Sculptor Michael Aurbach served on the art faculty of Eastern Illinois University from 1984 to 1986. A new exhibition at the Tarble Arts Center presents work created by the artist since he left Eastern.
The exhibition opens at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, with a lecture by Aurbach. Admission is free and the public is invited. An informal reception follows the lecture.
States Aurbach: “The sculpture in this exhibition comes from the 'Secrecy Series' and the 'Critical Theory Series.' Both groups of work were produced since leaving Eastern Illinois University in 1986.” He left Eastern to teach at Vanderbilt University where he has remained ever since.
The artist’s work addresses issues related to death, identity and the plight of socially disenfranchised groups. His most recent work is about secrecy, institutional behavior, and various forms of scholarship.
About the Tarble exhibition, Aurbach said: “One might say that the entire show is about protest. It bothers me that institutions often use secrecy as a means of maintaining power and that the form of scholarship known as Critical Theory has gained such a strong foothold on the humanities.”
Aurbach is a professor of art at Vanderbilt Universitywhere he has taught sculpture since 1986. Over this time, Aurbach has had a distinguished career as an artist and educator.
His sculpture has been presented in more than 80 solo exhibitions, and at venues that include the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art (Wilmington, Delaware), Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (Atlanta, Georgia), Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville, Tennessee), the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), and many other universities throughout the United States.
Articles on and images of Aurbach’s art have appeared in Sculpture magazine, Art Papers, Art in America and many other publications. In 2012 Aurbach’s sculpture was the featured article and cover image for an issue of World Sculpture News magazine.
Aurbach has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from, most notably, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Southern Arts Federation, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Art Matters Inc., the Puffin Foundation Ltd., and Vanderbilt University. The artist is a past president of the College Art Association and a former board member of the Southeastern College Art Conference. He was honored with the Southeastern College Art Conference Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in 1995.
The artist has presented and published numerous papers related to the visual arts and higher education, including more than 250 guest lectures, presentations and critiques of art.
Aurbach had a varied academic path. From the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, he holds bachelor's degrees in biology, journalism and studio art, and a master's degree in the history of art. He received a a second master's degree in sculpture from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
The exhibition at the Tarble Arts Center continues through Feb. 18 in the main galleries.
The Tarble Arts Center is located at 2010 Ninth St. on the EIU campus in Charleston. Open hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays and Feb. 13 (Lincoln’s Birthday observance). For more information, contact the Tarble at 217-581-ARTS (-2787) or email@example.com, or see online here and on Facebook. Free parking is available for campus visitors.