The University Presents: Norman Ives

By Contributing Writer: Bianca Cabral [bcabral7@umassd.edu]

On Thursday, September 23, the College of Performing Arts at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth hosted the opening of the “Norman Ives: Constructions and Reconstructions” art exhibit, from 5 to 7pm, that was open to the public in the CVPA gallery. 

Professor Janet Fairbairn, a member of the gallery committee and lecturer of graphic design at Umass Dartmouth, organized the exhibit to coincide with the publishing of the first book on Ives’s work, written by John T. Hill, curator of the exhibition. A professor, artist, and graphic designer at Yale University, Ives was a “modernist” in his time (1951-1978) who created works that were both “fun and lyrical,”  and made for the purpose of  “communication and intention” that reflected a form of rich “typography,” said Fairbairn.  

According to gallery director, Viera Levitt, most exhibits are planned a year or two in advance, mapping out exactly where and how each piece will be displayed in the gallery space, and with consideration to the “years and expertise that is needed to create the pieces.” 

Mara Ezekiel, a graphic designer, family friend of the artist, and attendee at the event, talked about her experience at the exhibit and how she “connected on a deeper level” with the works. Ezekiel would also go on to explain how she found a new appreciation for Ives’s works with an understanding of  “why he chose to do things the way that he did.” While pointing out her favorite pieces including Ionic, 1965, and Untitled, 1970, Ezekiel claimed that she liked the “simpler works that are larger and focus more on the letterforms”. 

The CVPA art gallery at Umass Dartmouth is a space where students can come together, get involved, and appreciate the impact of the arts as a whole. 

According to Levitt, “the arts can be an escape” from the everyday stressors that students often face during the academic year. 

Furthermore, the arts allow for “students to see the world and dream,” said Fairbairn, as she also stressed the idea that the arts open our minds and perspectives to becoming “more compassionate and caring” as human beings. 

The “Norman Ives: Constructions and Reconstructions” art exhibit will be available for viewing in the CVPA gallery at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth from September 7 to October 22, 2021.

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