Friday, March 20, 2015

Natural Places: A NICHES Anniversary

Currently up in the Fountain Gallery is an exhibition celebrating the 20th year anniversary of the NICHES Land Trust.

“NICHES” stands for “Northern Indiana Citizens Helping Ecosystems Survive.” It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation formed in 1995 by a diverse group of concerned people acting to protect natural spaces in the face of increasing threat. It recognizes that a strong economy and a continued high quality of life in our area of Indiana is ultimately dependent upon and related to the state of our environment.

NICHES is non-adversarial. It works cooperatively with land owners, other nonprofit organizations and government agencies, actively seeking to protect a broad array of natural areas ranging from small green spaces to pristine nature preserves of high biological integrity. NICHES serves Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Howard, Jasper, Montgomery, Pulaski, Newton, Tippecanoe, Warren, and White Counties. It is a member of The Land Trust Alliance, the national organization of land trusts.

Artist Glenn Chang has been contracted to create a swerves of 20 photos depicting NICHES Land Trust preserves throughout the seasons.  These will be displayed throughout the celebration, traveling to various venues after the initial showing at the Purdue Fountain Gallery.  Rensselaer artist Bonnie Zimmer has also created a natural materials installation in the space that will complement Chang's photos.

What Will You Remember When I'm Gone?

Charles Pansirna was the go-to photographer in Chicago’s Lithuanian community between 1916 and 1953. His portraits of weddings, babies, and funerals were the pride of immigrants building a life in America. It can be detected in shots of workers at their factory jobs, families at leisure in the park, or portraits of WWI soldiers dressed to go “over there.” Decidedly, these photos were taken for remembrance, but what is it that we recall? This exhibition examines a cross-section of the 1500+ Pansirna photos housed at Purdue Galleries in order to answer that question.

Two contemporary photographers have been invited to show their work as a compliment and counterpoint to the narrative of pride and tradition. Artist Owen Mundy examines his “military family tree” through its military portraits, revealing the construction of military family imagery. Min Kim Park’s postmodern mother-daughter portraits question how much traditional portraiture leaves off the record. Pansirna’s photos give us much to recall from history, but upon close examination we begin to wonder just how much we have forgotten.

This exhibition was curated by Rosanne Altstatt, who will be giving a gallery talk, "Developing the Photo's Memory," Nov 6th @5:30pm followed by a reception.

See an interview with Rosanne Altstatt and Wei-Huan Chen of the Lafayette Journal and Courier here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Artist Talk: Leah Yerpe

On Thursday evening, Sept. 11th, artist Leah Yerpe gave a talk about her current exhibition, Constellations in The Robert L. Ringel Gallery in Stewart Center.

Leah Yerpe during her artist talk in Robert L. Ringel Gallery

Leah's interests stem from dance, body language and how the figure is used in mythology.  During her talk, Yerpe discusses her attraction to the shapes that the each body makes through posture, comfort and circumstance. Yerpe invites her models to move, with as little guidance as possible, in a way similar to interpretive dance while Yerpe photographs them quickly.  She then creates a library of cut out figures to digitally mock up out compositional ideas.  Certain poses, movements, or the shape made when the figures interact remind her of mythological stories and legends. She explained that in Greek Mythology figures are often turned into constellations, an idea that is both beautiful and disturbing at the same time, a duality she tries to capture in her work.  To see more of her work see her website at

To see write ups about this exhibition:

*Leah Yerpe's talk was recorded and will be made available soon.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Artist Talk: Jenny Morgan

This semester has been off to a great start.  This month we have had both Jenny Morgan and Leah Yerpe come to campus for an artist talk/reception.

Christine Wuenschel (left) Assistant Professor of Drawing and Jenny Morgan (right).
Christine and Purdue Galleries worked together to bring Jenny Morgan to Fountain Gallery.
Jenny Morgan's exhibition Transcendental Supra-mental, is currently up in the Fountain Gallery downtown now through October 11th.

On Sept. 4th Jenny Morgan came to Fountain Gallery and gave an artist talk on the growth of her work and the pieces currently hanging on the gallery walls.  She began the discussion with a piece she completed in high school, and even then her fascination with the human figure is evident.  She discussed the importance of her personal comfort with her own body and her interest in the existence that transcends the body in the form of auras, relationships and spiritual energy. That energy is something that is made visible in her work through use of transitional color, glowing halos, small orbs that exist around the body, and the selective blurring/sanding of the figures. These technical approaches set her apart from traditional portrait painting, but instead invite a contemporary lens that allows us to reflect on the fluidity of our own existence.

See coverage of this exhibition and artist talk below:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Living Graphic Novel Contest Winner

Congratulations to Alexandra Dewitt who won our Living Graphic Novel Photo Contest!  Thanks to Robots and Rogues: New and Used books for donating a copy of "A Wrinkle in Time"! Congratulations Alexandra and thank you to everyone that participated!

Winning Photo!

Fall Exhibitions @ Purdue Galleries

We are ready for the new semester and excited to bring these great exhibitions to Purdue.  

Stay tuned for more details, but start marking your calendars now!  Starting September 2nd we will have Transcendental Supra-mental, oil paintings by Jenny Morgan, in Fountain Gallery and Constellations, drawings by Leah Yerpe in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery.  Both exhibitions challenge both the figure and scale in a unique way, be sure to stop by and take a look.   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Living Graphic Novel Photo Contest!!

This week marked the opening of one of our latest exhibitions, Living Graphic Novel: Education, Collaboration and Outreach through the Comics.  This exhibition, currently in the Fountain Gallery downtown, is an example of some of the work done through a collaborative arts program by Purdue Galleries and Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.  Living Graphic Novel offers the opportunity for participants to write, illustrate and appear in short stories in the style of graphic novels or comic books.

For the past two years, the LGN project has been supported in part by Arts Education in American Communities grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.  This exhibition documents the individual projects accomplished during that grant period.

Visitors to the exhibition have the opportunity to interact with a backdrop on display using costumes, props and speech bubbles to stage and photograph their own graphic stories.

Since this exhibition documents and encourages a wide variety of community participation, we have decided to create an online photo contest lasting the duration of the show.  We are encouraging visitors to use the backdrops, props and speech bubbles to stage their own photograph, then post the photo to instagram/facebook/twitter using the hashtag #LIVINGGRAPHICNOVEL  The photo with the most likes will receive a feature on this blog and receive a special prize.  You can follow the progress of the competition and see some featured entries on Facebook at  We are excited to see the results - feel free to stop by and get creative!  Our gallery attendant Rita is already on her way!