Dialogue with a Collection
University Museum of Contemporary Art
This exhibition is part of a series of annual exhibitions at the University Museum of Contemporary Art in which an artist is invited to integrate their own works with pieces they select from the museum’s works-on-paper collection, which includes over 2600 contemporary prints, drawings, and photographs. This year, it features work by David Teeple alongside works he has selected and placed in direct dialogue with his own sculptures and works on paper.
Water, and the natural and artificial systems associated with it, has been David Teeple’s subject for years. His installations have included water channels, reflective tanks, and hydrological maps as well as bathymetric sculptures, steel shapes, and satellite images. Water is both metaphor and ultimate material of systems as it either permeates or connects all earthly matter. The elemental quality of water is juxtaposed with its abstract properties, a combination that is infinitely stimulating Teeple.
Water defines, delineates, separates, and connects. It obliterates existing formations and shapes new paradigms. It is simultaneously life sustaining and destroying. Its geographic systems are deeply intertwined with economic, ecological, environmental, political, and demographic systems. Increasingly, water is an important political factor in local, regional, and international negotiations. The management of and the access to water are becoming increasingly relevant as climates change and populations explode.
David Teeple’s artistic approach to the subject is understated and conceptual, which leaves the viewer to draw insights into his thoughts and to explore the relationships of various systems. At the same time Teeple’s works, often reduced to essential qualities have poetic resonance and quiet lyricism as he takes the exhibition space into consideration, creating a site-specific installation.
When Teeple chose the works from the collection he reached beyond formalistic relationship to the minimalists such as Richard Serra (Du Common) or Donald Judd (Untitled). He also selected works with associative qualities that widen the visual dialogue. For instance, Lucio Pozzi’s (Untitled) from (Artifacts at the End of a Decade) references the elemental Euclidian shapes and perceived reality, while the image (The Kingdom Series, Stingray), by Agnes Denes is a direct reference to the natural world.
David Teeple has been a practicing artist since 1980, and has created numerous small, mid- and large-scale works and projects. His work can be found in public, private, and corporate collections both nationally and internationally. From 1996 until 2008, he was founder and president of Atelier Lumiere Inc., an art and architectural, design, consulting, and fabrication firm.
Recently, in Northampton, MA, he finished the public artwork “Water Music.” Spanning an entire railroad bridge of eighty-three feet, directly over heavily trafficked Route 9, it comprises two essential visual components – a series of stainless steel panels, which represents the surface of water, and a suspended, blue, aerial map of the Connecticut River.
Curator of Education, UMCA