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Rosenberg Gallery: Roberto Visani Found object art redefines gun imagery

By Brianna Holcomb Columnist


The head of a statue, the handle of a shovel, a bracelet, some beads and many other pieces. These objects are a few of the things that Roberto Visani used to make his sculptures for the Meetings of Meanings Gallery.

Walking into the Rosenberg Gallery, located in Clakins Hall, a large gun is immediately visible suspended above the floor by four rods stuck inside slabs of rock. Walking closer, one starts to notice that the gun isn’t a real gun but an outline of one, a model. The “gun” is made up of many pieces that you can find walking through someone’s house or even walking around outside, found art.

Gun control is a sensitive topic in politics today. Visani took the life threatening weapons and gave them a new artistic meaning.

Looking at the artwork I began to pick out familiar pieces that I have seen before. In his sculpture “Glitter Gun” I noticed a black bracelet with beads hanging from what would have been the trigger.  Pieces of stained glass made the “gun” sparkle and glisten in a way that was almost inviting.

The many aspects of the sculptures draw onlookers closer, a type of allure a gun isn’t normally capable of. Visani’s gun sculptures are part of a series he has been working on since the late 1990s.

“The series has evolved to consider weapons as a reflection of personal and social identity across time and place,” explained the curator via a plaque accompanying the piece of art.

The gallery also included some of his drawings.

Visani’s drawings are collages and like any collage it was difficult to focus on one aspect at first. The piece seemed to change each time I focused on a different part of it, taking on a new form.

One drawing, appropriately named “Presto Chango Pagoda Shit-stem,” seemed to change before my eyes. The piece looked to be made in layers containing subtle line drawings and even an eye.

Visani’s collages challenge the viewer to find a deeper meaning behind them. No two pieces look alike nor do they evoke the same emotion. The layers and the different pictures found in the artwork make Visani’s pieces open for interpretation. He has transformed something that looks dangerous into a calm and familiar piece of work.

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