Tuesday, May 13, 2014

OU-C art student Thomas Ansel among 3 students statewide to have work selected for Dublin ‘riverboxes’ exhibit

OU-C art student Thomas Ansel is among three college students statewide whose Riverboxes projects have been selected by the Dublin (Ohio) Arts Council for display in Dublin parks and public areas this summer. Ansel’s handiwork is currently on display in Donegal Cliffs Park along the Scioto River in Dublin. To view the project, click here: http://www.dublinarts.org/VisualArts/Riverboxes.aspx

He earned a $2,000 commission in the “Riverboxes: emerging” contest.

Riverboxes are three-dimensional outdoor public works of art that combine map-reading or GPS skills. Each riverbox includes a journal and artist-made stamp as well as environmental and historical information about the location where it is displayed.

Ansel describes his work as “kind of a hybrid of geocaching and letterboxing that is kind of a treasure hunt type of thing. My project is about three feet tall by two feet deep by 18 inches wide and weighs about 250 pounds. It is made of concrete and wood.”

He explained that, although the riverboxes are displayed in public places, they are not “out front’ as are most similar types of artwork.

“It involves discovery and encourages people to explore the entire park,” he said. You have to be adventurous and have an appreciation for the arts. Each piece is a sculpture is designed to appeal to all types of art patrons.”

The riverbox includes an inkpad and stamp so individuals can mark it down when they discover the artwork.

Ansel, 43, a native of Baltimore, Ohio, will earn his bachelor’s degree this summer. He then plans to pursue a teaching job, and possibly graduate school, as well as his art endeavors, which have become his profession. He won the “Best of Show” honors at the student shows on both the Chillicothe and Lancaster campuses this academic year.

“I like doing mixed media work, including sculpture,” he said.

An accomplished artisan, his work is displayed at the Mac Worthington Art Gallery in Columbus.

The riverbox work allows Ansel ample artistic freedom.

“Riverbox has loose criteria and a lot of freedom to express myself in sculpture,” Ansel said. “The interpretation can be whatever I wanted. The only requirement involved space dimensions.”

Ansel has a rich background, having worked several art-related jobs, such as a print shop and with a studio in Savannah, Ga., “Wherever I have gone and what I have done, art has always been part of the equation,” he said.

“Thomas is highly creative and well-versed in many media,” said OU-C art faculty member Margaret McAdams, who was Ansel’s sponsor in the project. “He is always carrying a camera and sketchbook while looking, seeing drawing and expanding projects he has underway, and always coming up with new ideas. With aspirations for an MFA, Thomas stands among the best art students I have taught in my career.”

“This project gave our best and most experienced three-dimensional students the opportunity to engage in a professional application process and, ultimately, for Thomas to produce a permanent commissioned public work. This project can be a career-launcher for him. His riverbox will be visited annually by thousands of individuals. His “Riverboxes: emerging” peers include a BFA student at the University of Akron and an MFA student at Bowling Green State University. That speaks highly of Ohio University’s Regional Higher Education art students.”

Following are YouTube video clips of Ansel and his riverbox artwork project:


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