John Urbain: No Ideas but in Things
January 18 - June 1, 2013; Opening reception: Friday, January 18, 2013
(from press release)
The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center is proud to announce John Urbain: No Ideas but in Things, an exhibition of collages and paintings by Black Mountain College alumnus John Urbain, opening January 18, 2013. The project includes a retrospective exhibition of Urbain’s paintings and collages (including selected work from BMC), a publication, and a rich array of public programming, all designed to honor and recognize Urbain, sharing his work with a diverse audience in the WNC region and beyond. The opening reception will take place from 5:30 - 7:30 pm on Friday, January 18th. Admission is free for members and students, $3 for non-members.
John Urbain (1920 - 2009) was a student at Black Mountain College (BMC) in 1946 and 1947 after returning from the war. He enrolled at the suggestion of his friend and colleague Ray Johnson, then a student at the college. BMC proved to be a central influence on his future. As a student of Josef Albers, John began a life-long exploration of matière–a French word and concept that Albers emphasized at BMC to describe a focus on the physical and visual properties of materials. This way of thinking was central to his artwork from that point forth. He also met his future wife, Elaine Schmitt, in Albers’ class.
Urbain wrote, “The visual arts involve the optical senses. With matière, there is involved an additional factor, that of the tactile senses. We desire to touch and feel the matiére studies.” One of the best-known 20th century collage artists, Ray Johnson, was also a student at Black Mountain College. Irwin Kremen is another prolific collage artist who emerged from BMC, having entered the school to study writing. All of these artists were profoundly influenced by their time at BMC, and the legacy of Albers’ focus on matière ties all of their collage work together.
See museum website.