University of Rochester

EVENT: On Sea and Land, Artist Plays Games with the Familiar

August 14, 2000

A 15-foot circle of sod trimmed in plastic and "watered" by a sprinkler is dripping with irony as it floats near Erie, Pa. That's the hallmark of sculpture by Allen C. Topolski, whose works are now on display at two summertime venues.

At the Chautauqua Center for the Visual Arts in Chautauqua, N.Y., Topolski, associate professor of art at the University of Rochester, joins three artists for a group show from Aug. 12 to Sept. 3 called "4x4: Four Mediums by Four Artists." His works include found objects that create a sense of nostalgia by converting household appliances into futuristic pieces. In one, "A Tool for the Making of a Happy Home," part of an old ringer-washer supports a cradle-like pink cloth sling.

Hours for the exhibit are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (585) 357-2771.

In the exhibit "Art Afloat," a proposal by Topolski and Bradley Gale, an industrial designer at KEK Associates Inc. in Rochester, was selected by the Erie Art Museum and the city's Public Art Committee for a first-ever floating show in Presque Isle Bay. Their creation, called "Floating Suburbia," addresses the issue of "the suburban landscape and its slow and unremitting encroachment into areas previously governed by the precise balances of 'real' nature." The exhibit will continue through September. Each piece can be viewed from locations along the bayfront in Erie. For information, call (814) 459-5477.

In his work, Topolski also values objects with a past. "My street-side finds maintain vestiges of their former function and represent cultural changes," he says. He uses and juxtaposes these objects of domesticity and convenience, such as old kitchen equipment, to acknowledge consumerism and the commercial aesthetic.

Beyond this summer's exhibits, Topolski has shown his work in Dallas, Texas, and in galleries on the campuses of Hartwick College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Pennsylvania State University, and Western Kentucky University.