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Marilyn Foley Art Gallery Hosts “Observations” Exhibit Aug. 18 – Sept. 30

Ceramic works and mechanical wood sculptures created by artist Jim Kransberger will be on display beginning Aug. 18 in “Observations,” a free exhibit at the University of Mobile’s Marilyn Foley Art Gallery.

At nearly 80 years old, Kransberger is a self-taught contemporary artist in North Carolina whose early works feature unique mechanical movement, known as “automata.” Recently he has transitioned to working with clay, moving from folk art to contemporary sculpture. Humor is a common theme in all of his works, and pieces representing both styles of his art will be on display.

Exhibit hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. “Observations” will be on display through Sept. 30.

The Marilyn Foley Art Gallery is located in the Ben May Building on the University of Mobile campus, 5735 College Pkwy. Gallery director is Phillip Counselman, associate professor of art. For information, call the UMobile Art Department at 251.442.2283, or visit the University of Mobile website at

Kransberger said he is naturally drawn to humor, and it opened the door for his entry into artistic work.

“I am an aficionado of great one-liners; I have a passion for editorial cartoons. Good, dry jokes break me up. People who laugh at themselves intrigue me. People who don’t or can’t or won’t laugh out loud make me uncomfortable. I started making humorous pieces to hide my ignorance of how to sculpt. It was a slight-of-hand, a misdirection,” he said.

“In the beginning I made 6-inch sculptures. I’m looking at an 18-inch size in my newer work. Bigger work means that better edges become attainable, and better edges define the quality of good sculpture,” he added.

He said he is tightening his sights on how he presents his work’s subject matter.

“Arguably, my early pratfall, whimsical attempts at humor have gotten more focused, more specific,” said Kransberger, whose works have been shown in galleries in North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

Kransberger’s works were featured in the September/October 2011 issue of ARTsee magazine, which said, “from ranting politicians to early birds fighting over a worm, each piece supplies a rush of sugary whimsy, the only challenge being not to smile, not to give in, as they crank, move, surprise. And while his sculptures are a delight to observe, the actual construction – integrating the basswood, brass tubing and rods – reveals deep reservoirs of patience and tinkering.”

Making sculpture “is the fun part. Sharing it is your enjoyment. Making people smile when they see it move is your delight,” Kransberger told the magazine.

For more about the artist, visit

"Blow Your Horn"

"Who The Potter"

About the University of Mobile:
The University of Mobile is a Christian university located in Mobile, Ala., on an 880-acre campus near Gulf Coast beaches. More than 1,600 students are enrolled in more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Christian Ministries, School of Education, School of Nursing, School of Worship Leadership, Center for Performing Arts/School of Music and Center for Adult Programs.

For more information about the University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

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