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Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul Jan. 30-March 15 at MICA.

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Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) presents Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul, the first large-scale retrospective of Rinehart School of Sculpture graduate Laure Drogoul ’81, Friday, Jan. 30-Sunday, March 15 in the College’s Decker and Meyerhoff galleries in Fox Building, 1303 Mount Royal Ave., and its new BBOX performance space in the Gateway, 1601 Mount Royal Ave. An opening reception takes place Friday, Jan. 30, 5-8 p.m.

Drogoul, a Baltimore-based interdisciplinary artist and self-described “cultural crackpot and cabaretist,” makes participatory and sensorial works that are articulated through sculpture, installation, performance, and Web-based media. Her process involves collection and observation of the body’s sensory connection to place and memory.

The artist’s highly interactive works break down physical barriers traditionally associated with the visual arts, not only bringing viewers into active participation with each piece but, in some cases, inviting them to become an integral part of the art itself. This major solo exhibition of her performative and interactive works, including two new pieces, was conceived by its curator, Exhibitions Department Director Gerald Ross, and organized and produced in partnership with students in MICA’s Exhibition Development Seminar.

Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul is a sideshow arrangement revealing the artist’s examination of the fragility and beauty of the human condition. The exhibition includes Drogoul’s enormous plywood framed, paper mached, and hand painted “follies,” each one a reflection of Baltimore’s unique essence that Drogoul extracts and aptly injects straight into her work. Drogoul also brings to MICA her signature performance, music, dance, film, and video series, the 14Karat Cabaret. Created jointly with Maryland Art Place in 1989 and since become a Baltimore cultural institution, the cabaret will move from its longtime home on Saratoga Street to the College’s new BBOX performance space during the exhibition. Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums also features Drogoul’s ongoing Olfactory Factory, an examination of smell perception and geography, and Apparatus for Orchestral Knitting, an interactive knitting audio performance.

Drogoul earned a BFA from Tyler School of Art and MFA from MICA’s Rinehart School of Sculpture. She has received Maryland State and Baltimore City Art Awards, Franklin Furnace Fund Awards for Performance Art and a Mid Atlantic Artist as a Catalyst Award to design an interactive exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. In 2004, she was the recipient of a US/Japan Creative Artist Fellowship – a joint program established in 1979 between the Japan-US Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2006, Drogoul was the inaugural winner of the prestigious Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize – an award granted to a visual artist working in the Baltimore metropolitan region. She has exhibited and performed throughout the United States and appeared internationally in solo exhibitions in Asia and Russia.

“In Follies, we have an opportunity to explore an extraordinary artist, her influential role in Baltimore’s art scene, and how that scene and the essence of what is Baltimore–quirky, spooky, slightly offbeat, and darkly comical–is infused and reflected in her work,” said Gerald Ross, MICA’s Director of Exhibitions and Follies curator. “We are grateful for Laure Drogoul’s openness and artistic generosity in making it possible to organize such a dramatic and diverse collection for this exhibition.”

MICA’s Exhibition Development Seminar students, under the instruction of MICA faculty Glenn Shrum ‘08 and guidance of Gerald Ross and professional mentors, have helped curate and design the exhibition, as well as develop a full slate of performances and community programs. The students have also designed promotional materials, catalog, and a Web site, www.mica.edu/drogoul.

“It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the MICA students on this exhibition,” Drogoul said. “I have regularly met with the EDS teams to discuss my visual language–including my shift from earlier theatricality and spectacle to actually engaging viewers to contribute and become part of it–and how to best utilize the College’s galleries and its new performance space.”

Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul and the exhibition’s educational programs and catalogue were made possible through generous support from the Friends of the Exhibition Development Seminar.

MICA’s galleries, which are free and open to the public, are open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

Events and Performances:
Follies, Predicaments, and Other Conundrums: The Works of Laure Drogoul

Friday, January 30, 5-8 p.m. Opening reception
Friday, February 6, 6-9:30 p.m. Knitting Jam
Friday, February 13, 9-11:30 p.m. The 14Karat Cabaret – BBOX, the Gateway
Tickets: $7 general public, limited FREE seating available for MICA students with advance reservations.

The 14Karat Cabaret is an ongoing series of casual performances, music, dance, film, and video in an informal nightclub setting. Laure Drogoul ’81 will host this special performance in MICA’s new BBOX. Audience participation is intrinsic.

Saturday, February 21, noon-3 p.m. Special Host: Laure Drogoul. Gallery talk, 1-2 p.m.

Informal discussion and interaction, 2-3 p.m. Participate in the exhibition with the artist, Laure Drogoul ’81, who will act as gallery hostess for the day, performing pieces, engaging gallery-goers, and answering questions about her works.

Saturday, February 28, noon-3 p.m.Connecting Through Conundrums
Scented papermaking workshop, noon-1 p.m.
Phantom Limb sewing seminar and knitting lessons, 2-3 p.m.

Through process-based workshops, such as a sewing seminar, paper-making workshop, and knitting lessons, visitors will participate in the working processes of artist Laure Drogoul ’81. A special host will guide visitors through the Decker and Meyerhoff galleries, providing insight into the exhibition throughout the day.

For the most up-to-date location, pricing and ticket information please visit the exhibition’s Web site.

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