Object as Subject: Artists Explore the Museum Collection
In April 2009, local artist Scott Hudson was approached by staff members of UNI-Museums about an idea for an art exhibit. This is notable in that the UNI Museum is a museum of anthropology and natural history, not an art museum. Hudson, however, has experience producing watercolors from study skins of birds from the Biology Department at California State University, Chico. He was later hired as a freelance artist to sculpt models of mollusks at the Vertebrate Museum at CSU-Chico.
Hudson’s idea for this exhibit was to select a group of local contemporary artists to come to the museum and explore the artifacts and specimens in the storage area. After spending hours or days (in some cases) alone in the storage area, different artists came up with original creations inspired by an object from the collection. On display in this exhibit is the resulting artwork alongside its original source of inspiration: the museum object.
Due to space limitations, Hudson had to limit the exhibit to eight artists. He selected fellow artists from Iowa who practice fine craftsmanship in the creation of contemporary artwork. One vantage point of the exhibit is of the artists looking back to the past using the artifacts and specimens from the collection. The other vantage point is looking to the present, with a glimpse of the future, through the eyes of a contemporary artist.