Kinetic Gallery brings garden-inspired artwork to College Union

Albany artist Ingrid Ludt's exhibition "Root Source," a brightly colored and evocative combination of root-based drawings and sculpture, is kicking off the spring semester at the College Union's Kinetic Gallery from Feb. 2 until March 6.

Ludt's work has transformed the gallery into a forest of art. The exhibition consists of drawings and sculptures that appear at first to be abstract webs of color. Upon closer inspection, "Root Source" truly blooms in front of the viewer. All of the works are based on real roots from Ludt's garden; the sculptures are actually painted tree branches and tomato vines from her backyard.

Ludt derived her inspiration for "Root Source" in large part from nature and visceral processes. "The inspiration initially came from looking at roots, pulling them out of the ground. Pregnancy and childbirth were a really big influence," she said.

The exhibition also alludes to Ludt's fascination with "the cycle of life and death" and "transformation." One of her less apparent inspirations was her past as a dancer. She emphasized the importance of movement in her art and noted that she chooses branches for her sculptures only when she sees "potential for movement in [their] line."

Activities Commission Arts & Exhibits Coordinator senior Briana Zimmerman, who organized the exhibition said, "What initially drew me to [Ludt's] work was the colors. I liked the movement in her line drawings. It has a really nice balance between modern art and art based in nature."

The most enticing thing about "Root Source" is its small artistic touches that are not immediately obvious. In the central installation "Hybrid Offspring," composed of painted tree branches carefully adorned with leaves, Ludt incorporated small dots and lines of green paint on the seemingly unaltered leaves, which she said symbolizes life.

The shadows cast by her wall-mounted tomato vine sculptures, called "Orange Form" and "Green Form," are also unique, echoing the shape of their gnarled figures on the white gallery wall to create what looks almost like another work of art in itself.

Ludt attended the exhibition to answer questions about her work. "I like to create a community for the students and the artist to connect," said Zimmerman.