Article by Emily Ambriz
Ball State University Students will not see “Do not touch” signs at this month’s Atrium Gallery exhibit, which includes the work of two Ball State professors and allows exhibit visitors to handle the displays.
Husband and wife art professors, David and Sarojini Johnson both contributed to the traveling exhibition, Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books.
“I think it’s good we get to show in the same exhibit,” said David. “We have very different styles and it shows tremendously.”’
Sarojini took a less traditional approach to her piece. She collected slang for intoxication from friends and students and included them in her book.
She only regrets not being able to use the term, “crunk,” a mixture of “crazy” and “drunk.”
David brought the exhibit from college town bars to the country for the subject of his book: farm animals.
“I’ve been drawing farm animals since I could draw,” he said. “My dad worked on a farm. My uncle worked on a farm. Farm animals have very rich heritage and are part of everyone’s lives. “
He mentions Animal Farm as an example.
Sarojini proposed the idea of bringing the exhibit to Ball State and David helped to set up the handmade booklets that follow the dimension rule of 4 x 5 x 1.
Rachel Yoder, a senior visual communications major, said she believes it’s important to acknowledge her professors as artists and not just teachers.
“I think it’s good for us to see professors as artists. We see them every day and think ‘Oh, they’re just teaching us’ but it’s refreshing to be reminded that yes, they teach but they still have their own careers and their own passions,” she said.
Hui-Chu Ying, an art professor at the University of Akron curated the exhibit.
“I think the miniature book idea is really a great art form to serve as the basis for this economical traveling exhibition,” Ying said on the University of Akron’s website. “Any artist can take on the challenge of scaling down thoughts, texts, images and materials to create a readable, workable small scale artist book that is pleasurable to handle, read and to exhibit.”
Some of the pieces include books within books while others fold down and unfold to much larger collages of images that represent the depth of the artist and their inner concepts.
“It’s definitely an interesting exhibit,” said Yoder, who also works at the Atrium Gallery. “It makes for a more personal experience because it’s so interactive. People can actually hold the art in their hands and connect with it more than they would staring at a picture on the wall.”
Just don’t expect to pick up the books like in Bracken Library – gloves sit next to each work of art.
Ball State University, School of Art, Art and Journalism Building
Room 401, 2000 W. University Ave. Muncie, IN 47306
When to visit
The exhibit runs from Jan. 15 to Feb. 7; there will be a closing reception from 4 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 5 in the Atrium Gallery.
Hours of operation:
Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.