The Moss Arts Center marks the reopening of its gallery spaces with a sweeping, panoramic work of art inspired by its own architectural elements. “Another World” is a site-specific commissioned work created by nationally acclaimed artist Jason Middlebrook.

The mural is on display in the center’s Ruth C. Horton Gallery, which is open on Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The Moss Arts Center is located at 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Virginia.

The center’s exhibitions and all related events are always free and open to the public. Visitors are expected to wear masks and practice social distancing. Find more information about our reopening procedures online.

Middlebrook envisioned, created, and digitally rendered this new 17-by-25 ½-foot work of art, which stretches across the gallery’s longest wall. Recognized for his complex and mesmerizing compositions, Middlebrook is best known for his “plank paintings,” geometrically patterned paintings on planks of elm, maple, or other hardwoods that exist somewhere between painting and sculpture. He has also created a number of public art works, ranging from mosaic wall works to large-scale bronze sculptures.

This two-dimensional wall work at the Moss provides a new conceptual direction for the artist. For “Another World,” Middlebrook merges his drawing and painting skill with digital processes on a grand scale. Middlebrook developed the work through numerous sketches, creating a 40-by-60-inch multicolored drawing, which was scanned, digitally rendered on PhotoTex, and mounted to the gallery wall.

“'Another World’ presents a visual journey in a grand sweep through multiple perspectives, intersecting and colliding formations, and points of view,” said Margo Ann Crutchfield, Moss Arts Center’s curator–at-large. “The work’s imagery, inspired in part by the soaring architectural elements of the Moss Arts Center, is rooted in this world, though, sifted and transformed through the artist’s imagination. From one end to the other the imagery ventures beyond our immediately recognizable reality into another realm. It’s a complex, intriguing, and fluid landscape.”

The Moss Arts Center will present an online artist talk with Middlebrook on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required. 

Middlebrook’s work has been shown throughout the United States with exhibitions at major museums, including the New Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Princeton University Art Museum.

“Another World” is on view through Nov. 21, 2020.

Also currently on view in the Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor is “In Search of the Truth” by CAUSE COLLECTIVE. This installation presents concise thoughts and observations by people from around the world who are grappling with one of the most pertinent social, political, and philosophical issues — what the truth is and what it means. Created by CAUSE COLLECTIVE members Ryan Alexiev, Jim Ricks, Hank Willis Thomas, Jorge Sanchez, and Will Sylvester, the work is a thoughtful and at times profound exploration of values in this time of moral upheaval.

“22 Steps” is a recurring installation on the Moss Arts Center Grand Lobby Staircase that celebrates the written word in a spatial and visual experience. The iteration of “22 Steps” currently on display features a statement from “Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change” by the late civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis (1940-2020).

“In Search of the Truth” and “22 steps” are part of “Art and Social Conscience,” a sequence of installations calling attention to sociopolitical issues and the need for change. “Art and Social Conscience” will also feature the exhibition “Four Freedoms,” which opens on Oct. 15, 2020.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. 

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