3 years ago
John Thottungal
Connie Cheng
Asst. Photo Editor

MFA student uses rust, recycled materials to make asteroid-like installations

Visitors to the McKinney Avenue Contemporary were led through a small hallway into a white room that flowed with rust-colored asteroids suspended from the ceiling to lacquered waste objects reaching up to the sky in universal spirals.


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Val Curry stood behind one of the asteroids that hung from the ceiling as he spoke about his latest exhibit. Curry, who is currently pursuing his masters of fine arts at UTD, is an avid environmentalist, and it shows as one of the central themes in his current exhibit.

“I think the biggest thing for me is that my passion for nature comes through and nature is my teacher,” Curry said. IMG_0022

Curry has strong environmental themes in his exhibits and has collaborated with 2013 EMAC graduate Robert David Reedy in the One Day project, in which they collected wastes from different Starbucks around the area, counted, sorted them out and then used them to make different shaped objects.

Curry has been working and showing his art for 11 years. His love for art drove him to seek out other artists and get involved in their work at a very young age. A work from one of his mentors is also displayed as a part of the Universe exhibit.

In the center of the white-walled room, balls of various sizes covered with rust stand suspended like a row of asteroids making their way to an unknown destination. Upon closer examination, each asteroid-like ball is filled with smaller pieces all fashioned together in a brown rust-coated suspension held together with an epoxy adhesive.IMG_0025

“It is quite easy to see the flowing ephemeral quality of his work even though the pieces are still,” 2013 biology graduate Yasamin Khanian said at the exhibit.

The spiral shapes created for the main floor standing exhibit flow along like mathematical functions, and Curry said this ties in with his fascination of shapes found in nature. He also has a deep appreciation for science and is planning to sit in on chemistry classes in the future to better understand shape and form of entities in nature, and also has an avid interest in nanoparticles.

“I always feel like I am right on the edge of being completely in control and chaos,” Curry said.

Each piece is a collection of donated materials put together to form the final shape. The balance between metaphysical and mathematical is what Curry focused on as he designed the exhibit.

IMG_0105“I am really thrilled we have it here because it is experimental and it is different from anything we have had here in the past,” said MAC gallery manager Claire Roseland.

Curry, who is mostly a self-taught artist, has presented his work in many other locations including Chicago, New York and the Netherlands and has been showing his work for the past 11 years. He works as graphic designer at Urban Outfitters designing store displays and mannequins, and his work at the store can be seen at the Mockingbird station location. In addition to taking classes at UTD and his day job, he volunteers at a local organic farmstead called Urban Acres.

The exhibit along with two others will run at the MAC until May 3. There will be a talk with Curry at 6 p.m. on April 2 in which he will answer questions about the exhibit at the gallery.