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"Visualizing Tao Te Ching" by Yvette Shen on display for the Research Through Making exhibit at the Urban Arts Space.  Credit: Kathleen Senge | Lantern Reporter
"Visualizing Tao Te Ching" by Yvette Shen on display for the Research Through Making exhibit at the Urban Arts Space. Credit: Kathleen Senge | Lantern Reporter

Department of Design faculty exhibits research

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For the first time in 12 years, the Ohio State Department of Design put together an exhibition of faculty work and research.  

On Saturday, a reception was held for the exhibit at OSU Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus. The exhibit, which emphasizes the impact of design on everyday life, is set to run through Sept. 24.

Professor Jeffrey Haase, who curated the exhibit, said a central theme of the exhibition is the process behind design.

“As designers, we’re more defined by the process than the result of our work,” Haase said. “Unlike art exhibits, the body of work is about interesting problem-solving and decision-making, and creative problem solving is something everyone needs.”

The exhibit is an opportunity for the faculty members, who Haase said spend much of their time writing papers and attending conferences, to gather and display their research and work in a physical way.

“The work displays some of the ways in which we engage with communities; with visualization and technology; and with complex theories and ideas,” said department chairperson Mary Anne Beecher, whose work is included in the exhibit. “One thing that I think comes through strongly as a thread that connects the works is their appeal to a broad range of the senses. This is in no way a show that is limited to looking.”

Beecher constructed a family tree for the exhibition titled, “In Small Things Forgotten.” Her display is made up of a shelving unit, with each shelf representing a generation and each artifact representing a person.

Many of the pieces in the exhibition are projects that faculty members are currently working on. Assistant professor Rebekah Matheny said she sees the exhibit as a good opportunity to learn about research going on throughout the department.

“It’s been quite a long time since we’ve compiled all of our work so I think that it’s a great way to get to know my colleagues and the depth of their research,” Matheny said. “Much of what was presented is not that old, a lot of the faculty created new pieces for this exhibition.”

Matheny’s work in the exhibition includes a piece called Perception of Color and Light, part of an ongoing research project exploring the effects of color temperature on people’s perception of a space.

“I think it’s important for our students to know what our faculty are researching,” Matheny said. “Half of what we as faculty at a research institution do is research, and I think it’s extremely beneficial to the students because then they can start to find value in what we’re researching and maybe start to think about their own work differently.”

One of Haase’s pieces, “Pepinsky House Selfie,” began with Haase taking thousands of pictures of a house on his iPhone. He printed the pictures to scale and then constructed a replica house using the pictures.

Lecturer Michael Kellner created two sets of drawings hung in grid formations. He said the drawings are inspired by sheet music of J.S. Bach and focus around the relationship between the way we view things visually and the way we talk about them.

Assistant professor Yvette Shen’s work is “Visualizing Tao Te Ching.” The project depicts a Taoist book that is considered one of the most difficult texts to translate the original meaning. However, Shen said when it is translated into a visual language such as design, it can be internationally understood.

Professor E. Scott Denison is working on a science-fiction graphic novel called “The Lightstream Chronicles.” For the exhibition, various screens display animations of the novel.

Haase said he hopes to be able to organize the exhibition every few years in an effort to give the faculty more opportunity to show its work to the public.

The exhibition is set to remain on display through Sept. 24 at OSU Urban Arts Space at 50 W. Town St. The space is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is free.

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