Waletr Zurko: Looking up..to look down

Walter Zurko, "Janus," 2015; 7 h x 7 w x 4 d (inches), OSB, plywood, card-board, plaster, and dye. Courtesy of the artist.



April 7-May 10, 2015

WALTER ZURKO looking up to look down

Burton D. Morgan Gallery


Scholar rocks are carefully selected limestone fragments or roots that first appeared in China during the Song Dynasty (CE 960–1279). Typically found in the scholar's studio, they functioned as objects for contemplation by encouraging the scholar to "look up" at the big picture—nature. Walter Zurko's new sculptures riff on this idea by recycling construction materials to rephrase the originals' resemblance to mountains, promontories, and other geological phenomena.

Unlike traditional scholar stones, Zurko's sculptures are crafted from cheaply manufactured products such as Oriented Strand Board (OSB), plywood, and cardboard. By "looking down" and returning such quotidian and visually unappealing substrates and packing materials to the ideal of the natural world, Zurko conflates time, histories, and place to reflect on the evolution of scholarship.


The work in this exhibition was produced during a 2013–2014 Faculty Research Leave. Assistance in realizing this project came from many people. I would like to thank the following for their expertise in both helping to create this work, and in presenting this exhibition: Kim Pallagyi '15, Summer Research Assistant and Urban Studies Major/Studio Art Minor; John Hansen, Departement of Art and Art History Studio Art Technician; Doug McGlumphy, CWAM Preparator/Collections Manager; and Kitty McManus Zurko, CWAM Director/Curator.


Walter Zurko studied ceramics at The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Selected solo exhibitions include those at the Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; Olin Art Gallery, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH; and the Hudson Walker Gallery, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA. Zurko received Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships in 1986, 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2006. He has been an artist-in-residence at: Anderson Ranch, Snowmass, CO; The Artists' Residence, Herziliya, Israel; the Foundation Svoboda, Prague, Czech Republic; and the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA. Zurko taught a weeklong course on woodworking and sculpture at Anderson Ranch in 2010, and was an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson VT, in Summer 2011. A Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at The College of Wooster since 1981, Zurko teaches ceramics, sculpture, and drawing, in addition to other courses.