The Italo Scanga Visiting Artist Fund was established in 2005 with a donation from URI Art Department alumna Katherine Scanga and the Italo Scanga Foundation. Italo Scanga was an internationally renowned sculptor who taught for many years at UC-San Diego. For further information on the Italo Scanga Foundation see http://www.italoscanga.org. The purpose of the fund is to bring an artist in to the department for a two-day residency. During their stay each artist makes a public presentation of their work and then spends time with students in class, participating in discussions, critiques or one-on-one with individual students.
Ralske's work received First prize at the 2003 Transmediale International Media Art Festival in Berlin, as a member of the real-time video improvisation ensemble 242.pilots. He is also the author, programmer of Auvi (http://auv-i.de), a software environment for creating custom real-time video programs that is in use by video artists in over 22 countries. While at URI he demonstrated this software with student collaboration.
Greg Coates embodies the qualities and excitement of the contemporary abstract painter. Spending most of his career in New York City, he has formulated a rich body of work centered on refiguring and redefining found and fabricated materials that are subsequently pigmented and attached to wall panels. The result is highly innovative. Using such materials as rubber, wood, metal, plastic, and glass Coates explore provocative and difficult social issues that have a remarkably urban tenor and flavor.
He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in New York, London, Berlin, and Munich. Awards include the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, the Pollack-Krasner Grant, the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, and the Edward Bannister Society's Artistic Achievement Award. He has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin, and the International Artist-Workshop in Capetown, South Africa.
Laws makes objects using techniques that are labor-intensive, and time consuming, with meticulous attention to detail. Some of these techniques have traditionally been associated with women's work; some with a specific trade or craft as opposed to fine art. Painstaking process, the attendant precision and a focus on detail, form the backbone of her work.
Laws' approach to her work is informed by a love of experimentation with all manner of materials and means of production. Her experience is wide and varied. Laws spent two years in Oklahoma studying cowboy boot making techniques, and continue to add what one might consider non-traditional materials and techniques to her repertoire. For many years, the central vehicle of Laws' work has been the human figure, with a focus on fragments of bodies: legs, teeth, breasts, incomplete torsos, the items of clothing that cover particular parts - all surrogates for a self. For the last several years, Laws has been working on an interactive public art project, the DogTag Project that takes art out of the gallery context and places it in the hands of the people.