James Ehlers and the Annual Juried Student Exhibition

Artist and Professor James Ehlers came to Truman State University this week to serve as the juror for the annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, give engraving demonstrations, and discuss his own artwork.

Truman students had the opportunity to submit a maximum of three works to be reviewed for the juried show.  Ehlers selected the works that will be featured in the exhibition based on common themes; he said he found relationships between works and then placed them in spaces of cohesion.

“I gathered pieces that had political or religious messages in the cube of the gallery,” said Ehlers. “Also, I put food pieces in the general area where food is served during the opening reception.”

Ehlers’ work was exhibited in the side gallery up until the beginning of the jury submission process. A collection of his prints, drawings, and engravings were on display. Inspiration for his work came from numerous sources; including pop culture, history, and news events.

On Wednesday night, Ehlers performed an engraving demonstration in the Printmaking Studio (OP 2260). Since engraving is a long process, he mostly talked about tools and how to sharpen, distinguish, hold, and use them. In doing this, students would gain enough knowledge to experiment with engraving on their own. Ehlers packed some extra tools and plates so students attending the demonstration could practice using the equipment.

Thursday evening Ehlers gave a lecture explaining his selection process for the Juried Student Exhibition and discussed his own work.

By Anna Lang

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Annual Juried Student Show

Submissions for the annual Juried Student Show can be dropped off at the University Art Gallery (OP 1114) on Saturday, February 27 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday, February 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Truman students may enter up to 3 works and there is no submission fees. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top entries.

The exhibition of selected entries will run Tuesday, March 15 through Friday, April 14, 2016.

Ricardo Quiñónez Alemán: Within My Borders

The gallery is welcoming Truman State University’s new painting professor, Ricardo Quiñónez Alemán, by hosting his exhibition Within My Borders.

“I think coming in with an exhibition is great,” said Quiñónez. “It gives the students the opportunity to get to know me as an artist, not just their teacher.”

Before coming to Truman, Quiñónez spent two years conducting observational research at the southern border dividing El Paso, Texas from Ciudad Jáurez, Mexico. Quiñónez is from Ciudad Jáurez, and wanted to go back to his roots after spending many years living and teaching in the Midwest. He spent this time at the border researching the conflicts people face at the line dividing the two nations.

“It is a study of the problematic social events that happen on the south borders relating to politics, immigration, and religion,” said Quiñónez about Within My Borders.

Quiñónez uses painting as his mode of storytelling. He said he uses a process of underpainting and glazing from the 16th and 17th centuries. He calls his work a constant experimentation and makes modifications by applying new techniques in background lighting, layering, paint thickness, and sizing. Quiñónez loves working with a paintbrush has been inspired my many artists over the years.

“Some of my inspirations include Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, and many more,” said Quiñónez. “It is possible to see other people’s influences in my work because I admire many artists.”

Within My Borders will be on display in the main gallery form January 21 – February 26. An opening reception with refreshments will be held in the gallery on Tuesday, January 26 at 6:00 p.m. The gallery is free and open to the public.

By Anna Lang

Chandra Debuse: Fair Shares

Fair Shares by Chandra Debuse will be on display in the Truman State University Art Gallery until Friday, November 20.

In this exhibition, narrative imagery and symbols enliven ceramic forms. Debuse wanted to communicate the division of resources in everyday life. The artist used oversized hoarding jars to show abundance, flowers to symbolize the desirable assets that have been cultivated and earned through hard work, and the fencing around the jars act as protection of one’s assets from intruders.

Squirrels are one focus of this exhibition. Debuse has been working with the metaphor of squirrels as hoarders and intruders for many years. She has heard numerous stories of squirrels wreaking havoc in people’s lives — from chewing electrical wiring to stealing garden tomatoes. Recently Debuse’s house was broken into, and caused her to reflect on the mindset of an intruder.

“Making the work for Fair Shares allowed me to consider the thief’s perspective and realized that he was just helping himself to what he thought he deserved,” said Debuse. “Although I am still angry about the break-in, creating the pieces for the show helped me to feel less violated and see some twisted humor in the situation.”

In this exhibition, Debuse explores the entitlement of getting “my fair share”. She uses playful metaphors to imply the difficulty humans sometimes face when they coexist with animals in the same area. The artist hopes people will reflect on their own entitlements and the complications of sharing domestic spaces.

A unique part of this exhibition is the #CollabColoroingJar. Most viewers are restricted by time constraints and never get the chance to truly absorb gallery work. Debuse wanted to give the viewers an opportunity to get involved in her artwork.

“The #CollabColoringJar is my attempt at persuading the viewer to engage with a piece in an art gallery and perhaps best exemplifies the spirit of Fair Shares,” said Debuse.

There is a large jar with colored pencils and visitors are welcome to color on the exterior of the jar. If the contributor snaps a photo of their addition to the jar and post it to Instagram with the tag #collabcoloringjar and tags @chandradebuse, they will be entered for a chance to win the jar at the end of the exhibition. In doing this, Debuse hopes the winner of the jar will constantly be reminded of the collaboration of others and revisit the ideas of Fair Shares throughout their life.

Debuse has been working with this theme for many years, however she challenged herself technically when making these pieces. In the past, she mostly worked with porcelain, but she switched to red clay body for this project.

“A departure from my familiar clay body gave me freedom to loosen up my technical approach to building and surfacing the pieces,” said Debuse. “The work in Fair Shares is larger in scale than work I have ever made.  The red clay is warmer and adds an earthiness and a depth to the imagery that I have not previously seen in my work.”

She approaches practicality with a touch of make-believe. Naturally occurring patterns are rejuvenated in an abstract and simplified manner. Bouncing lines and frolicking animals coexist on a platform that gathers human interest. The intricacies of each individual piece can only be fully experienced in the hand of the viewer. By exploring the ceramics, observers can find many quirky traits that they may not have noticed if they were merely observing it on a shelf. This exhibition teaches viewers that an enriched life is born from moments sparked by playful imagination and respect for shared spaces.

By Anna Lang

Anna Youngyeun: I feel funny, but I like it

Truman alumna Anna Youngyeun’s I feel funny, but I like it exhibition is now on display in the cube in the Truman State University Art Gallery. This exhibit consists of fibers works and drawings that draw attention to the ambiguous boundary between feelings of comfort and discomfort. Youngyeun will return to campus on Thursday, November 19 to speak with students about her work (time TBD).

In this exhibition, Youngyeun draws from her experiences growing up in a Thai-Chinese household in Missouri. She struggled with her cultural identity because she never felt fully at home in American society, but also felt alienated from her Thai-Chinese heritage.

In attempts to quell her embarrassment, Youngyeun found that making herself vulnerable and laughing at that discomfort helped her come to terms with her identity. She discovered that awkward experiences can lead to empathy. The artist makes herself vulnerable to the viewers through her work in hopes that they too will find the confidence to be vulnerable themselves.

“The work provides opportunities to find humor in hardship and empathy in embarrassment,” said Youngyeun.

I feel funny, but I like it presents a combination of familiar and unfamiliar works in a single space. There are framed works on walls, but also tactile soft sculptures that you are encouraged to touch, lay in, or hug.

“I create sensory experiences that allude to sensations such as weightlessness, pressure, and simple gestures such as hugging or hiding,” said Youngyeun. “What is comfortable, playful, and fun can also be restrictive and oppressing.”

In the past, Youngyeun’s work has been interpreted in a variety of ways. Some people identify and connect with her pieces, while others have been confused, disinterested, or even offended.

“I hope everyone laughs at least once for some reason,” said Youngyeun when asked what she wants views to take away from her exhibition. “The rest is up to them.”

Anna Youngyeun said Truman State University’s interdisciplinary focus inspired her research and practices. Her artwork intersects with broader concepts, which permits her to explore many things at once. She looked forward to installing her works at Truman.

“I had a positive experience at Truman, and I think about it fondly,” said Youngyeun. “I also worked at the University Gallery for a scholarship job, so it’s fun to come back from the other side and install my work.”

Art became Youngyeun’s outlet after enrolling in art courses at Truman. She began taking fiber courses, which allowed her to connect with her familial history of cloth work. She was able to find common interests with her mother, which she struggled with before due to cultural and generational differences.

I feel funny, but I like it encourages people to pay attention to things that are so easily overlooked within themselves and others. In doing this, people have the potential to become more empathetic and gain a better understanding of the people around them.

By Anna Lang

Upcoming exhibitions from artists Chandra Debuse, Dana Fritz, and Anna Youngyeun

The Truman State University Art Gallery will be hosting three exhibitions from artists Dana Fritz, Anna Youngyeun, and Chandra Debuse, respectively. They will be on display from October 13 – November 20. There will be public reception on Tuesday, October 20 from 6:00-7:00pm. The gallery is free and open to the public.

Dana Fritz: Shaping Nature

Photography — in the main gallery

Shaping Nature includes two series by photographer Dana Fritz: Terraria Gigantica and Garden Views. The artist uses photography to investigate the ways in which humans display, represent, and shape nature in constructed and enclosed landscapes. Dana Fritz is Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Anna Youngyeun: I feel funny, but I like it

Drawings and fibers — in the cube

Anna Youngyeun’s exhibition I feel funny, but I like it includes drawings and fiber arts installations that use humor, play, and tactility to address issues of bodily and racial shame. The artist’s childhood experiences growing up in a Thai-Chinese family serve as the impetus for works that test the boundary between comfort and awkwardness, but which ultimately encourage empathy.

Chandra DeBuse: Fair Shares

Ceramics – in the side gallery

In her show Fair Shares, Kansas City-based ceramicist Chandra DeBuse enlivens functional pottery with whimsical narratives. Her combination of humorous creatures, natural patterns, and enticing shapes imbue a sense of playfulness and joy.

“John Bohac: A Retrospective” is now on display in the Truman State University Art Gallery

The Retrospective exhibition presents the forty-five-year artistic journey of Truman professor John Bohac. A representative selection of over fifty works demonstrate how he has grown as an artist over his lifetime. The Retrospective exhibition includes paintings, drawings, manipulated signage, and mixed-media assemblages.

Professor Bohac has always shown natural artistic talent but describes his early outlook on art as very narrow. “I viewed art as a skill and that was the extent. My early pieces reflect that,” said Bohac. After taking a few art courses at Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University), his perception of art completely changed.

“I learned that art was so much more than just skill. There is a whole other dimension to it,” said Bohac. “Art involves a lot of critical thinking.” He spends a lot of time deliberating his pieces before, during, and after their production.

Today, Professor Bohac is a wry commentator on the history of modern art. He routinely reads art journals and studies contemporary art theories and criticism. His work is often influenced by this research. “Someone will write something that will make me think in a completely different way. I’ll think about it for a while, then I might even make some art about it.” Some of his pieces embrace art theories, while others poke fun at them.

Over the course of Bohac’s career, his works have been showcased in many exhibitions. He thought it would be interesting to include information in this exhibition about where his works have been exhibited in the past. “Having it exhibited is kind of akin to having written work published,” said Bohac. Each work’s label in this exhibition includes information about previous exhibitions in which the work has appeared and, in some cases, is accompanied by postcards and brochures from those past exhibitions.

Bohac looks forward to cultivating new works too ambitious to try to balance with a teaching career. “I’d like to work on some more labor-intensive pieces because I will have more time,” said Bohac.

Both Professor John Bohac’s skill and thoughtfulness are prevalent in his Retrospective exhibition. Each work of art represents a different stage in his development as an artist over the years, and together creates a rich but concise image of forty-five years in the art field.

“New Mythologists: The Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse” and The Annual Juried Student Art Show are currently on display through April 14 at the Truman State University Art Gallery.

Featuring the works of David Mazure & the MMXII Collective and current Truman students, these exhibitions cover a wide variety of media.

New Mythologists” is a site-specific art installation that uses an experimental silkscreening process: flocked prints using recycled tire rubber shavings. This Baroque-inspired, wallpaper pattern confronts the viewer with the correlation between war and pattern.

The student show in the main gallery features recent work created by current Truman students. Pieces in the show have been selected by juror Stephanie Lanter, a faculty member at Emporia State. Students were eligible for monetary prizes awarded by the juror and two pieces were selected by the Student Union Building for purchase.

Awards were announced at the opening reception on Tuesday, March 3. Honorable Mentions went to Brenna Karoly, Megan Sorhus, Tim Whyman, Hailey Gearo, Allison Behm and Yochi Tu. “Artist’s Voice Awards” went to Rahil Gomes and Alex Eickhoff. Eickhoff’s painting was also purchased by the Student Union Building, along with one of Caroline Ticktin’s pieces. Jaqueline Wheeler was awarded First Place for Hello Letterpress and G. Gamache received “Best in Show” for The Best I’m Ever Going to Look.

Two weeks left to see “Middle Earth” and “Nothing From Something”

Current exhibits “Nothing from Something” and “Middle Earth” will be closing on February 20th in order to make way for the Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition.

The University Art Gallery will accept entries beginning at 2 pm on Tuesday, February 24 through 2 pm on Thursday, February 26. This year’s juror will be artist and Emporia State faculty member Stephanie Lanter. Lanter will be exhibiting her own art in the side gallery for the duration of the Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition and will hold a public gallery talk in the University Art Gallery at 6 pm on Thursday, February 26.

Students may submit up to 4 works created as part of their art experiences at Truman. Declined work needs to be picked up on Friday, February 27 between 9 am and noon.

A reception and awards ceremony for the Juried Student Art Show will take place at 6 pm on March 3 in the University Art Gallery. Light refreshments will be served.

Gallery events are free and open to the public so bring friends!

Opening Reception for “Middle Earth” tonight!

Please join us for the opening reception for “Middle Earth: Midwest Regional Ceramics Invitational” tonight, Tuesday, January 27 at 6:00pm in the University Art Gallery located in Ophelia Parrish on the campus of Truman State University. This event is free and open to all.

Middle Earth” highlights the works of seventeen ceramic artists from across the midwest. A rarity at Truman, this exhibit features many different ceramic forms including handbuilt figures, sculptural and thrown pieces.

Guided tours and educational programming are available for schools, churches, and other groups. Funding is available for transportation.

The exhibition opened on Thursday, January 22 and continues through February 20, 2015.

The Gallery is open Monday through Thursday, 8:30am to 7:00pm, Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm, and Saturday, noon to 4:30pm. The gallery is closed during campus holidays. For more information contact Aaron Fine at 660-785-5386 or afine@truman.edu

This program supported in part by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.