"Absolution Evangelist (Oprah)," a 10-by-15-by-2-inch sculpture composed of copper, nickel silver, brass and steel by SFA Assistant Professor Lauren McAdams, is one of the pieces included in "Lauren McAdams: Potential Energy." The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Art will open the exhibition at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House as part of the 2011-2012 Gallery Series.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Art will open "Lauren McAdams: Potential Energy" with a 6 p.m. reception on Friday, Aug. 19, at The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House.

The exhibition features recent works by SFA Assistant Professor of Art Metals/Jewelry Lauren McAdams, a member of the SFA faculty since 2008. The opening includes a 7 p.m. artist talk.

In creating the one large sculptural work and two series of smaller sculptures for the show, McAdams used copper, brass, nickel silver, steel, cast iron and mokume gane (a Japanese multi-metal laminate) and employed both traditional metalworking and jewelry techniques.

One hundred human-like forms that McAdams calls "flying rings," all cast from the same form, are included in the large sculpture, "The Average Dude." Their installation on individual steel rods allows them to move slightly in response to passersby and therefore have "potential energy," the artist explained.

A series of more flying rings, each of which includes moving components such as wheels or propellers, deals with opposites. The toy-like sculptures are playful and suggest motion (or potential energy), but they will be installed on cables and "appear frozen in time in the gallery space," McAdams said.

McAdams calls the other series in the show her "match strikers" because the pieces were influenced by an antique match striker she saw at a plantation in Natchitoches, La.

"These are two-sided, trophy-like forms about women such as Sarah Palin, Dolly Partin, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey, who are loved and hated, depending upon to whom you are speaking," McAdams said.

Before joining the SFA faculty, McAdams received her Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Murray State University in Murray, Ky.

Her artwork has been exhibited in various states across the nation and published in two different volumes within Lark Books' 500 series: "500 Metal Vessels" and "500 Wedding Rings."

She will have a solo exhibition in the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts Artist Hall Space in December, and her work will be exhibited at Angelina College in March.

Visit McAdams' blog at www.laurenmcadams.blogspot.com to learn more about the artist and her work.

"Lauren McAdams: Potential Energy," which will be on view in the Reavley Gallery through Saturday, Sept. 17, is sponsored in part by Nacogdoches Junior Forum and SFA Friends of the Visual Arts.

The Cole Art Center is located at 329 E. Main St. in downtown Nacogdoches. Regular gallery hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, please call (936) 468-1131.