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“Sirens for Ghosttown” Opens in Ramsey Gallery

Sara Wielenberg | Staff Writer | 1-31-2012

Travis Turner’s Senior exhibit “Sirens for Ghosttown” opened in the Ramsey Gallery on Monday, January 23rd. The exhibit includes work from as far back as 2009, but most of it was created in the last year.

Suspended in the five windows of the gallery are Turner’s multimedia-on-paper collages. Each window also contains a sculpture of either scrap metal or multimedia on Styrofoam. The largest piece of the exhibit is a towering sculpture of a woman standing in the walking space of the gallery.

“Lola,” as the sculpture is entitled, took Turner a full year to create out of scrap metal. One of Turner’s sculptures is a part of the sculpture walk in Bemidji, and “Lola” was born of that piece. The sculpture downtown is seated and life-size. With “Lola,” Turner’s goal was to create something larger than life and free-standing. The larger-than-life sculpture just barely fit through the door of the gallery. “We had about an inch of space at her elbows,” says Turner.

In the first window of “Sirens for Ghosttown” is the artist’s statement. Turner created his artist’s statement in the style of a ransom note with letters cut out of magazines. The inspiration for his work comes from the culture.  “Visual imagery is in such abundance, and I was looking for a way to achieve originality in the information age. All we can do is re-appropriate things that have already been made and make it intuitive,” he says. The ransom note artist’s statement follows his theme of reuse and re-appropriation.

Turner’s interest in art narrowed to sculptural collage two years ago, but his interest in multimedia collage began only last fall. “I like doing the sculpture more,” says Turner. “But it takes longer to see the pay-off. Collage gives instant satisfaction.”

Most of his collages involve images he has cut from magazines and include such iconic images as the sailor kissing the nurse. The materials for his sculptures are found materials. Much of the scrap metal comes from the farms of his family members.

The very first suspended piece in the windows is the piece from which Turner’s exhibit takes its name: “Siren for Ghosttown.” The title, Turner says, is “a metaphor for the concept of a muse.”

The second and fourth windows contain Turner’s series works. The first is the “Silhouecho” series that uses a woman’s silhouette and the small image of a man shouting within the silhouette. The second series on display is “Ghosts in Drag.” This series does not use magazine cutouts, but is Turner’s own hand through-and-through.

His non-series pieces are organized carefully in the windows. Turner says he made sure to mix up the colors. “I could have had a whole window of pieces with yellow backgrounds,” says Turner. “But this way I can emphasize the chaos that goes on in all the pieces.”

Turner’s favorite piece of the exhibit, “Disarming,” is the only item not for sale. This was the image he used for the posters advertising his exhibit around campus.  Like all his pieces, Turner says, “They just fell together as I went.”

His father, Todd Turner, picks “Lola” as his favorite in the exhibit. The towering sculpture spent a lot of time in his garage while it was being assembled. Of the exhibit, Todd Turner says, “It’s been fun watching it come together.” He says his son has always been artistic.

After his graduation, Turner plans to continue that artistry. He aspires to eventually work as a freelance artist, but until he acquires a reputation strong enough to pay the bills on his dream job, he hopes to work for a graphic design firm or a gallery.