the home; and my grandfather built the home. And so, my awareness of that space is keen and clear,” says Hower.  “The essence of the light and space captured in that environment was very powerful and unique. I think that on a very basic level we all have similar formative conditions and experiences.”

Hower uses these formative childhood experiences with his environment to inform his artistic vocabulary.  His work incorporates form, shape, light, memory, sensory perception, architecture, science, and language, and is informed by culture and human perception.

“As an individual living today, displaced from the neighborhood I grew up in 40 years ago, I can still remember the four-block area where I grew up; I can still see the fences, the lighting that revealed all that existed, and the people who lived in the homes on the streets that created the neighborhood,” notes Hower.  “As we grow, we tend to want to experience the world, how light may be unique or similar, how people may be different or the same, how structures and dwellings compare.”

Stephen Lapthisophon, an artist and educator working in the field of conceptual art, critical theory, and disability studies, has written about Hower’s use of form in his work: “The function of form in our moment needs to be re-established as a value for our decision making process. We learn through form and are better able to grasp the meaning of our moment. This is the exchange we make between ourselves and others in an attempt to find commonality and purpose. Form allows us to have a common language of experience and a place where we can share it. We delight in the mysteries of perception and its elusive power of revelation.”

Hower received his bachelor of fine arts from the University of Nebraska in Omaha, and his master of fine arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  He is professor and chair of the Art and Art History Departments at the University of Texas-Arlington.

Hower has exhibited and presented his work in numerous juried, invitational, and one-person formats. These include a one-person exhibition in October 2012 at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; and shows at the Glasgow School of Art, Minnesota Museum of Art, Joslyn Art Museum, the Houston Center for Photography, and the Ward-Nasse Gallery-N.Y.C.

Hower’s major presentations and interactive projects include Videotex National Conference, N.Y.C. (Videotex User Interface); Alliances IV-National Parks Conference, Denver (New Technology/Design); Media World Conference 94-ED and Imaging the Past with Computer Graphics, The British Museum, London (The Interactive Design Studio).

Professor Hower has worked on numerous national and regional design activities that include the following organizations and companies: U. S. National Park Service, the Nature Conservancy, the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum, the Coleman Company, the Chase Manhattan Bank, Cox Communications, Warner-Ishee, U.S. Army, Warner Brothers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, San Diego State University, Viewmart Inc. Minneapolis, the Avalon Group/the Mesa Verde Museum Association, and the National Science Foundation.

Hower’s artwork is included in the permanent collection of the City Design School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing. Some of the pieces from the CAFA collection are included in the exhibit at the Finlandia University Gallery.

His work is also included in collections including the Minnesota Museum of American Art and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

“Personal Space-Universal Space” will be on display through October 16, 2013.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by appointment.

Photo Cutline:

Photo 1: Calm, 2010, Lenticular Lens, 11″ x 14″