Delighting Ear & Eye
Anthony Luensman brings his ingenious installations to his alma materGAMBIER, Ohio (October 1, 2003) The inventive, whimsically eloquent sound sculptures of Anthony Luensman come to Kenyon this month in an exhibit that evokes the artist's years as a student at the College while showcasing the innovative paths he has followed since he graduated. The exhibit, called "Eolian," offers a fine introduction to the boundless imagination and technical ingenuity of the Cincinnati-based artist, whose installations incorporate original musical instruments and sound devices, together with striking visual elements.
"Eolian" runs in Kenyon's Olin Art Gallery from October 2 through November 2. Luensman, a summa cum laude art major who graduated from the College in 1988, will present a slide lecture about his work on Thursday, October 16, at 7:30 p.m. in Olin Auditorium.
"Ears and eyes work in tandem," Luensman has written of his creative process. His sculptural assemblages, which have been called "jingling, jangling, hands-on, and heads-up," reflect his many talents. He sculpts, paints, plays saxophone and flute, rewires circuitry, and composes music and verse. The result is a body of work that is, in one critic's words, "simultaneously sculpture, painting, action, performance, environment, soundtrack, literature."
Over the past seven years, Luensman's diverse talents have frequently found an outlet in the Saw Theater, a Cincinnati-based performance ensemble that produces multimedia works and puppet theater. He is the co-artistic and managing director of the group. The theatrical impulse is also evident in gallery and museum pieces created for venues such as the Contemporary Arts Center and the Weston Art Gallery/Aronoff Center for the Arts, both in Cincinnati, and the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California.
In "Eolian," a word that contains the name of Kenyon's Olin Gallery, Luensman collaborates with his own past at the College. In a piece titled Peirce, Chambers, and Church, for example, retrofitted bike horns emit speeches by past presidents together with ruminations on literature by the late professor Philip Church. When the "Church horn" speaks, the "presidential horns" pause and turn deferentially. It is a nice metaphor for the exhibit itself, which blows its own horn, both amusing viewers and prompting them to stop, think, and wonder.