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


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.

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

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

Final 2014 exhibitions

This week is the last week to visit the University Art Gallery during 2014!

In the main gallery Seniors Carly Winchell and Alison Goeckner present their Bachelor of Arts capstone projects.

Carly’s exhibit “Life After Death” features a series of India Ink paintings created through the course of the semester.

Miss Goeckner’s exhibit, titled “Under the Sea”, features six porcelain vessels brought together by the common theme of aquatics.

“A Strong Foundation” will also be on display in the side gallery. This exhibition features work from current art students at Truman who have created exemplary works and used them as part of their major proficiency this past Fall.

These exhibits are on display until December 6.

These exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Annual Juried Student Art Show opens Tuesday, March 4

This year’s juror and exhibitor in the side gallery is Tommy Frank of Red Star Studios in the Crossroads district of Kansas City, Missouri.

Tommy Frank received his BA in Fine Art from Asbury University. Focusing on ceramics, he was awarded three sequential Artist-in-Residence opportunities at the St. Petersburg Clay Company, Archie Bray Foundation and Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts. He pursued post-baccalaureate study at the University of Florida before receiving his MFA degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He is currently the Studio Manager at Red Star Studios, part of the Belger Crane Yard Studios, where he supervises the Artist-in-Residence program, studio membership programs, community classes, workshops and studio outreach programs.

Frank has juried the Truman State University Annual Student Show, the Original Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, and the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition. He continues his studio practice at Red Star and exhibits his work nationally. He has been published in both the Kansas City star and The Pitch, as well as Architrave Magazine and Ceramics Monthly. He has received awards for his artwork, including Best of Show and First Place in Three-Dimensional Work.

The student show in the main gallery features recent work created by current Truman students. Pieces in the show have been selected by the juror and are eligible for the Student Union Building award as well as the Juror’s award. Select pieces may be for sale.

Awards will be announced at the exhibition’s opening reception on Tuesday, March 4 at 6 pm in the gallery.

The gallery is free and open to the public.

Last week of faculty exhibit and Gallery Talk with Ceramics Professor Wynne Wilbur

Wynne Wilbur will be speaking today at 4:30 in the University Gallery about her work and sabbatical in China.

Light refreshments will be served, we hope to see you there!

The Faculty Exhibition will come down on Friday, so be sure to stop in the gallery before then.

The Truman State University Art Gallery is free and open to the public.