|Art professor to deliver faculty lecture Dec. 5|
University art professor Patrick Luber will discuss his recent artistic research when he presents “The 3Ds of Sculpture: Disinterested, Decorative, or Devotional Object.” Luber’s lecture is the latest segment of the UND Faculty Lecture Series and will be held Tuesday, Dec. 5, in the North Dakota Museum of Art. A 4 p.m. reception will precede the lecture, which is free and open to the public.
“Not every image or object is fine art.” said Luber, “but like fine art, other objects and images we encounter in daily life have the potential to transmit important cultural information.”
Luber’s lecture will provide insight into some common artistic frameworks by reviewing his past and present artistic/sculptural research. “Historically and academically, the categories of disinterested, decorative, and devotional objects have largely been studied as distinct and separate areas of study.” said Luber. “Over the past 10 years, scholars have been examining the important contributions objects from popular culture make to the culture at large and have argued that in fact some objects can simultaneously be disinterested, decorative, and devotional.”
Luber’s most recent art series – the “Milagros Series” – are sculptural versions of the ex-votos, or“Milagros”, that are used in prayer among Roman Catholics of the Southwest United States and Latin America. Luber’s Milagros are wired for electricity, and feature a variety of lights and scents that blend, appropriate, and redirect the meaning of commercial objects for use in the worlds of disinterested, decorative, and devotional objects.
Related to his research of the nature and function of objects is the idea that some objects are given special status. Anthropologists call this ability “affecting presence.” “A fine art, decorative, or devotional object that has acquired “affecting presence” are called “talking objects.” explained Luber. “In the Milagros Series, I am already working with a form that is associated with “affecting presence.”
In addition to “talking objects”, popular culture often leaves a mark on Luber’s artwork. “Popular culture references, devotional, decorative, or commercial, have become a mainstay visual strategy in the Post-modern art world.” Luber said. “The link between popular culture and devotional objects, especially religious kitsch, is not confined to a single culture, but is found in numerous religious and cultural traditions within the Americas.”
Luber’s work is included in the permanent collection of the North Dakota Museum of Art as well as numerous private collections. He has performed over 20 solo art exhibitions and numerous group shows on the local, regional, national, and international levels. His work received the Best of Show Award in the 1992 North American Sculpture Competition in Golden, Colo.; Best of Show in the 58th Annual Exhibition (2002) at the Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, Iowa. Most recently, Luber was awarded a 2006 North Dakota Humanities Council Larry Remele Memorial Fellowship.
Aside from sculpture, Luber has presented several papers on popular American visual culture ranging from folk art and nineteenth-century American painting to popular commercial art. Currently, Luber has been studying the history of religion and religious material culture in America.
Raised on a farm near Pocahontas, Ill., Luber received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Greenville College in Greenville, Ill. He then earned his Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in sculpture from the University of New Mexico and has taught sculpture at the University of North Dakota since 1990.