Sculpture by sculpture, exhibition by exhibition, A. E. Ted Aub, sculptor and professor of art, is turning the art world upside-down. Or perhaps he’s just showing the world of sculpture according to his vision of right side-up. In his latest exhibition, Aub presents “Sculpture recon-figured” in the Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) in Canandaigua, N.Y. Running from Friday, Feb. 19, through Friday, March 20, the exhibition will have its reception on Friday, Feb. 20, from 5-7 p.m.
All members of the HWS and Geneva communities are invited to attend.
Aub’s innovative works were recently explored in a Daily Messenger article by L. David Wheeler, titled “What’s up is down” (see below for full story). In addition to this article, Aub was interviewed recently on the national radio program, “Out of Bounds,” where host Tish Pearlman spoke with Aub about his career as an award-winning sculptor and professor of art at HWS. The full interview can be heard online.
Among Aub’s public commissioned work are two sculptures at the Colleges (“William Smith” and “Elizabeth Blackwell”); four outdoor sculptures located in Merrick Park, Coral Gables, Fla.; and “When Anthony met Stanton,” which portrays Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Amelia Bloomer and was commissioned by Governor George Pataki as a tribute to the women’s suffrage movement. It is set along Van Cleef Lake in Seneca Falls.
In the region, Aub’s work will be exhibited in the 61st Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition that will be held at the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester, one of the oldest and most prestigious art exhibitions in the region. He has also received a merit award from the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton, N.Y.; and the F. M. Howell Award from the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira, N.Y. His work has been exhibited across New York, including at the State Museum in Albany.
He has been a member of the art department at HWS since 1981.
Photographed above is “yoU woulD crY toO” from Aub’s upcoming exhibition at FLCC.
What’s up is down
By L. David Wheeler, staff writer
Hopewell, N.Y. – There’s a tension and a struggle to much of the work of sculptor Ted Aub – in a few definitions of the term.
There’s the contrast between disturbing imagery and pop-cultural reference, as in a depiction of a female figure without arms. Its title: “You Would Cry Too …” – a riff on the Lesley Gore song “It’s My Party.”
There are the human faces, serene and placid in their demeanor – but upside-down, inverted or somehow confined.
“What’s up is down, what’s down is up – while they’re as traditional as you can get, in terms of subject matter,” said the artist.
And there are the classical images of struggling figures – in which the human figures are identical but reversed, suggesting struggle with and within oneself. These pieces are given palindromic titles: “Camus sees sumaC,” “O stone be not sO” and – based on the Romulus-and-Remus legend of the battling brothers who founded Rome, “Amore romA.”
Work by Aub, professor of art at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, will be featured in a new exhibit at the Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 at Finger Lakes Community College, called “Sculpture Recon-Figured.” The exhibit opens today and extends through March 20, with a discussion 1-3 p.m. today and a reception Friday evening.
“I like to sort of walk that line between what might be described as horror and humor,” Aub said, “I can see that bothers people a lot.” As in “You Would Cry Too …,” his newest piece: The title “sort of draws in a popular-culture reference, which is funny – but there’s a dark side to the piece which really isn’t funny. I don’t really know what it is, but it’s disturbing.”
The FLCC show will include selections from Aub’s body of work: older pieces (mostly the full figures) and a more recent series of singular images of heads, plus “You Would Cry Too …”
“With the most recent piece, I’ve gotten away from the heads and gotten back to the figure,” he said. “It’s coming full circle.”
The arts have been a part of Aub’s life since early childhood, Aub said.
“Early on I thought I’d be a cartoonist; I did that and that kind of evolved into editorial cartooning, which I did in college, so I was interested in politics,” he said. “At the time I was an undergraduate in fine arts, at Washington University in St. Louis; I was also doing sculpture at the time.” After earning a bachelor’s degree in painting from Washington and a master of fine arts in sculpture from Brooklyn University, he has taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1981.
His work largely was, and remains, figure sculpture, which he acknowledges was seen as overly traditional for the time, but “it was the figure that interested me at the time, and that’s been a constant in my work” – though, he says, he hopes he’s expanding on what can be done with traditional form. “I try to do innovative things,” he said.
Aub at his most traditional can be viewed throughout the region, in various commissioned sculptures: a statue of philanthropist William Smith, dedicated last November on the HWS campus; a likeness of Elizabeth Blackwell (a graduate who was the first female physician in the U.S.), also on campus; and, in Seneca Falls, a depiction of the meeting of two pivotal women’s-rights figures, “When Anthony Met Stanton.”
Those pieces constitute many locals’ familiarity with Aub’s work; the “Recon-Figured” exhibit showcases the more personal and innovative work.
“The exhibition will include non-traditional approaches to the figure, in contrast to the statues he is known for locally,” Williams-Insalaco gallery director Barron Naegel stated in a prepared release. “The bronzes shown can combine inanimate objects with the figure and head, which will have inventive titles to cajole and prod the viewer’s sensibilities.”