Indiana State University Newsroom

University Art Gallery exhibition season features two major exhibitions

September 25, 2009

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State University's Art Gallery will participate in a two-day event about public art and host two major exhibitions during this academic year in addition to serving as a venue to display student artwork.

The University Art Gallery, along with Art Spaces, Inc., Swope Art Museum and the ISU art department will present a two-day event on public art in America Oct. 1 and 2.

In conjunction with "Art in the Public Sphere," Erika Doss, chairperson of the department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will lecture on art produced during Roosevelt's New Deal (1933-45).

A reception will be held beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, located on the corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets. Doss's lecture, titled "Picturing New Deal America: Visual Art and the National Identity, 1933-45," will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Center's Recital Hall.

Doss's primary teaching and research interests lie in the areas of modern and contemporary American art history and material/visual cultures. She is the author of numerous publications including Benton, Pollock, and the Politics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism (1991), Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities (1995), Elvis Culture: Fans, Faith, and Image (1999), Looking at Life Magazine (editor, 2001), and Twentieth-Century American Art (2002). She is currently writing the books Memorial Mania: Self, Nation, and the Culture of Commemoration in Contemporary America and Picturing Faith: Twentieth-Century American Artists.

Doss will join sculptor Douglas Kornfeld, Julia Muney Moore, public art administrator for Blackburn Architects in Indianapolis, and Melissa Vandenburg, assistant professor of foundations at Eastern Kentucky University, in a panel discussion about public art. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, begins at 12:10 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Mary Fendrich Hulman Gallery at the Swope Art Museum.

The University Art Gallery will host "Re(Search): Exploring the Relationship Between Art & Science Between Art and Science" from Oct. 12-Nov. 13.

"Re(Search)" will feature works by artists Steve Aishman, Ronald Leax, Brian Nelson, Sara Mast and Kathryn Refi.

Aishman is represented by Soloman Projects, an Atlanta-based gallery. He has a lengthy exhibition history spanning the globe. He is currently chair of the photography department at the Savannah College of Art & Design, Atlanta campus. Featured in this exhibition is his work Super Flowers, a photographic series that explores his manipulation of the cycle of life by grafting flowers together with contrasting species.

Leax, represented by the Phillip Stein Gallery in St. Louis, has taught at Washington University since 1986 and is a pioneer in the use of art to explore ecological issues. A prolific sculptor, many of his works evolve, grow, corrode, decay and mature with time. He currently serves as Dean of the College & Graduate School of Art at Washington University.

Nelson has been active in the Detroit area as an inspired artist and teacher for many years and is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture at Eastern Michigan University. His work is founded on the dichotomy he has discovered between the basic but complex processes of life. He references a struggle between science and nature or sterility and life by using materials such as stainless steel tables, cast lead, test tubes, oxygen tanks, DNA, Petri dishes of live organisms and images of trees swaying in the wind or clouds passing. He is known for his unique ability to combine refined craftsmanship and complex emotional and conceptual ideas into solid and fluid sculpture.

Mast has exhibited extensively throughout the United States in addition to receiving many coveted grants, awards and residencies. Her highly textured paintings conjure up direct correlations with geography, space, location, constellations and mapping. She is an assistant professor of drawing, painting and Foundations at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Refi, also represented by Soloman Projects, lives and works in Athens, GA, while exhibiting her unique style of painting and drawing around the country. Her work, Color Recordings, measures the artist's exposure to light through video and software developed for the project. The paintings illustrate the common daily progression from dark to light and back again, illustrating human sleep/wake patterns.

A public reception will be held Thursday, Oct. 15, from 5-7pm at the Cunningham Memorial Library. Refi will discuss the relationship between art and science during a lecture that evening at 5:30 p.m. in the events area of the library.

Nature will come to the Gallery Feb. 18-March 25, 2010 when an exhibition by Mara Adamitz Scrupe is on display.

Scrupe, a rural Virginia-based artist, brings nature to the city to help reconnect urban dwellers with the land they tread on. Through indoor and outdoor installations, she explores the complex juncture of nature and technology merging ethnobotany with renewable energy systems.

Scrupe's exhibition, "How to Make a Place in this World," includes a mix of photographs, large scale drawings, writings, sculptural forms and video pieces that create a sense of home and family and a sense of cultural identity. The exhibit is based on her personal experiences living in rural America for the past 20 years.

An opening reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 18 from 5-7 p.m. in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. Scrupe will talk about her work during a lecture later that evening at 5:30 p.m. in the Center's Recital Hall.

Her past works involved more playful hybrids of technology and natural forms and included constructing enormous, illuminated vegetables forms in Lithuania to address bioengineering and critique fossil fuel use, and merging 300 porcelain light fixtures with drywall compound in a solar-powered "Hornet's Nest" to depict the overthrow of an abandoned construction site.

Scrupe received her BA in French from Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota and the MFA in Sculpture from Bard College in New York. She has received over 150 grants, fellowships, exhibitions, residencies, and awards for her site projects and installations, performances, interventions, drawings, and artist-made books. She has published various essays, articles, and reviews in important art journals and magazines, and she has been invited to speak on art issues and topics for the College Art Association, Southeast College Art Conference, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Women's Caucus for Art; and the Environmental Film Festival, Washington, DC.

The University Art Gallery is located in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts on the southwest corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday from 11am-4pm and Thursday from 11am-7pm. For additional information please call 812-237-3720.


Contact: Erin Caldwell, Interim Director-University Art Gallery, 812-237-3787 or

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or