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Duo Creates Synergies in New RU Art Museum Exhibit

Art from Synergies

James and Umut Demirgüç Thurman: Synergies

When one thinks about art exhibits, what comes to mind? Many might say paintings, photographs, drawings and other two-dimensional pieces hung on walls. There are also sculptures under glass or pedestalled in the center of the room. And yes, the latter is to be expected in the upcoming Radford University Art Museum “James and Umut Demirgüç Thurman: Synergies” exhibit. But the work featured in this show is more about wearable art and tableware.

“Synergies” showcases the their collaborative and individual efforts of husband and wife team, James and Umut Demirgüç Thurman.

Umut Demirgüç Thurman’s artistic theme for more than ten years features wearable lockets that often incorporate enameling. These are inspired by Ottoman floral motifs, for which she handsaws metal components based on this subject.

James Thurman creates wearable jewelry to larger tableware. With a background as a machinist, he often hand lathes and hand carves a substance he invented called Thurmanite®.

“More than ten years ago, I began experimenting with the combination of paper and resin, which would ultimately become the material I somewhat humorously named “Thurmanite®,” says Thurman about his 2012 trademarked material.

The history of Thurmanite® began with Thurman’s interest in sculpting with a variety of materials. His final body of work for his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan involved woodturned components and spun metal.

He continues, “After Cranbrook, while sharing a studio with a colleague at Penn State University, I collaborated on a series of trophies for an environmental design symposium. Although these pieces were all assembled with hardware, there was a lot of subsequent brainstorming that ultimately led to the invention of Thurmanite®.”

This same substance is found in the duo’s collaborative work along with enamels created by Umut Demirgüç Thurman. They feel that this provides a dynamic synergy of color and surface reflective of the dynamics of their own personal relationship.

“This show will be a unique experience for those who attend – James’ and Umut’s pieces are exquisite with a visual and aesthetic freshness that could only be culminated through the artists’ collaborative efforts,” says Professor Alison Pack, curator of the exhibition.

“Synergies” is on exhibit from Jan. 30 to March 7 at the RU Art Museum at the Covington Center. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 5:00 p.m. The museum is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.

The Thurmans will also provide a talk and presentation Friday, Jan. 31 at 4:00 p.m. in the Performance Hall of the Covington Center. The exhibit will remain open afterwards for those attending the talk. All are welcome to join this free event.

For more information, please contact the RU Art Museum at (540) 831-5754 or by email at ruartmuseum@radford.edu.

Jan 24, 2014

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