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Robert Hower: China Central Academy of Fine Arts

Robert Hower: China Central Academy of Fine Arts


Professor Hower’s Presentation at CAFA in Beijing China focused on his work and how he bridges the areas of art and design. The impact of his experience at Cranbrook Academy of Art and how this informed his philosophy was also reviewed.

He provided insight into the programs at the University of Texas at Arlington that will build connections with faculty and students at CAFA. Film, Design, Gaming, Studio Art, Photography and Architecture were presented to show how and where we might establish long-term relationships.

Robert’s one-person exhibition, Prime Perception, consisted of lenticular lens/archival prints and digital prints.

CAFA is the top ranked art school in China.

Robert Hower : Prime Perception (By Stephen Lapthisophon)

There is a tendency in the reception of contemporary art to make the works adhere to a certain style or match with a certain movement or period. While always a product of its moment any work of art eludes easy classification. What remains of the Postmodern in 2010 allows a playful merging of styles, genres and approaches to medium. Artists can use the meaning of style to ask questions about the validity of style itself.

These works break the boundaries we attach to how we classify works of art. They use the vernacular of various practical approaches-- construction, architecture, design, science and language–to force the viewer to see the irrelevance of style, period and movement. The conceit of the work is to use style to evade classification. Framed by the language of our associations we learn how the structures of the world guide us, challenge us and confound us. This is a material practice of form, shape, light color and surface bounded by language. Language penetrates the material to reveal the mechanism of construction and poetry of intention. The construction of form requires the reception of its place in the world. The particularities of setting then complete the process.

We engage in a process of figuring out our world through the forms around us. Presented with the surfaces and mirrors of ourselves in form, we give back this information in the narrative of perceiving shape, color and light. This engagement is active–in space, in shadow and in time. The time spent absorbing form challenges us to remember the places that re- mind us of those other places, other times and their meaning.

The function of form in our moment needs to be re-established as a value for our decision making process. We learn through form and are better able to grasp the meaning of our moment. This is the exchange we make between others and ourselves in an attempt to find commonality and purpose. Form allows us to have a common language of experience and a place where we can share it. We delight in the mysteries of perception and its elusive power of revelation.