The Landmarks public art program at The University of Texas at Austin has commissioned New York artist David Ellis, known for his stunning motion paintings, to create an original video for the university.
The unveiling will coincide with the opening of the Department of Art and Art History’s new Visual Arts Center (VAC) in September 2010.
“The VAC is a spectacular venue for showcasing new work by our faculty, students, alumni and emerging artists like David Ellis,” said Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “It provides an ideal collaborative context for Art and Art History and the Landmarks public art program to host artist residencies that enrich the university’s public art collection.”
The Landmarks commission represents the first work of video art to be acquired by the university’s growing public art collection and will initiate the only ongoing presentation of artists’ videos on campus. This project also presents the first opportunity for Landmarks and the Department of Art and Art History to work closely together. The VAC will provide workspace to Ellis over a four-week period this spring, and the residency will create opportunities for the artist to engage with students, faculty and the public.
“The partnership between the Department of Art and Art History and Landmarks is the perfect way to foster the type of dialogue and interaction that are central to our program,” said Jade Walker, director of the VAC. “Students who connect with Ellis will have the opportunity to experience his entire process and relate to him on a personal level.”
“Ellis is the perfect choice,” said Andrée Bober, Landmarks founding director. “We searched broadly and deliberated with faculty and students. The enthusiasm for his work was decisive.”
In planning a public art installation for the Art building, Landmarks sought a commission that would resonate with faculty and student artists.
“We hooked into this idea that if the work was about process, then everyone could relate to it,” Bober said. “Ellis’s work embodies process, from conception through creation and even in his presentation.”
Walker envisions the new galleries as a platform for engagement that reaches far beyond the university community.
“The VAC will be a centralized space in which to share the work of the department’s renowned faculty and highlight the accomplishments of our students,” Walker said. “It will serve as a catalyst for new projects and collaborations with contemporary artists and leading scholars.”
Ellis is a New York-based artist who creates paintings, prints, videos and installations that draw upon popular references and captivate audiences with insouciant energy. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Mattress Factory, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, ICA Philadelphia and his motion painting “Paint on Trucks in a World in Need of Love” was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also created a site-specific installation at the Rice University Gallery in Houston in 2006 entitled “Conversation.”