Black Torn Clouds

French Dadaist Marcel Duchamp not only turned heads in 1917 with his “objet trouvé” – French for found object, a urinal turned upside down, signed under a made-up and called it “Fountain.”

UTSA art professors Ron Binks and Larry Leissner once again showcase found objects in their new photo exhibit “Ron & Larry: Passageways Into the Sky and Restrooms in Berlin”, currently on display at REM Gallery on East Park Ave.

Binks’ “Public Places” photos were taken with a point and shoot camera, in public restrooms during an annual visit to Berlin. In his artist statement, Binks says he was “intrigued with the décor involved in designing these spaces and how this reflects the attitudes toward the prospective clientele.”

In each photograph, Binks’ urinals take center stage, but the juxtaposition of each image is equally as striking. “Public Places”, number three, four and five are manipulated in a way that enhance their geometric design creating lines that lead in and out of the photograph, guiding its viewers eye throughout the image, eventually landing on the glistening urinals. Despite that these images have a serious context, an aire of comedy is undeniable.

Binks travels to Berlin each spring break with UTSA art students and fellow UTSA art professor, Larry Leissner, to explore the city through a photographer’s lens.

Leissner’s photographs, depict water, earth and fire.

Images of clouds layered with ink and paper media, add depth to each photograph. Set against vivid blue skies, the clouds become intertwined with the media, creating the illusion of water. Without giving the audience much context, viewers will find these images more desirable if they forget to search for meaning and instead admire the bright colors and how the details come together to create a whole.

Leissner’s “Olympia,” references the original painted in 1863 by Édouard Manet. “Olympia,” the photograph renders a beautiful young woman reclining on a chaise lounge holding a large fan. Leissner brings depth to “Olympia” by positioning her image repetitively within layers of fans.

Perched on the mantle of a fireplace in the gallery, earth is represented by a photograph of gray and black marble. Another fan, bearing the same gray and black marble sits in front of the photograph, adding dimension to Leissner’s portrayal of earth.

Both artists’ manipulated photographs seem to be influenced by the remnants of the dada movement. Like Duchamp, these artists ridicule the pedestal of menial objects in the modern world.

The exhibit will be on display every Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. until March 2.

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