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By meghan tifft
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 4, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Don't feed the flamingos. Don't extend any limbs into the roped area. Don't tap on the glass. Don't touch the artwork. Why? Because we are all unruly slobs with no sense of etiquette. Because inside places there are valuable and fascinating things that want to be shared with everyone, but don't want to be molested by our greasy hands and interactive desires.

For such places these rules serve important functions of safety and preservation; they protect us from episodes that involve assault with dried excrement from gorillas at the zoo, or being suddenly underneath overturning statues of Catholic saints at historic missions. Most of us learn the rules with all noble and upright intention to be good and obey them. But some of us feel utterly denied of our desires to heighten our experience of these places. We feel that every urge we have to get closer to the things we are viewing is counteracted by a rule forbidding us from doing so.

Roz Driscoll: A Sense of Touch runs through February 28 at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Call 621-7567 for gallery hours
There are places for people so wretchedly fettered in their desires. In fact, there is a room right now at the University of Arizona Museum of Art that ignores the look-but-don't-touch rule common to art exhibits, and it is filled with sculptures. The artist, Roz Driscoll, has her arms open to those of us who can't seem to discipline ourselves to obey this rule. In her exhibit, A Sense of Touch, Driscoll invites us to feel her constructions of steel, wood, and leather so that we may achieve the fullest, most gratifying experience from her work that we can.

Driscoll creates versions of burial structures like the grave, gravestone, and coffin, and monuments of commonplace things such as tables, houses, and buildings. She then cuts windows to provide visual and tactile pathways through their interior layers. Buildings in a city go all the way through foundation and come out into space. Houses have leather ceilings that can only be discovered with fingers. Please, don't be shy. Play count-the-canyons on one of Driscoll's constructs, fittingly titled "Canyon," and discover that sight and touch disagree. Small canyons become solid floors, and walls get emptied out with sidelong trenches. For Driscoll, whose forms are influenced by natural edifices of the southwest, like the canyon and the mesa, negative space is just as important as the object that fills a space. One leaves room for sight, the other extends itself to touch.

Our hands finally have been granted their highest role in UAMA. No longer must we tie them at our sides - we can actually run amok all over the artist's bits and pieces. In fact, if we don't touch, we'll be missing important aspects of Driscoll's work that might not be discovered through sight alone. Her exhibit explores these two sensory worlds which can be brought together to enrich our experience, and can also be divided into separate sensory adventures.

To give voice to all those itchy-palmed rule-dissenters out there, and in sincere expression of their joy, I must provide this last word: Yeee-haaw.