Gary Staab’s “Collections” is on view in the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center (JDAC) Galleries. The exhibition is held in conjunction with the inaugural Hastings College Fine Arts Hall of Fame induction, which took place in the JDAC lobby on Oct. 13; inducting Staab ‘89 for art, Ruth (McKevitt) Moore ‘69 for music and Michael Tushaus ‘98 for theater.
Staab, based out of Kearney, Missouri, is a freelance sculptor for academic and cultural institutions. Combining his majors of studio art and biology, Staab works in paleoart to create prehistoric models of organisms. The exhibition is comprised of various works from Staab’s collection, covering projects over the course of his career, working in paleoart and artifact interpretation.
All work within the show is bronze casted with some pieces containing glass and wood components. Accompanying the work are photographs of some of the artist’s other works, displayed by a projector.
These smaller works are a portion of Staab’s studio practice, with the majority of replicas, life-sized or larger, often involving different materials to mimic the organism’s interpreted physical characteristics.
Staab gave a lecture to students on March 29, 2018, talking about the process of his work, and working with academic institutions.
“Wherever there is a need to interpret fossils for display by putting the flesh on bone; I’m lucky enough to be involved,” Staab said during the lecture. “We work on paleontological and archaeological models for museums, and it sometimes involves making models of living animals; sometimes it’s extinct animals. Sometimes we make archeological models of things that are too fragile to travel.”
Staab also talked about his art practice with visiting students in his studio facilities late this September, addressing similar points to the past lecture.
“Each project is different, but it starts with the origin material. So that can be either a fossil or an artifact and so then comes the study of that material and then replication, and replication is based on whatever the final material need is for it,” Staab said. “So if it’s dried flesh or skin, then I’ll pick a material that most accurately represents that.”
The exhibition will be on view in the JDAC Galleries until Oct. 31.