One of Arthur Ganson’s inventions features a rotating mechanical device that unlocks and activates a Japanese fan. Another piece features a spindly tower of six gears that are controlled by one shift function for a fluid motion.
With Arthur Ganson, world renowned kinetic sculptor and guest juror for the 2019 Spring Show, the line between mechanical engineering and artistic sculptures is seemingly nonexistent.
Ganson’s interest in these topics stem from his college experiences, making small objects and pondering the transition of an object from one state to another – a particular gesture of a machine that spoke to his inner artistic feelings.
“This led naturally to engineering and making machines because I had to figure out and solve all of the issues around getting things to actually move,” said Ganson who toyed around with clay, bronze casting and wood in college. “The machines were a perfect assimilation of some of my innate capacities and past interests – computer programming that I did in high school, early dreams of becoming a surgeon, and the challenge of making an object that could convey my feelings to another.”
Each year, Edinboro University partners with the Erie Art Museum to welcome an artist, critic or curator from outside the Erie region to jury the Spring Show. The 2019 selection committee agreed to bring the mechanical artist to the area for the 96th annual art exhibition.
In addition to his duties as guest juror, Ganson will also engage students and faculty at Edinboro University with a free public lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, in Compton Hall, Room 107A, on Edinboro’s main campus.
“We’re all in a learning process. Hopefully what I share about my own will be illuminating for someone else,” Ganson said. “I know that my own work has been influenced by all of the artists who have come before me. Even though I primarily make sculpture, I have been informed by musicians, dancers, puppeteers, painters, inventors, writers, on and on.”
Throughout his career, Ganson held artistic residencies at a number of institutions including Exploratorium in San Francisco and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has maintained a kinetic sculpture exhibition since 1995.
His work has been featured in national publications such as Smithsonian Magazine and the New York Times Magazine. In 2005, his work was profiled on Nova: Science Now, which was presented by WGBH television in Boston. Joining the similarly named character on PBS, Ganson appeared as an animated bear on the cartoon series Arthur in 2003.
Ganson explored his work, the kinetic art medium and philosophy in a 2004 TED Conference chat.
“The mission of our Visiting Artist and Speaker program is to bring high-caliber, nationally prominent figures in the visual arts to our campus and region – giving our students first-hand exposure to someone who has achieved success and made significant professional contributions to their field,” said Karen Ernst, woodworking and furniture design professor in Edinboro University’s Art Department and chairperson of the Visiting Artist and Speaker program. “Hearing a high-level art professional speak about their work in person is a tremendously valuable experience for our students and an exciting and hopefully culturally enriching opportunity for local supporters of the arts and Edinboro University.”
Artists residing within 250 miles of the City of Erie are invited to enter works for the public 2019 Spring Show. Prizes totaling $15,000 will be awarded to participants, including a $2,500 cash prize and $12,500 in guaranteed purchases. Cash awards will be divided among Ganson’s selections as the juror.
All original artwork – including graphics, illustrations, photography, sculptures, fibers and more – will be accepted at the Erie Art Museum through Saturday, March 30. Works must be delivered to the museum, located at 20 East 5th Street in Erie, on the following dates:
Out-of-town artists may submit their work through prepaid shipping and must include all forms and fees. Send works to “Attention of Torie Pesta” c/o Erie Art Museum, 20 East 5th Street, Erie, PA, 16507.
Notification of acceptance or rejection will be mailed upon completion of judging, by Monday, April 8. The Spring Show will be open to the public starting Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m. and will run through Sept. 1.
For more information about the 95th Annual Spring Show or to download an entry form, visit https://erieartmuseum.org.
With photo: Kinetic sculptor Arthur Ganson will engage students and faculty at Edinboro University with a free public lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, in Compton Hall, Room 107A, on Edinboro’s main campus.