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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–Until January 10, 2016, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University will be hosting the work of a former Rutgers profressor in an exhibit titled, “Melvin Edwards: Five Decades.”
A professor of sculpture from 1972-2002, Melvin Edwards returns with his best known series, “Lynch Fragments,” his barbed wire pieces originally shown at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in 1970, and many more.
Featured in the exhibit, Lynch Fragments is an abstract series of small welded steel peices born out of the social and political events during the Civil Rights Movement.
The exhibit is part of the yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of the university’s founding in November of 1766.
Born in Texas, Edwards divided his time between his New Jersey studio and residences in Accord, New York, and Dakar, Senegal.
Edwards, primarily known for his twist on modern techniques and contemporary approaches, brings his life experiences and knowledge of other cultures, primarily African, into his sculptures.
According to his biography, his sensitivity and architectual concerns and attention to historical context play major roles in his sculptures.
The biography states that Edwards’ motivation comes from his need to address current events and stems from creative rather than political urgency.
Usually consisting of bent steel, chains and discarded machine parts, Edwards peices express emotional extremes.
Edwards four barbed wire pieces all have a common theme of openness and containment, using agricultural history as a major theme.
Edwards incorporates familiar pieces and tools as a bridge of cultural and historical references.
His works are placed in the permanent collections in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and have been highlighted in major exhibits in France, Italy and Japan.
The Zimmerli Art Museum is free and open to the public, and is located at the intersection of George and Hamilton Streets in New Brunswick.