Post-flood art exhibit

The ‘Wreck’ Room: Postdiluvian Art by Mel Andringa, will be exhibited at the Peter Paul Luce Gallery at Cornell College, Feb. 20 – March 20, 2011.

An artist’s reception will be held Sunday, Feb. 20, 2-4 p.m. with a gallery talk at 2 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 2 to 4 p.m.

The ‘Wreck’ Room: Postdiluvian Art by Mel Andringa, will be exhibited at the Peter Paul Luce Gallery at Cornell College, Feb. 20 – March 20, 2011.

In 2008 floods devastated large portions of Eastern Iowa, including downtown Cedar Rapids, Czech Village, and the New Bohemia area, where many artists had their studios. Mel Andringa’s studio in an old firehouse was inundated with 10 and a half feet of water. He lost recently completed artwork and work in progress. More than 40 years of his drawings and sketchbooks were damaged.

Recognizing the futility of either restoring his pre-flood situation or carrying on post-flood as if the event never happened, Mel attempted to wrestle new material from the flood experience. He restored some of his damaged art, recreated lost work, and made new work. His Cornell installation is a display of the work he has done since the flood.

Mel is primarily known for his performance art. For more than 30 years, the consistent theme of his performance work has been the unfinished. At the same time, Mel created a body of visual work as research and development for his performance work. Many of these visual works were collages made from jigsaw puzzles. It was his puzzle studio that was devoured by the flood, and two years later puzzle pieces can still be found in the grass that has sprouted up around his old workplace.

Andringa’s postdiluvian projects have included a collaborative performance called Moving Home at the Brucemore Mansion; an artist’s residency in Venice, Italy, studying floods and mosaics; and more than a dozen YouTube video essays featuring a new persona, Captain Noah of the Mosaic Deluge. These days much of Mel’s time is spent supervising the restoration of CSPS, a century old Czech meeting hall and contemporary art center that was also severely damaged by the flood.

Andringa has assembled dozens of new jigsaw collages for the Peter Paul Luce Gallery exhibition. He is also fabricating a giant floor puzzle for gallery goers to assemble, and making prototypes for public art mosaics in New Bohemia. The “Wreck Room” is the working model for the passenger lounge aboard Captain Noah’s refitted ship. At pre-determined hours each day visitors to the show will be able to converse with “The Captain” via a Skype connection between the gallery and the dry-dock where Noah is repairing the “Arc” for it’s final voyage.

This exhibition is funded through the generosity of the Henry Luce Foundation, Inc. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information contact Sue Coleman, or call: 319-895-4491.