Zebrowski exhibit opens doors

Michael Zebrowski, a Johnson State College assistant professor in the fine arts department has his most recent pieces of work on display in the Julian Scott Memorial Gallery in Dibden.

The project has been named after the Polish word Otwierac, meaning “to open” or “to make something accessible.” The name becomes pretty clear once you walk into the gallery room through a door-less entry. The doors in and out of the gallery have been removed and will soon be a part of the large sculpture project within the coming weeks. The project is known as being site specific, this means that the structures created were designed to fit in or be for a certain space. Julian Scott Gallery Director, Leila Bandar mentioned to Zebrowski that she wanted to give him some time for an artist talk and gave him some possible dates. Zebrowski says, “I spent nearly three hours looking over the space because I knew I wanted to do something unique with it.”

When you first look at these structures, you will notice that they are attached to the walls and have wheels on them to move and interact with. One of the two pieces swings from the wall using a hinge. The other structure is attached to a track along a separate wall and it moves back and forth. The designs seem to take on a bridging, or a high-tension wire tower design. The inspiration behind this is due to Zebrowski coming from an architectural background after having trained as an architect for his undergraduate work. “I never really considered myself an artist,” said Zebrowski. “I consider myself a designer more so then an architect.” He also talked a lot about how the work is very architectural, and how it’s all about the space being used along with how we utilize the space.

The main difference setting this project aside from many other art sculptures and pieces is that you can interact with it. Both structures are 100 percent MIG (Machine Inert Gas) welded and are made up of carbon steel pieces making them strong provided that the design is good. Zebrowski ensured that it was indeed strong as he spent a good amount of the talk standing on one of the pieces. “Some of the pieces were made at the local metal fabrication shop in Morrisville such as the hinges and tracks,” said Zebrowski. “The main idea to this for me especially in the context of being apart of an institutional environment is to present another way of making art sculpture.” He believes that it’s about trying to put an emphasis on site place work.

Though it was Zebrowski’s design for this project he also worked closely with several JSC interns to make this project happen. Martin DeGeus, Mina Ganguly-Kiefner, and Sabrina Leonard were the helpers along the way for the project. Drawings were being done in October and November, and construction for the piece didn’t start until January.

“It was the first time working with a team along with having the project being someone else’s idea opposed to my own because I’m used to making my own art,” said Leonard. “I really appreciated learning a new skill and seeing the whole creative process and what goes into a show and the installation and everything that it takes.”

Zebrowski also gave a huge thanks to his wife and daughter at the beginning of the show due to the long hours spent on the project before and after work.

As far as similar previous works go for Zebrowski he performed a lot of work during a Baltimore festival known as Artscape. The majority of the designs he created were also site-specific works. In addition to this, he also had an open gallery in Geneva, NY for another site-specific installation. “I hope that there’s a desire and willingness along with an interest in individuals to utilizing the space around them,” says Zebrowski.

The Exhibit is up from now until beginning of April when the pieces will be taken down.