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

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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.

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.

January 2014 Gallery Events

While the semester has just begun, the gallery is already in full swing! Here’s a list of our upcoming events for the month

  • The exhibit currently on display in the side gallery, “A Strong Foundation” features strong student work from recent department proficiency exhibitions. A closing reception will be held at 4:30 on January 16th.
  • Minnesota artist Jill Waterhouse will be speaking this week in the gallery about her works in the upcoming Truman exhibit “Apocalyptic.”The talks will be held tomorrow, January 16 at 9:15 am and Friday, January 17 at 11:30 am.
  • The “Apocalyptic” and “Post Apocalyptic” exhibitions will open in the gallery on Wednesday, January 22. An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, January 28 at 6 pm in the gallery. Celebrate with us and enjoy complimentary refreshments.
  • Truman alumna Lori Nix will speak in the gallery about her exhibition “Post Apocalyptic” on January 27. The time will be announced in another blog and Facebook post soon.

Exhibit of Famous Illustrations to open this week

“An Illustrated Life: A Retrospective of the Life and Works of David Grove”  is an exhibit on loan from the Museum of American Illustration that will be on display in the Truman State University Art Gallery October 16 through November 15.  Illustrator David Grove provides new insights into familiar tales and movies, such as “Pale Rider” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” This exhibit also features commissions done by Grove for famous writers John Le Carré and Joyce Carol Oates.

An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, October 22 at 6:00pm in the University Art Gallery located in Ophelia Parrish 1114 on the campus of Truman State University. “Fatal Consequences of Terror’s Bloody War – Artworks by Kansas City artist Nicholas Naughton” will also be on exhibition at this time in the side gallery.

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.

An Illustrated Life: A Retrospective of the Life and Works of David Grove has been organized by the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators.