Erica Loustau 

January 11 - December 31, 2019
Opening Reception:
Friday, January 11, 2019 
7 - 9 PM

Seeking to engage the open space of our atrium lobby, artist Erica Z. Loustau, Assistant Professor of Art & Sculpture at West Chester University, has proposed a two-fold project: one, integrate stellar design and an inviting atmosphere, and two, offer regional artists an opportunity to explore the possibilities for illusion-centric displays using ephemeral materials, installed for a restricted period of time. As a result, The Delaware Contemporary has invited Loustau to join the staff as Adjunct Deputy for Design Integration to oversee the logistics and selection of artists for future installations.

As part one of this project, Erica Loustau, in collaboration with Henry Loustau, presents New Heights on display in The Delaware Contemporary lobby. Having been a long-time observer of the murmurations of birds, Loustau's sculptures take form in the organization and movement of avian flight. Gravitational pull, fluctuation, and aerodynamic momentum all find their equivalent in physics as well as in human cultural interchange. "We swarm around news flashes... then respond with blogs, tweets, and comments," Loustau writes. Contemporary culture takes shape and organizes itself through the ebb and flow of social exchange.

Striving to connect the natural and social world with her artistic practice, Loustau's abstract sculptures perform like a squadron of warblers. They soar in and through vaulted spaces activated by ambient air currents. Designed in the studio and installed on location, Loustau fabricates her highly mobile material using ultra thin flagging tape. Installed high in the lobby, the vertical strips of colorful tape maximize fluctuation, drift, and collision to convey the visual effect of fluttering birds.

Her aerial sculptures are the personal expression of spontaneity and improvisation. The color patterns and kinetic energy echo the connection between herself and her investment in the observable natural wonders of science and society. Loustau's newest aeronautical installation further evokes the illusion of multiple pendulums swinging against the stream of gravitational forces. The low velocity and random, periodic movement of the colorful bands transports the viewer's own imagination to "new heights."

Erica Loustau received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College. She currently teaches 2-D and 3-D Design and Sculpture at West Chester University. She is a former instructor at Buck County Community College, Delaware County Community College, and Millersville University. Her work has been exhibited at the Biggs Museum of American Art, The Delaware Contemporary, Guizhou University Gallery, Guizhou, China, Delaware College of Art and Design, and the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Henry Loustau was born in West Virginia and grew up on a farm. Animals, rugged landscapes, tools and mechanical devices were a staple of his childhood. He studied fine art at Phillips Exteter Academy, Dartmouth College, Sir John Cass School of Art (London), and the University of Illinois. Loustau has taught art at colleges in Alabama, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Currently, he is on the faculty at West Chester University as an Associate Professor of Art where he teaches drawing, painting and three-dimensional design. His wide range of interests have led to commissions for portraits, magazine covers, kinetic sculptures, set designs for theater, and exotic garden sculptures. His work is in numerous private, corporate, and museum collections.

Curated by Kathrine Page.

Lobby Installation

All exhibition opening, closing, and reception dates subject to change