On view

University Gallery offers 3 exhibitions this fall

“Media machines,” Winslow Homer-like paintings of the war in Iraq and a large-scale installation designed specifically for Tufts are among the visual delights featured at the University Art Gallery this fall.

Steve Mumford’s “Kids in Zafariniya, Baghdad, October 2004,” scramble for candy tossed by soldiers from the Washington National Guard. This was a regular ritual on every patrol in this sector, anticipated by the kids and tolerated by their parents. © COURTESY POSTMASTERS GALLERY, NEW YORK

Günther Selichar’s highly detailed, large-scale digital photographs of “media machines” are inspired by a strain of mid-20th century abstract painting that referenced its own making as the subject of the work. Similarly, Selichar’s photographs expose elements of media machines that cannot be seen by the naked eye, including the matrices of “cold” computer screens or the red, blue and green pixels that make up what we see as white on a screen. His work scrutinizes the machines of mass media in the hope that viewers will think critically about the effects of that media.

Baghdad and beyond
During four trips to Iraq in 2003 and 2004, Steve Mumford traveled with Army units to Baghdad and seven other cities in Iraq, producing drawings and written accounts that were posted on the website http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/features/baghdadjournal.asp. Bagdad Journal also was published as a book by Drawn & Quarterly in 2005. In 2006, Mumford spent three days at Brooke Army Medical Center drawing portraits of disabled Iraqi War veterans. These drawings were featured in the July issue of Harper’s Magazine.

The Mumford exhibition features 41 watercolor and sepia drawings from the Baghdad Journal series and eight watercolors from the Brooke Army Medical Center.

A 1986 graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mumford earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. In the exhibition at the Koppelman Gallery, “Bagdad and Beyond: Drawings by Steve Mumford,” the artist revives a great tradition of combat art characterized by Winslow Homer’s Civil War paintings. The instantaneous and documentary nature of photojournalism that defines most of our visuals of Iraq is replaced by lingering lapses of time that capture mood and atmosphere more than precise events.

Mumford strives to maintain a camera-like objectivity about the politics of the war while providing an artist’s humanistic view of the individuals engaged in that war. He will discuss his work in an artist’s talk at the gallery on Thursday, November 2, at 6 p.m.

Cloud world
And finally, in a site-specific installation commission for the Remis Sculpture Court at Tufts, Boston painter Cristi Rinklin culls imagery from sources as varied as Rococo art, cellular biology, natural history illustration, cosmological phenomena and decorative patterns for her work called “Nuvolomondo.”

Inspired by her visiting artist and scholar residency at the American Academy in Rome, Rinklin’s “cloud-world” installation is a “techno-ornate” burst of color and form.

The Selichar and Mumford exhibitions run through November 19, while Rinklin’s installation will show through January 14, 2007. All exhibitions and related programming are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday until 8 p.m. for more information, go to http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gallery or call 617-627-3518.