Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nick Cave Soundsuit Invasion comes to Purdue

I hope that during all of the recent events on campus you were able to partake in the Nick Cave Soundsuit Invasion that paraded its way through Springfest.  If you are not familiar with the work of Nick Cave (fine artist, not the musician) he is world renown for his Soundsuits that span the mediums of sculpture, costume, and performance.  Purdue University, through its Lonsford Endowment Fund, has purchased two sculptural Soundsuits that will be on permanent display in Pao Hall by Fall 2015.  In combination with this purchase, Purdue invited Nick Cave to work with the Purdue Contemporary Dance Company for a Soundsuit Invasion right here during SpringFest.

Nick met with the Purdue Contemporary Dance Company Friday night to walk the route before coming to back to the dance studio and putting on the Soundsuits.  You could feel the excitement in the air (and hear the drums in the room - provided by faculty and student musicians) as they put on their suits for the first time.

The color and movement of these suits is fascinating, but equally interesting is the way each dancer found their balance, weight and their spirit within each suit.  They discussed among themselves (while dancing) the visual differences of subtle vs. grand gestures, the shifts in weight they needed move comfortably, all while embracing the beat of the room. The energy was contagious and it is that energy that continued to grow during Saturday's performance.

As the performers weaved their way through SpringFest, adults and kids alike joined in the fun.  Faculty, students, family and friends joined in the celebration of the Soundsuit Invasion through a variety of cheers, pictures, and dancing!

Image Credit: Mark Simons for Purdue Marketing and Media
Image Credit: Mark Simons for Purdue Marketing and Media
Purdue Galleries was able to have one of the purchased Soundsuits on hand in the Ringel Gallery for visitors to see up close!

If you were unable to make it there are video clips and images floating around the internet via FB, IG and Twitter under the hashtag #NickCavePurdue and there will be video footage posted soon from Purdue Marketing and Media.  What a great way to introduce spring, make a splash with the arts on campus, and let everyone know about the suits to be installed in Pao Hall.  Be sure to stop by!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Changing Landscapes: Works by Amy Alice Thompson, Matthew Shelley and Zaria Forman

If you haven't had a chance to visit the galleries this spring, be sure to stop by Robert L. Ringel Gallery in the Stewart center before April 25th.  The current exhibition titled Changing Landscapes and features work by three artists Amy Alice Thompson, Matthew Shelley, and Zaria Forman.  This exhibition has been curated by Liz Erlewine and Lisa Wicka of Purdue Galleries.

"While considering historical landscape paintings, drawings and prints from Purdue Galleries' permanent collection, we decided to curate an exhibition that would provide a view of contemporary approaches to the landscape.  We chose the work displayed here not only for their compelling visuals, but also for the way the works reveal the human element of the land.  In these images we see the artist's attempt to understand their environment, to experience it, to become part of it, and even to change it" -Liz Erlewine & Lisa Wicka

Canadian artist Amy Alice Thompson's nostalgia-laced mixed media works reconstruct and contextualize the land as place.  Working with found imagery of western North America from the 1940s and '50s, Thomspon explores collective memory through transcendental imagery and a dramatic manipulation of space.

Matthew Shelley, originally from the Pacific Northwest and now based in Philadelphia, pays with design concepts to reimagine the natural world.  Beginning with photographs of large expansive landscapes, Shelley crops the image down to small geometric shapes, creating a new understanding of space.

Brooklyn-based Zaria Forman creates powerful and skillfully rendered pastel drawings exploring changing sea levels from the Greenland icebergs to the Maldives coastline.  The images provide a globally conscious yet personal interpretation of our changing world.  Zaria was available to attend the reception of this exhibition and discussed how she came about making this work, her emotional connection to these places, and her process of creating these large scale pastel drawings.

Video of her talk will be made available soon and a link provided in this post.

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:

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!