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Archive for Thursday, January 23, 1992

DESIGN DEPARTMENT MEMBERS DISPLAY ARTWORKS

January 23, 1992

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On one side of the Kansas University Art and Design Gallery, Susan Lawlor's colorful, elongated rabbits stretch in every direction in a group of drawings titled "The Bunny Series: Exorcising the Demons of Cute.''

On the other side, Luke Jordan's large photograph panels display female nudes, both lounging and sitting. The panels form overlapping pieces of a puzzle, allowing the viewer to look at the human body both in isolated pieces and as a whole.

The two KU design department faculty members have combined their works for "Susan Lawlor: Old and New Works,'' and "Luke Jordan: Photographs and Little Pictures.'' The joint show runs through Jan. 31.

LAWLOR, AN assistant professor of design, lives in Kansas City, Mo., and studied in Baltimore and Kansas City. Some of her work combines painting, drawing and printmaking with principles of graphic design, which she teaches. She said she started out studying illustration, but she then switched over to graphic design.

"I felt I had to keep some intuitive expression, which were qualities you have in both fine arts and graphic design,'' she said.

Lawlor also worked at Hallmark Inc. for three years. She said she found her style didn't match the philsophy at Hallmark, so she left to do her own work.

"The bunny series was a just a way to get away from them,'' she said.

TWO OF THE pieces, "Sofa'' and "Family Portrait,'' feature faceless figures. "Sofa'' shows a faceless statue of a cat staring out from a living room with a picture window opened to blackness. "Family Portrait'' shows a group of people without faces.

"It's more connected with a feeling or an attitude,'' she said. "It's partly to get a more general, emblematic statement.``

Four works on one wall combine text, design and art in a series. One places an e.e. cummings poem across a designed surface, and another, called "Rules,'' has a black surface with boxes cut out. Inside the boxes we see women dressed in flannel shirts or dresses. One is nude.

"The last one has almost an alieniating surface quality,'' she said.

JORDAN, AN instructor of design, teaches photography both at KU and at the Kansas City Art Institute, and he studied at the University of Michigan. His work varies from the large-scale nude prints to small snapshots to images of a child in a diaper. He said the work in the show represents pieces from at least 10 years of work and a variety of styles.

"Actually I used everything from 35 millimeter film to a little plastic camera,'' he said. "There's nothing particular about the equipment.''

One of the nudes features a seated woman holding a plastic doll in varying positions. The black-and-white surface obscures the difference between the skin of the model and the plastic covering of the doll.

"There's a kind of symbolism in the doll as a phony representation of the human figure,'' he said. "I almost chose to play off the plastic skin versus the human.''

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