Materials Lab hosts art exhibition from UT art assistant professor

Josh Willis

The University Co-op Materials Lab is featuring an art exhibit by Jeff Williams, an art and art history assistant professor, that uses materials ranging from everyday to exotic to create vibrant models.

Jen Wong, director and curator of the lab, said Williams’ artwork is made using a method that connects the various materials in beautiful ways.

“He took new samples and existing samples and arranged them artfully, and they really kind of highlight the qualities of the materials in the way that he has balanced them and the way that he has set them up and mixed colors and textures,” Wong said.

The exhibit, “Part for the Whole,” has been on display since Sept. 17 and will run until Oct. 17. 

Williams’ pieces are displayed in the front of the lab and are made of different items — including salvaged glass, wood cement and recycled cellulose. The pieces are meant to serve as examples of what can be created using materials available to students.

“They are a mix of really ubiquitous materials, like roofing tile and brick and really innovative materials like aluminum foam and other recycled material,” Wong said.

Architecture senior Stancey Moore, who works at the lab, said Williams’ art is an example of various art forms working together.

“A lot of his work deals with the balance between architecture and socio-historic balances,” Moore said. “I feel like this exhibit is exemplary of the types of materials that we have in our materials lab and kind of what our architecture school promotes.”

Wong said the lab gives students a chance to learn about local art in a hands-on fashion, in addition to presenting various artists’ work.

“We do these exhibitions and also workshops,” Wong said. “Last week, we did a stone-carving workshop that anyone could sign up for. All the students got to get their hands dirty and actually learned how to carve local limestone.”

Wong said certain students take advantage of what the lab has to offer.

“Students, especially in the architecture and art fields where people are making things and using these materials, come here for inspiration and to find new things to work with,” Wong said. “But anyone who is making something can come find out more about these materials.”

Architecture sophomore Katlynn Hallisey said she has a great appreciation for the lab.

“I like the untying edge materials they have, like see-through concrete, because they open doors for new design options,” Hallisey said.

Williams could not be reached for comment.