Retired UMN professor’s art hits campus exhibition

The exhibit at the University’s Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library will be open through March 23.

A new exhibition in the University’s Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library features artwork by Thomas Rose. Rose's artwork centers around themes of architecture, gardens and shadows.

Easton Green

A new exhibition in the University’s Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library features artwork by Thomas Rose. Rose’s artwork centers around themes of architecture, gardens and shadows.

Katrina Pross

A new art exhibition by a former University of Minnesota faculty member opened Tuesday at the University’s Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library gallery in Rapson Hall.

“Mysterious Beauty,” presented by the College of Design, features work by artist Thomas Rose. The free exhibit will be open to the public at the library gallery until March 23.

Rose was hired as a professor at the College of Design in 1973 and retired last year. An internationally recognized artist, Rose’s work has been featured in the Weisman Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Joslyn Museum, and has been displayed in countries around the world including China, Iran and Poland. 

The exhibit — not Rose’s first at the library gallery — was set up in a matter of weeks, said Arts, Architecture and Landscape Architecture Librarian and Exhibit Curator Deborah Ultan. The library gallery gives priority to faculty members to showcase their work, she said.

Rose’s artwork centers on themes of architecture, gardens and shadows and is inspired by French and Italian gardens as well as late 19th and early 20th century architecture. His pieces also use elements from Asian art. “Mysterious Beauty” features 14 botanical prints and nine collages, Ultan said. 

“I think this artwork is unique because of his plays with architecture, shadows and objects. He can blend these elements together to create a mysterious image,” she said.

Rose’s art is also influenced by childhood imagination, Rose said, where memories are fragmented and unclear. He also believes in the power of isolating a single simple object, which can hold different meanings for different viewers. 

Ultan said the exhibit will “awaken your perspective in things you have never seen or thought about before.” Looking at something as simple as a flower in a garden can present something unexpected because of Rose’s technique, she said.

Rose frequently works with delicate handmade papers and canvases. For this particular exhibit, Rose printed on Moab Kozo paper, which is made from fibers of mulberry bark, Ultan said. This makes his photographs of botanicals look like saturated ink drawings. 

Rose said his work as an artist offers him an opportunity to combine his interests in both architecture and art, as well as explore other creative outlets. 

“It is the possibility to live a life where you think about the things that motivate you,” he said.