Lois Renner Will Judge 26th Annual Juried Student Exhibition University News
For release: January 1, 2009

For press information, contact Simone Notter Wilson, 901/678-4164

The 26th Annual Juried Student Exhibition opens at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis on January 31. Judge for the 2009 exhibition, which features work in all media from University of Memphis art students, is Austrian painter-sculptor, photographer Lois Renner. The opening reception is on Friday, January 30, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The awards will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Renner will also give a lecture at the U of M on Thursday, January 22 at 7 p.m., location TBA. The exhibition runs through April 18, 2009.

Renner, born in Salzburg, Austria now lives and works in Vienna. After receiving a professional education at the Meisterschule für das Österreichische Malerhandwerk (Technical College for the Austrian painter profession) he attended the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Art Academy in Düsseldorf, Germany. He taught photography at the Karlsruhe University for Arts and Design, Germany, from 2002 to 2005, and has received numerous awards for his work, including the Großer Kunstpreis des Landes Salzburg and the Award for Photography at the II International Art Biennale of Buenos Aires. A protégé of the Art Academy's Gerhard Richter, Renner can be described as Austria's wiliest painter-sculptor, "model maker."

Lois Renner in a self portrait

The result of Renner's model-making, however, is always a photograph. Most of his models include features of his artist studio. Based on the idea of the model, he calls his three-dimensional miniatures, constructed at one-tenth scale, "objects." Renner's models differ from architectural models in that they are infused with moments of confusion a la David Lynch. In his photographs, Renner explores the relationship between what is real, what is perceived to be real and what has been created to appear realistic. Renner manipulates his objects so that the rendition of reality becomes distorted; real world and fictional world become almost indistinguishable.

Are the rooms in Renner's photographs real or are they miniature models? Do the objects in the rooms have a meaning or is their presence coincidental? In an article in frieze magazine, Jörg Heiser describes Renner's photographs "as if they were coming from a long line of studio studies, with the caveat that one has to be aware of the illusions they convey. Perhaps we need a word to classify Lois Renner's work," Heise continues."How about studio-model-conversion-photography?" he suggests. "It is tempting to try to fit them into an art-historical niche, perhaps Renner is even tempted to do this himself: he multiplies the planes of reflection and representation, a technique that was introduced by Velàzquez in a painting in which we can see him painting the Spanish King and Queen from the perspective of a model."

Sabine Vogel in an article in Artforum says that Renner's goal is to disallow equations between image and descriptive language. What do you see when you look at one of his photographs: a photo, a studio, a model, a painting, or photographed real objects? What is represented? The studio rebuilt becomes a canvas because Renner starts painting inside and outside the architectural space and adds strange shapes to it, but all with the goal of producing a photographic, flat view. It's such a mixture of elements that language can't adequately keep up, and that's exactly what Renner intends.

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