RAPID CITY, S.D. (Aug. 27, 2013) - The Apex Gallery at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology launches fall semester with the exhibit "Some Assemblage Required" by artist Kyle Fokken, to run through Sept. 27.
Fokken weaves his fascination with vintage toys and mechanical objects throughout the exhibit, combining atypical elements to create captivating sculptures. Yet, upon deeper analysis, many of his seemingly whimsical adaptations of found objects take on a deeper meaning. Referencing greater issues in society and raising questions about long-held beliefs, Fokken's attention to detail and his consummate crafting of the final product gives this work broad appeal.
Fokken grew up relatively poor in a small farming town where a "make do" ethic and aesthetic was instilled. Out of necessity he would rescue other children's discarded toys and plastic models from the trash. However, he rarely stopped at a simple reconstruction. Rather he labored to give a fuller context to his found toys, enhancing their wear and tear and including them in historically correct dioramas.
His youthful reassembling was put on the back burner while he worked on his B.F.A. in ceramics and pursued various careers in arts education, administration and fundraising. With the support of his wife and family, he has returned to being a full-time artist. Over the past 10 years, his work has shown internationally and garnered awards, grants, commissions and rave reviews.
Deborah Mitchell, director of the Apex Gallery, says there will be an artist reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, during which Fokken will speak at 6 p.m.
Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls more than 2,400 students from 32 countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The average starting salary for 2012 graduates was $62,696 with a 98 percent placement rate. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sdsmt.