Mar 272005
Authors: Caroline Welch

"Alan Rath: Art and Robotics"

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays

Today until April 29

Lory Student Center, Hatton Gallery

Free admission

Art and engineering are usually thought of as separate disciplines demanding different talents and different parts of the brain, but they have merged in the latest Hatton Gallery exhibit.

The exhibit, which runs today through April 29, focuses on robots and shows the wide range of media Rath works with, said Linny Frickman, director of the Hatton Gallery in the Lory Student Center.

"We wanted to show that the language of art and the language of engineering are not as far apart as we think," Frickman said. "Alan is perched in a perfect place to dialogue in both worlds."

Alan Rath brings together the right and left sides of the brain to merge art and robotics. Rath, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate in electrical engineering, has six pieces on display, and said he went to MIT to pursue engineering because he has always been interested in the subject. The art came later.

"I always wanted to build machines," he said. "I wanted to learn to build machinery and design computers."

Wade Troxell, acting associate dean for the college of engineering, said faculty and staff in his department have always had an interest in art, and Rath's exhibit is a tangible avenue to combine the disciplines in a way Troxell finds fascinating.

"I have always been fascinated with kinetics and interactive art," Troxell said. "The viewer becomes part of the interactive piece."

Troxell said functionality is the main reason for design in engineering, and the technological aspects may be most interesting to engineering students. But, the exhibit offers an opportunity to gain broad appreciation.

"You can gain appreciation for science, math and synthesis of creation, as well as the piece itself," Troxell said.

Despite the highly technical aspects of the exhibit, Frickman said there is an element of approachability to Rath's art.

"Alan's work makes technology approachable," Frickman said. "It's fascinating, not frightening."

Rath's work will be on display until April 29, and admission to the Hatton Gallery is free. The gallery, located in the southeast end of the student center, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

In addition to the exhibit, Rath will hold a public lecture March 28 at 6p.m. in the Student Center Theatre.

Also, curator John G. Hanhardt, senior curator of film and media arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, will speak April 12 at 6pm in the Student Center Theatre. Hanhardt will also be part of a brownbag discussion on Rath's artwork at noon April 13 in the Hatton Gallery.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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