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Crossing Borders--Blurring Borders through the works of Ursula Hübner

The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is proud to present a fascinating collection of mixed media works and paintings by the Austrian artist Ursula Hübner. The opening reception will be held on Friday, March 27, 2015 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery located on the 3rd floor of the Mardigian Library (4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, Mich.). This event is free and open to the public. There will be complimentary hors d' oeuvres and beverages provided.

The exhibition will open as part of the annual Austrian Studies Association Conference with the theme Crossing Borders-Blurring Borders. At the opening reception Hübner will present a lecture at 6:00 p.m. entitled "Bodily Obsessions: The History of Austrian Painting via Egon Schiele, Maria Lassnig, Ursula Hübner, and Other Affinities".

The exhibition consists of collages and paintings from the series The World of Interiors, photographs of her installation the Art Arch of Triumph, and select stage designs. Hübner began working on The World of Interiors in 1996 after she discovered wood as a painting surface during a trip to Japan and she saw the small wooden paintings of Fr. Angelico at the Vatican Museum. In this series of small collages and paintings, Hübner fragments poses found in familiar works of old masters and in popular fashion and film magazines and presents permeable bodies and identities.

Of her pieces from The World of Interiors the artist explains, "In my pictures the space or room is also the psyche or inner world of my figures. The World of Interiors points to the interior design in a metaphorical sense: the figures in the pictures, as well as the observers, see what they want to and what they can see. Atmospheres arise that reflect possible universes. Fragments are put together in new and puzzling ways; the moods of the light, which elucidate or obscure things for us, soft floors that embrace us or let us sink. Sometimes, however, the room becomes a second body which takes up the figures or brutally isolates them."

The examples of Hübner's stage design show how she works deftly and creatively within the constraints of a text, a director's concept, a budget, and defined space to show the characters and the space in a reciprocal relationship.

In her professional life the artist has crossed and blurred many borders. Ursula Hübner studied stage design at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and painting at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. She has been a Professor for painting and graphic art at the University of Art and Design Linz since 1998.

Her extensive body of work includes paintings, mixed media works, installations, and graphic art. She has also designed stage settings for plays by Wolfgang Bauer, Alan Bennett, Flann O'Brian, and Gustave Flaubert as well as film sets for Kurt Palm. One of Hübner's most visible installations was the Art Arch of Triumph as part of the Triennale in Linz in 2010.

She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the "Preis für Bildende Kunst der Stadt Wien" (2008) and the "Internationaler Preis für Kunst und Kultur des Kulturfonds der Stadt Salzburg" (2010).

Featured University Art Collection Piece

Featured collection glass artwork

Taketori Tale, Kyohei Fujita (b. 1921), n.d., Mold blown glass with gold and silver foil inclusions
Gift of Richard and Louise Abrahams, Collection of UM-Dearborn (Adp39), Photograph by Kip Kriigel

World renowned artist Kyohei Fujita was born in Japan in 1921. He is known as the father of Japanese studio glass. Many of his works, including this one, were inspired by early Japanese boxes that were richly decorated with lacquerwork and mother-of-pearl inlays, and traditionally used to store Buddhist writings, jewelry, inkstones and brushes. Fujita's celebrated ornamental glass boxes revive conventional Japanese aesthetics in a contemporary form. This breathtaking piece was mold blown with gold and silver foil inclusions. Whenever asked by collectors what to keep in the boxes, the artist usually stated "You should put your dreams in them."

---Laura Cotton, Art Curator and Gallery Manager

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