Getting Fehered up
After a 20-year survey of his work, the Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series welcomed Tony Feher to discuss his career and the inspirations behind his sculptures. Although he focused on work not displayed in the gallery, the ideas in the variety of his work remained a constant.
The purpose is to illuminate the beauty of common objects through its own state without having to transform or to recycle them, he said Wednesday.
“The great revelations of art are sometimes hard to find,” Feher said. “While walking one day, I noticed the color, shape and texture of these objects from an arm’s length, and I took advantage of them. All the components of a sculpture were just there.”
Often using bottles, colored water and tubes to intake and to reflect light, he also used blue painters tape in his work such as “A Day in Oaxaca” to create geometric shapes resembling stained glass and to imitate brush strokes.
“I wanted to make the color blue palpable,” Feher said. “I wanted the color, texture and atmosphere to come forth even through tape.”
Feher addressed the importance of utilizing space in a gallery and said he arranges his objects in a specific array to portray a certain familiarity in the items’ context.
“I let one object dictate its significance and let it lead to the next object, allowing us to make no judgments,” said Feher.
Sometimes described as a sculptor with a painter’s eye, Feher said he lays his pieces in the gallery with a perspective much like a pop-up book.
“I love the play of scale in my galleries,” he said while describing his one of his large-scale works, “The Big Red Wedge.”
“Everything in my work stands in its own field of reference, and I am so blessed to have gallerists who let me take chances.”
Painting senior Hillaree Hamblin was fascinated by Feher’s use of simple everyday objects in his work.
“I particularly liked how he incorporated references to systems complex patterns and references to systems into his work using basic, readily-available materials,” Hamblin said. “Many of his ideas and concepts were really straightforward and simple, but the results were lovely and thoughtful.”
Hamblin was curious to understand how Feher used objects close at hand sometimes including trash, or “debris,” to represent an idea.
“Feher’s work exposes a lot of the students to new ways of thinking about concept, materials and what constitutes art,” Hamblin said. “It’s such an elegant exhibition, and we’re so fortunate to have it on campus.”