* Purdue University Galleries

August 24, 2007

Purdue Galleries offers new season of exhibits

"Branch," 2001
Download photo
caption below

A pair of exhibitions in the Purdue University Galleries new season will examine historical presence and the preservation of personal hope and memory.

"Deborah Muirhead: Fly Away" will be presented Aug. 27 to Oct. 7 in the Stewart Center Gallery.

"For some 20 years, Muirhead has created images she describes as a 'collaboration of genealogical research, African-American literature and history to create fictional narratives that investigate historical invisibility,'" said Craig Martin, director of Purdue University Galleries. "Her paintings, drawings, prints and artist books explore the use of archeological findings, particularly the colonial-era African burial ground in lower Manhattan, and her investigations of personal genealogy as their impetus."

Her large-scale paintings create an atmosphere for the fragmented body; text based paintings and drawings use names and word fragments to engage the viewer in thoughts about language, writing, oral history and storytelling; artist books attempt to personalize history through the combination of photographic image and non-linear text fragments, constructing narratives that are beautiful and subversive, Martin said.

Muirhead has exhibited throughout the country, and her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hearst Fellowship, a New England Foundation for the Arts Grant and a Yaddo Fellowship. She is a faculty member of the University of Connecticut.

At 5:30 p.m. Aug. 30, Muirhead will present a lecture on her work in Stewart Center, Room 322. A reception will follow the lecture in the Stewart Center Gallery.

"The Beaded Prayers Project"
Download photo
caption below

From Sept. 4 to Oct. 7, "The Beaded Prayers Project" will be displayed in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery in the Purdue Memorial Union.

This community-centered, collaborative outreach project is based on an African tradition of sealed amulets containing powerful contents such as sacred text and medicines. It seeks to bring together people of many cultures, creeds and ethnicities through the physical manifestation of collaborative art, Martin said.

The artist curator of the exhibit, Sonya Clark, will present a hands-on workshop to introduce the concept of beaded prayer packets. The packets each contain a secret wish, question or prayer sealed within. Participants will create two packets; one to keep and one to become part of the ever-growing traveling exhibition. The beaded prayers are mounted on numerous panels measuring 2 feet by 2 feet, which are mounted around the gallery walls. Initiated in 1999, the project currently includes more than 4,500 packets from 35 nations.

Martin said Clark's inspiration for the project came from African amulets, the shared word history of "bead" and "prayer" (the Old English word "biddan" meant "to ask or to pray"), collaborative artworks like the Names Project Foundation's AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the power of secrecy.

Her awards include the Philip Morris Fellowship, research grants from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Ford Foundation Grant and being named Red Gate Artist in Residence in Beijing, China. She is a faculty member of Virginia Commonwealth University.

At noon Sept. 13, Clark will present a brown bag lecture on her work in the Ringel Gallery. A reception for the artist will be held later that day at 5:30 p.m. in the gallery, immediately followed by a beaded prayers workshop for registered participants. To register, contact Mary Ann Anderson at (765) 496-7899; space will be limited.

"The Beaded Prayers Project" (detail)
Download photo
caption below

Other future Galleries exhibits include:

* "Dried – Cracked – Wet – Dripping – Blooming: Installations by Charles A. Gick," Oct. 22 to Dec. 2, in the Stewart Center Gallery. Gick, an associate professor of art and design in Purdue's Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts, has exhibited his interdisciplinary installations nationally and internationally. Purdue Galleries is featuring several of his installations to highlight the faculty member and locally raised artist on his own campus and community. Gick said his hybrid installations "explore the intersections between memory, the body, our emotions and the sensory experience that we share with the natural environment, attempting to expose the fertility and futility of human communications."

* "Does Gender Still Matter?" Oct. 22 to Dec. 2, in the Ringel Gallery. In response to a national call for artworks examining the role of gender in contemporary society, "Does Gender Still Matter?" includes constructs of masculinity, femininity, androgyny, etc., from seven artists. "This exhibit features transsexual photo portraits; "Dude, it's Superman" gum bichromate prints; ghostly stitched C-prints of full-length figures; mockingly sweet sculptural installations representing a tomboy-huntress fantasy; anonymous clothed figure imagery; an emasculated pink toy truck sculpture; a narcissistic body self-examination video; and imaginative cartoon-like heroic toy amalgams," Martin said.

* "Insights into Suburbia," Jan. 8 to Feb. 18, in the Ringel Gallery. This exhibit showcases contemporary women artists whose works convey physical, social and cultural perceptions about contemporary suburbia. Included are 55 paintings, drawings, photographs and mixed media works by 27 artists who explore the facts and myths of the suburban experience. This juried exhibition is co-sponsored by the National Association of Women Artists, the oldest professional women's fine arts organization in the United States, which was founded in 1889, and the Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges, New York.

* "Sixty Square Inches: 16th Biennial North American Small Print Exhibition," Jan. 8 to Feb. 18, in the Stewart Center Gallery. Purdue Galleries are again hosting the biennial Sixty Square Inches competitive biennial exhibition of small-scale contemporary printmaking. This year's exhibit will provide the 16th review of North American graphic artists working in an intimate format. The Galleries periodic printmaking exhibits feature hands-on relief printing demonstrations and presentations on the history and development of printmaking for the regional K-12 educational community.

* "Ken Rinaldo: Robotic Installations," March 3 to April 20, in both the Ringel and Stewart Center Galleries. Rinaldo, an associate professor of art and technology at Ohio State University, has achieved international acclaim for his interactive robotic sculptures and installations. "The Autotelematic Spider Bots" will be presented in the Stewart Center Gallery. An undetermined similar exhibit will be presented concurrently in the Ringel Gallery. The Spider Bots are 10 spider-like sculptures that "see" with long-distance ultrasonic eyes and communicate with each other through Bluetooth communications technology. Rinaldo's works have been exhibited in England, Brazil, Norway and Japan, as well as the United States.

On Sept. 12, Purdue Galleries will hold its seventh annual Art Teacher Professional Day. Art teachers in area K-12 programs are invited for a daylong session describing the upcoming year of exhibitions and events, including a presentation on the "Beaded Prayers" exhibit and a beaded prayers workshop conducted by Clark, the artist curator. Discussion also will include the potential for Galleries involvement in on-site class presentations and educational outreach activities.

The Robert L. Ringel Gallery and the Stewart Center Gallery are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday; and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. For class or group visits, contact Mary Ann Anderson from Purdue Galleries, at (765) 496-7899. All Purdue Galleries exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

Writer: Christy Jones, (765) 494-1089,

Source: Craig Martin, (765) 494-3061,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Deborah Muirhead, "Branch," 2001, oil on canvas, 60 inches by 72 inches (Photo courtesy of the artist)

A publication-quality photo of "Branch" is available at

Sonya Clark, "The Beaded Prayers Project," installation view at The Baltimore Museum of Art, 2004 (Photo courtesy of the artist)

 A publication-quality photo of "Branch" is available at

Sonya Clark, "The Beaded Prayers Project," installation view (detail) at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 2004 (Photo courtesy of the artist)

 A publication-quality photo of "Branch" is available at

To the News Service home page

Newsroom Search Newsroom home Newsroom Archive