In his most recent art exhibit, Black Hills State University assistant professor Dustin Hinson combines the unique topographies of the Earth’s surface with random lines, shapes and contours to create abstract pieces that provide some sense of reality.

The exhibit titled “Imaginary Topographies” runs through Feb. 15 at the Apex art gallery on the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus. A reception with Hinson is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8 from 5-7 p.m. with an artist talk at 6 p.m.

The more than 30-piece mixed-media exhibit includes drawing, painting, sculpture, digital illustration, and motion graphics.

Each piece depicts an overhead view of the landscape including natural formations like islands, continents, rivers, and oceans, yet with an abstract twist, Hinson said.

“A few places in the artwork I used actual images such as the North Carolina coast, river deltas from the Ganges and the Mississippi River, but the majority are hand drawn illustrations from scratch,” he said. “They are a mesh between a bit of North Carolina, Ganges River, and some made up shapes that resemble topography.”

Hinson said he has done a lot of different things with his art throughout the years, but he always likes to include abstraction. While his current exhibit is abstract, it is reminiscent of something that the viewers will recognize, he said.

“It is abstraction; I am making up shapes, but the way they look calls to mind something that does exist,” Hinson said.

“I’ve always been attracted to maps based on their purely aesthetic qualities,” Hinson said in his artist’s statement. “They have a way of bringing a sense of order to the twisting and craggy edges of continents and islands. Rendering landmasses and bodies of water as simplified, drawn images produce something that is representative of a real space and at the same time an abstraction.”

While he usually switches subjects of his art quite frequently, Hinson said he really enjoyed working with topographies and may use them again as the subject of a future exhibit.

He also wants to explore a different way of presenting art to the public. “Digital is nice, even when it is motion graphics, but I really would like to see if I can push something into actual interaction – the ability for the person to change the artwork as they are viewing it.”

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