Hiram – “Composing in Space: Sculpture and Assemblage by Robert Buganski,” features nearly 300 sculptural, mixed media compositions, and sketches created by Buganski over the past three years. His work has been featured in dozens of galleries across the country, and is currently on display at Hiram College’s Gelbke Fine Art Center Gallery through October 12.
In this new exhibition, Buganski challenges viewers to be more aware of three-dimensional shapes and two-dimensional “slices” of shapes as viewers move through the gallery space. Buganski plainly stated “I never intended for my sketches to be shown in a gallery.” He created the predominantly black and white drawings on recycled stationery at home as a sort of “visual diary.” Each sketch is dated and shows the variations he made over the course over several months, which eventually led to the creation of the aluminum pieces now displayed in this show. Given the unique perspective the sketches provide, viewers are able to visualize the way an artist generally creates masterpieces, beginning with rough sketches, to greater refined compositions, to free-standing sculptures.
“Sculpture, by its nature, is made to be interacted with,” adds Buganski. His free-standing sculptures are entitled “Profiles” because when you look at them from any angle, you see individual shapes in 2-D, like you might generate in a CAT scan of a 3-D object. “Geometric abstraction,” explains Buganski, referring to wall pieces as well as those on the floor, “is something that’s been a part of me since the late 70s. I make the shapes I want to use – for the pleasure of abstraction.”
Buganski earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Stockton State College and a Master’s degree from Rhode Island School of Design. He began his career collecting driftwood along the Jersey Shore to make self-described bad furniture. He worked at Stockton College’s sculptural department, where he was encouraged by faculty to take classes and get his degree. His skills grew as he took inspiration from master furniture makers including Wendell Castle and George Nakashima, who instilled the love of craft and design.
Currently an Associate Professor of Art, and Chair of the Department of Art at the University of Mount Union, Buganski joined the faculty at Mount Union in 2003. He has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Kent State University, Youngstown State University, University of New Hampshire, University of Maine, Brown University and Plymouth State College.
Hiram College’s Gelbke Fine Art Center Gallery is free and open to the public when school is in session, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the exhibit, call (330) 569-5304.