Crossing Borders—Blurring Borders: Upcoming exhibition to feature mixed media by Austrian artist Ursula Hübner


A new exhibition at University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Alfred Berkowitz Gallery will feature a fascinating collection of mixed media works and paintings by Austrian artist Ursula Hübner. The opening reception will be held Friday, March 27, 2015, from 5-7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Complimentary hors d’ oeuvres and beverages will be 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 p.m. titled “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,” and 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.

“In my pictures, the space or room is also the ‘psyche’ or inner world of my figures,” Hübner said. “‘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 also has 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).

Gallery information:
The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery at University of Michigan-Dearborn is located on the 3rd floor of the Mardigian Library at 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, Mich. Gallery hours when shows are running are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Admission is free and shows are open to the public.

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