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Emilie Brzezinksi: New Directions

June 28 – Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003

Saturday, June 28, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Public welcome

Since the mid-1980s Emilie Brzezinski has carved sculptural forms from felled trees, which she brings to her studio in McLean, Va. Using a variety of tools — chainsaws, chisels, chains and ropes — she sculpts enormous pieces of wood, uncovering their essential forms. Often retaining the vertical structure of the original, she shows her own marks on the wood, emphasizing the importance of the process as much as the product.

Brzezinski usually works in series, creating environments with her art that simulate gigantic forests. She also has created chairs and bowls, many enormous in scale, as well as hanging bark forms that evoke the human body.

Brzezinski’s art takes on both metaphoric (the tree as life experience) and anthropomorphic (the tree as human) meanings. The emergence of a form within the wood is a natural, and at times arduous, process for her. "Emilie Brzezinski: New Directions" will feature a selection of the artist’s chairs, bowls and hanging forms, as well as new pieces.

The physicality, scale and beauty of Brzezinski’s work, as well as its multiple meanings, invite collaborations with other art forms. As part of the exhibition the museum has invited Brzezinski to work with Judith Shatin, an internationally known composer and member of the University music faculty, to create a related musical piece. This effort received partial support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

An illustrated catalog, with an essay by the art historian Aneta Shine, accompanies the exhibit.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Rosenstiel Foundation and the University of Virginia Arts Council.

Photo available. Contact Jane Ford at (434) 924-4298 or



Tree Music
Judith Shatin’s Tree Music, an interactive installation piece commissioned by the University Art Museum with assistance from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, accompanies the exhibition of Emilie Brzezinski’s sculpture that runs from June 28 through September 7.

Shatin composed Tree Music from recordings she made of Ms. Brzezinski sculpting tree trunks, creating a musical embodiment of that process. The musical results range from foot-tapping rhythms to cosmic singing. Shatin, who directs the Virginia Center for Computer Music in the University’s McIntire Department of Music, is the first to use GAIA (Graphical Audio Interface Application) created by David Topper, technical director of the VCCM.

Here, the program translates density and motion of those attending the exhibition into signals that change certain elements of the music, creating an experience that is always evolving, yet creates a web of interconnections. Internationally known for her dramatic acoustic pieces and imaginative computer music, Shatin is currently William R. Kenan, Jr. professor of music at U. Va. Topper’s work, frequently presented in international forums, currently focuses on interactive media, new synthesis techniques, sound spatialization and development of the open source computer music program Rtcmix.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Limited parking is available behind the museum. The museum is handicap accessible. For details about the exhibit and information about the museum, call (434) 924-3592.

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