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Art exhibition at Armory Gallery: Souls on Garbage, features artist Jiro Okura and the Mountain Lake Workshop


BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 11, 2007 – The Virginia Tech Armory Gallery is offering a rare look at the iconic work of artist Jiro Okura in the Souls on Garbage exhibition through Wed., Sept. 19.

“Created from discarded items of our consumer culture, the installation is a visual reminder of the impact of everyday objects, once used and discarded,” said Deb Sim, gallery director and adjunct art instructor in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “Ghosts of images have been traced in calligraphic lines that both ignore and re-enforce the shape of the individual objects. The result is simultaneous chaos and order.”

Japanese minimalist artist Jiro Okura collaborated with workshop participants to create projects in Japan and the United States in association with Virginia Tech’s Ki No Ichiku (Relocating the Tree) International Study Abroad program of 1997-1998. Souls on Garbage is focused on Zen painting and an awareness of social issues regarding the environment and waste-remediation.

The Mountain Lake Workshop was founded and is directed by artist Ray Kass, professor emeritus of the Department of Art and Art History at Virginia Tech. Since 1980, the workshop has invited internationally known artists to collaborate with students, artists and community residents of Southwest Virginia in the creation of experimental works of art. Other guest artists have included John Cage, Howard Finster, James de la Vega and Jackie Matisse.

The Armory Gallery, located at 201 Draper Avenue, is open from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is one of the largest of its type in the nation. The college is composed of three schools and the Department of Art and Art History, part of the multi-college School of the Arts. The School of Architecture + Design includes programs in architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture. The School of Public and International Affairs includes programs in urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy, and government and international affairs. The Myers-Lawson School of Construction, a joint school of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Engineering, includes programs in building construction and construction management. The college enrolls nearly 2,000 students offering 24 degrees taught by 153 faculty members.