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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
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Guest artist showcases old and new themes in Metcalf

Allison Luce presents ‘Liminal Spaces’

The rough textures of the sea are not native to Taylor. However, in “Liminal Spaces,” artist Allison Luce brought them to Metcalf. 

Luce describes her work as an exploration of “the ephemeral nature of existence and the mystery of eternity.” She does this predominantly through ceramics, uniquely designed to be displayed like paintings. 

Spanning the majority of one wall and starting to wrap around another is a series of round, handmade ceramic pieces. Mimicking coral, sea shells, driftwood and an array of other ocean floor textures, the small pieces are arranged in a swirling rainbow to create a larger work. This is her ongoing project “Ancient Expanses.”

“When I started working on this series, I thought the work was going to be just kind of like a conceptual project,” Luce said. 

Since then, it has transitioned from a photography project made up of individual pieces to a much larger display. 

Luce has worked on “Ancient Expanses” for almost ten years, but she still displays it differently in each new exhibit. Often times, she doesn’t even know what the final result will look like until it is complete. 

In the final stages of setup, Luce steps back. She creates projections of the outline she wants her work to take based on the room, but then she leaves large parts of the final product up to those helping her set it up. This time, Taylor students took the reins. 

“I think it's really commendable that Luce is able to give up so much of her work and put it in the hands of others,” said senior Jan Laskowski, one of the students involved. “It was really amazing to see the final result come together through Luces' collaborative work.”

“Ancient Expanses” isn’t Luce’s only work on display to be influenced by Taylor. Her series of sketches, so new that few are titled, were specifically created for this upcoming exhibit.

After being prompted by the faculty to create something new for her exhibit, Luce strayed momentarily from ceramics to take on the new medium. She draws inspiration from Caravaggio's dramatic use of lighting, known for its capability to capture fine details and textures. 

Luce explains that the new medium came after looking for a change of pace.

“I wanted to do something that was more immediate,” Luce said. “I just realized with the drawings, I was able to be more responsive.”

Art as a response to her environment tends to be the theme that extends throughout all of Luce’s work. From sketching the smallest details of her yard, to adapting “Ancient Expenses” for everywhere it goes, she creates to capture the world around her. 

All of her efforts come together to make a personal experience for anyone involved. 

“I've been thinking a lot this summer about artists and creative storytellers,” Assistant Professor of Art Jeremie Riggleman said. “We are called to create...and to tell a story. It would be encouraging for people to come because it's always interesting to hear other people's stories.” 

To experience Luce’s story, visit her exhibit in the main gallery of Metcalf before Oct. 12.