The interactive exhibition, “Time-shift Paradox,” is filled with whirring pieces, historical artifacts, giant time machines and an underlying message of our future.
“Creating an environment people can walk within and be completely immersed in — I think that is so much of a different experience than what people have with art usually,” Marable said. “They go to a museum or a gallery, can’t touch anything, you’re removed from it. This kind of art is not that way at all, and I think it helps people relate to the concept.”
Marable is a local artist. He and his family lived in Topeka from 2005 to 2015, where he practiced printmaking in his basement studio and worked on home improvement projects. The Marables then moved to Lawrence, and Justin Marable now works out of his studio at Art Emergency, 721 E. 9th St., in Lawrence.
It was around that time Marable proposed his idea to the arts center and began using his handyman skills professionally.
His installation takes viewers on a journey, following intergalactic travelers through time to determine the fate of the universe. Guests see the time travelers’ home, headquarters and time machine, and toward the end of the exhibition, two alternative universes. Prompts explain what humans can do now to dictate the earth’s future.
“That’s what I try to do with my art in general: deal with deeper-level issues — social and environmental — with satire, so there’s kind of a sense of humor to it to make it more approachable,” Marable said.
“It’s a way to be playful with these more serious issues,” he said, “so people will actually think about them and consider them, and have a dialogue and conversation come out of it, instead of just immediately being turned off because it’s not what they believe politically, religiously or socially.”
Ben Ahlvers, exhibition program director at the arts center, said though this idea has grown exponentially from its first proposal — which fit on a single sheet of paper — he never doubted Marable’s ability to pull it together.
“Upcycling, the re-imagining of waste and materials, is on a wave of aesthetic happening now,” Ahlvers said. “Culture artists are intertwining their work, using pre-existing materials in a way no one thought thought they could be used, so there’s a certain amount of unknown that comes with working that way.”
Marable said he used the science fiction side to appeal to people and has been interested in time travel since childhood.
“Time travel is a tool I use to look at history and research that history,” he said, “to find out what actually happened in the past so we can be better informed in the present.”
The majority of the pieces Marable used are reclaimed, scavenged from ReStore shops and worksites or donated from friends.
Marable’s main media has been printmaking. That’s what he got his degree in, and what he has worked in for more than a decade.
“This is different than anything I have done in my career, so people are going to be really confused how I did this when I’m a printmaker,” he said.
However, Marable said, his latest endeavor has forever changed his future — no pun intended. He said he doesn’t know where it will lead yet, “but it’s definitely been career changing, for sure.”
The free exhibit was set to open with a reception Friday and runs through Feb. 24 at the arts center, 940 New Hampshire St. in Lawrence. The arts center is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Marable also is the featured artist in the arts center’s 2018 benefit art auction.
Contact reporter Savanna Maue at (785) 295-5621 or @CJFoodFun or @SavannaMaue on Twitter.