March 5, 2015

“Surface Area” opens at the Lewis Center for the Arts

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts at Princeton University will present “Surface Area,” a collaborative exhibition of artwork by seniors Nicolas Schmidt and Gerardo Veltri, from March 9 through 13 in the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau Street. A reception will be held at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

The two longtime friends will share the gallery space, creating a cohesive show from works that, while very distinct, will be “in conversation with one another,” according to Veltri.

Both artists are interested in spaces: Schmidt’s work draws analogies between domestic spaces and the human body, while Veltri’s abstract, minimalist works use lines, edges and textures to construct spaces and explore how we perceive and interact with space.

Both create art from somewhat unconventional materials: Schmidt works primarily with wood, which he cuts, carves, steams, bends and constructs. He also applies paint in a sculptural fashion to create thick textures in three dimensions. Veltri’s pieces are built with a variety of architectural materials including glass, concrete, screens, plastic, and lights.

“If the gallery were a home,” Veltri says, “my work would be the walls and the molding, the lines and structure—while Nick’s might be the appliances and systems, the stuff that makes it breathe.”

Schmidt, an architecture major from St. Louis, MO, creates large-scale sculptural installations that bear some resemblance to bodily organs and biological textures. The centerpiece of the show, an abstracted radiator-like structure built from sections of hand-cut and -painted wood, resembles a ribcage or a lung. Schmidt emphasizes the importance of process and repetition in his artistic practice, which he describes as “meditative production.” He explains, “My sculptures are all compositions of repeated elements that form a language whose meaning comes from incident and discontinuity in their repetition.”

Veltri, an Atlanta, GA native who studies medieval German literature, has a very formal, contemporary style that seeks to communicate directly with the viewer. “I want the audience to see the steps I’ve taken,” he says, citing a series of large pieces that resemble paintings but feature screens or plastics, instead of canvas, drawn over wooden frames. “Minimalism is sexy, isn’t it?”

Both artists maintain online portfolios. To learn more about their work, visit (Schmidt) and (Veltri).

The Lucas Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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