Media Contact: David Hiscoe, NCSU Libraries, (919) 513-3425
The NCSU Libraries is pleased to present The Urge to Draw, the Cause to Reflect: Drawings, Sketchbooks, Provocations, an exhibit that features over a decade of work by Marvin J. Malecha, dean of the College of Design at North Carolina State University and former president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Athena's Nest for Pegasus
The exhibit explores and embodies Malecha’s fundamental premise that the act of drawing—no matter the task at hand—can release the innate powers of our own creativity, often bringing us to a state “when clarity is vividly present and understanding seems painfully obvious. It is a moment when all of the noise of extraneous considerations falls away and purpose is immediately before you.” The exhibit taps deep roots at NC State, an institution where mechanical crafts have always been taught, valued, and practiced as catalysts for growth and creation.
Dean Malecha has had a multi-faceted career encompassing administration, education, research, professional service, and practice as an architect. After earning a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University, he was dean of the College of Environmental Design at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, for twelve years before coming to NC State University in 1994.
In addition to his teaching and administrative work, Malecha has written several books on design and has maintained an active involvement with architectural practice through his work on a wide variety of projects—including the new chancellor’s residence under construction on NC State’s Centennial Campus. He is an Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Distinguished Professor, was awarded the prestigious AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education in 2003, and served as President of the AIA from 2008-2009.
Ticino, near Lugano, 1998
The exhibit reflects the strategies that produced Malecha’s recent book, The Urge to Draw, the Cause to Reflect: 100 Drawings and Reflections from Many Places, Times, and Spaces (NCSU Libraries Publications in collaboration with the NC State College of Design, 2011), in which a combination of sketches, evocative quotations, and short, impromptu notes or essays intermingle to capture the creative process at work. Always working with a drawing pad close by, Malecha shows how the notepad at hand in travels ranging from Hong Kong to Minnesota is integral to his practice as an architect and educator. Both his book and the NCSU Libraries’ exhibit ask each of us to “Draw what you see. Draw to understand. Draw to enhance your skill of seeing. Draw to remember. . . . It will bring you an acute understanding of who you are.”
Visitors to the exhibit will quite literally be able to follow Malecha’s advice at two kiosks that invite them to draw what they see. Facing D. H. Hill’s Conservatory and the landscape beyond, viewers at the kiosks are encouraged to add their own creative observations and experiments to the experience of the exhibit. Both traditional sketchbook and pencil and an iPad loaded with the Brushes app so brilliantly used by fellow artists such as David Hockney or Jorge Columbo will allow visitors to draw from life or from their own imaginations—either just for fun or perhaps to reach one of those moments “when clarity is vividly present and understanding seems painfully obvious.”
“I am so proud that the NCSU Libraries has been able to display Dean Malecha’s thought- and eye-provoking project,” says Susan K. Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries. “NC State excels in teaching our students to engage practical problems with a practical and inspired imagination. Malecha shows us how to do it. And the exhibit is not only a great entry point to scholars and the general public who aren’t yet aware of the tremendous cache of valuable architectural and design materials that the we hold in our Special Collections Research Center—its multimedia and immersive kiosks are a nice foretaste of the technology that will make our new James B. Hunt Jr. Library such a great place to showcase faculty and student work when we open it in early 2013.”
The Urge to Draw, the Cause to Reflect will be open and free to the public in the D. H. Hill Library Exhibit Gallery during regular hours through December 31. The exhibit was produced with generous support from the Goodnight Educational Foundation Library Endowment for Special Collections.