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Soundings, A Multimedia Exhibition, Opens at Ucross Foundation Art Gallery on February 23

Soundings, A Multimedia Exhibition, Opens at Ucross Foundation Art Gallery on February 23

Collaborative Project Features Bozeman Artist Sara Mast as Lead Artist

Ucross, Wyoming – February 12, 2013 – Soundings, a collaborative multimedia exhibition featuring paintings, video, sound and installation, with Sara Mast as lead artist, will open at the Ucross Foundation Art Gallery on  Saturday, February 23, 2013.  The exhibition, which includes seven members of the extended Mast family – five artists and musicians, one chemical engineer and a conservationist – explores the construction of shared identity and reflects upon the legacy of Mast’s father, Gifford Morrison Mast (1914-1972), an early pioneer of American industrial design. The show also includes technology designed by a specialist in heart-brain research who has served as a science advisor, and a small selection of Gifford's own inventions, which informed the work in the exhibition.

Soundings launches an experiment in the living laboratory of a creative family,” says Sara Mast.  “By investigating the invisible influence of my father on our family, we hope to make visible the connective threads that weave their way through all families.”

 A public opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 23 from 3:00-5:00 p.m.  Soundings will be on view at the Ucross Foundation Art Gallery through June 15.

Gifford Morrison Mast’s proclivity for invention led him, at age 15, to meet Thomas Edison. He also met Edison’s son Theodore, who after several years of correspondence hired him to work at Calibron, Inc., a research and development company built upon Edison’s legacy. Gifford went on to work with several major figures in American industrial design, including Henry Dreyfuss, Raymond Loewy and Walter Dorwin Teague. His inventions included everything from a spy camera in the form of a Lucky Strike pack to the first ozone meter, which is still manufactured today. As Sara Mast states, “Each contributor to this show has taken 'soundings' through various means to discover who GMM was, most never having ever met him. In my case, my father died when I was fifteen. My paintings use his patent images (which reflect his mature work as an inventor) to take 'soundings' in the form of a visual dialogue I am now able to have with him as an adult, through my own creative work. I am using his patents as a probe of the 'imaginal realm', much as a scientist would use a scientific instrument to probe the medium through which he/she was trying to glean information, such as the ocean.”

The work produced for this exhibition was inspired by Gifford Mast’s drawings, designs, inventions, letters and autobiographical writings, as well as interviews with family members who knew him. Sara Mast notes, “My team includes one fourth-generation and three third-generation Masts who never knew their grandfather except through stories. Integrating painting, drawing, photography, sound, music, video and biofeedback technology, this interdisciplinary, cross-generational project aims to ‘make the immeasurable measurable,’ which was a passion for my father. In a paper he wrote at the University of Chicago (circa 1932) titled The Meaning of Beauty, he stated: ‘With the tools furnished by these scientific emotion measurers [electrocardiographs, lie detectors, brain wave recorders, etc.], it would seem likely that we might be able experimentally to outline the physiological aspects of aesthetic response.’”

            Participants in Soundings include:

Sara Mast, based in Bozeman, Montana, is a widely exhibited artist whose paintings are included in over 30 public and private collections in the United States and abroad.

Roderic Mast, based in Herndon, Virginia, is a sea turtle biologist and conservationist, who is the president of the Oceanic Society and chief editor for the SWOT Report (The State of the World's Sea Turtles).

Eric Mast, based in Portland, Oregon, is a painter and musician, and is known for his animation and video pieces, which were featured in Artforum Magazine (March 2009).

Emily Mast, based in Los Angeles, is a performance artist whose most recent exhibitions include Main d’Ouevres in Paris and the Roy & Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in LA (both in 2012).

Morrison Mast, based in Washington, D.C.,  is a musician and composer who recently graduated from the College of William and Mary.

Terrill Mast is a pianist and percussionist currently enrolled at Columbia College in Chicago.

Kassandra Mast is a chemical engineer who graduated from Vanderbilt in 2012, and was recently hired by Schlumberger Oil Company.

Dan Winter, formerly of the Heart Math Institute, and a recognized leader in heart-brain research, heart-rate variability and heart-rhythm “coherence,” is our science advisor.  He is lending his expertise in the use of his heart coherence monitor called Heartstring (www.heartstring.com).

Sara Mast has long been interested in the intersections between art and science.  She has studied, for instance, astronomical data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and other satellite observances, and the exhibition at Ucross will also include three of her astronomy-inspired paintings. Born in Davenport, Iowa, she has an MFA from Queens College in New York and has taught drawing and painting at Montana State University in Bozeman since 2003.  Her work has been exhibited at galleries and museums including the Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia, Dennis Morgan Gallery in Kansas City, the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, the Livingston Center for Arts and Culture in Montana, the Art Museum of Missoula, Visions West in Denver, and many others.  She was a resident at the Ucross Foundation in 2001 and 2012, and has twice been a resident artist for Artist-Forest-Community, sponsored by the Helena National Forest and the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Montana.

Soundings will be on view at the Ucross gallery through June 15. A catalog accompanying the exhibition will be produced later this spring, and will include essays by Barbara O’Brien, Director of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and Michele Corriel, who has written about Sara Mast for Big Sky Journal. The Soundings project was funded in part by a Montana State University Scholarship and Creativity grant for the Advancement of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Ucross Foundation Art Gallery is located at 30 Big Red Lane in Ucross, ½ mile east of the intersection of Highways 14 and 16 East. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For further information, call (307) 737-2291 or email info@ucross.org.

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