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Seeking to engage the unused space of our atrium lobby, artist Erica Z. Loustau, Assistant Professor of Art & Sculpture at West Chester University, has proposed a two-fold project: one, integrate stellar design and an inviting atmosphere, and two, offer regional artists an opportunity to explore the possibilities for illusion-centric displays using ephemeral materials, installed for a restricted period of time. As a result, The Delaware Contemporary has invited Loustau to join the staff as Adjunct Deputy for Design Integration to oversee the logistics and selection of artists for future installations.
As part one of this project, Erica Loustau will presents New Heights on display in The Delaware Contemporary lobby January 11 - December 11, 2019. Having been a long-time observer of the murmurations of birds, Loustau's sculptures take form in the organization and movement of avian flight. Gravitational pull, fluctuation, and aerodynamic momentum all find their equivalent in physics as well as in human cultural interchange. "We swarm around news flashes... then respond with blogs, tweets, and comments," Loustau writes. Contemporary culture takes shape and organizes itself through the ebb and flow of social exchange.
Striving to connect the natural and social world with her artistic practice, Loustau's abstract sculptures perform like a squadron of warblers. They soar in and through vaulted spaces activated by ambient air currents. Designed in the studio and installed on location, Loustau fabricates her highly mobile material using ultra thin flagging tape. Installed high in the lobby, the vertical strips of colorful tape maximize fluctuation, drift, and collision to convey the visual effect of fluttering birds.
Her aerial sculptures are the personal expression of spontaneity and improvisation. The color patterns and kinetic energy echo the connection between herself and her investment in the observable natural wonders of science and society. Loustau's newest aeronautical installation further evokes the illusion of multiple pendulums swinging against the stream of gravitational forces. The low velocity and random, periodic movement of the colorful bands transports the viewer's own imagination to "new heights."
Erica Loustau received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College. She currently teaches 2-D and 3-D Design and Sculpture at West Chester University. She is a former instructor at Buck County Community College, Delaware County Community College, and Millersville University. Her work has been exhibited at the Biggs Museum of American Art, The Delaware Contemporary, Guizhou University Gallery, Guizhou, China, Delaware College of Art and Design, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
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