The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University will present an exhibition of model ships created from the imagination of artist Justin Higner, opening with a reception from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9. "The Higner Maritime Collection: Twenty-Five Years of Ship Building by Justin Higner" will be on display through March 17, 2019.
The exhibition celebrates Higner's 25-year shipbuilding career, highlighting the evolution of his model-building techniques and inventive, pseudo-historical nautical allegories.
Higner builds worlds. For as long as he can remember, he has created all sorts of lived environments for real and imagined figures, from full cities made of brick and found stones to cardboard box villages with streets and a port. In 1994, Higner's passion would take a new direction after watching documentary after documentary about the Titanic and the Edmund Fitzgerald: building worlds by building ships.
The exhibition will feature models of cargo ships, cruise ships, salvages, shipwrecks, tankers and tenders (or dinghies), as well as ships repurposed as convention centers, hotels and museums. Drawn from a collection centered on the artist's fictional maritime settings, these works are accompanied by narratives that chronicle not only the vessels' imagined histories, but also the interactions and relationships between the various builders and owners that populate the artist's mythological world.
Higner utilizes many of the ships' interiors to display miniature reproductions of works by regionally and nationally known artists, as well as his own artwork. These micro-exhibitions, featuring artwork accompanied by real-world historical documentation, reflect his admiration for the central mission of any given art, history, or cultural museum - to serve the public.
The "Higner Maritime Collection" is co-curated by Michael J. Beam, curator of exhibitions and special projects; and Edward Millar, curator of folk arts. For more information, visit www.castellaniartmuseum.org
or call 716-286-8286.