Franz Spohn – Sweet as Art!
Have we got a special treat for you! This winter, several murals by Franz Spohn (American, b. 1950) will be on display at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. These large and colourful murals are not made from the typical materials that one might expect. Instead, the murals are made from tens of thousands of gumballs carefully arranged in transparent acrylic tubes. Together, the gumballs and tubes reveal recreations of some of the most recognizable paintings in the world including Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night (1889) and Claude Monet’s Water Lillies.
Over the past year, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery has been collaborating with Franz Spohn on several sweet murals. To celebrate the temporary closure and rejuvenation of the Gallery last winter, we held the events Off the Walls and BRB, where hundreds of visitors participated in the creation of three murals, using more than 60,000 gumballs. This past August, we brought the colourful and sugar-filled creative activity to other areas in the province, visiting Florenceville and Edmundston, so that participants there could share in the fun. The exhibition Sweet as Art! will be the culmination of these projects by displaying all of the gumball murals together for the first time.
Franz Spohn earned his M.F.A. from the Ohio State University in printmaking and drawing in 1975. Since then he has continuously taught at a variety of institutions ranging from Washington State University, the Walla Walla State Penitentiary in Washington State to the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. He is currently among the tenured art faculty at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he teaches printmaking. Spohn has been a visiting artist at numerous institutions across Canada and internationally, notably The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, University of Lethbridge and The Banff Centre, National Science Museum, London, England; Franklin Institute of Science, Philadelphia; National History Museum, Philadelphia; Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH.
Spohn has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally in both museum and commercial gallery venues including the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Calgary; Pacifico Gallery, NYC and the Marian Lockes Gallery, Philadelphia.
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and curated by Jeffrey Spalding