Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Dordt College Art Collection was recently featured in SEEN Journal

The Dordt College Art Collection was recently featured in SEEN Journal, the large format, color magazine published by CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts). The theme of the issue is “Collect” and focuses on Christian individuals and institutions that collect works of art. In one article, “Bringing Out Treasures Old and New,” the first page of text overlays a full-page photo of Professor David Versluis’s 18 foot high sculpture, “Enlaced: A Burning Bush, Psalm 19.” The article, written by John Kohan, a former associate editor and correspondent for Time magazine who now curates church art exhibitions, briefly highlights the Dordt College Art Collection and the fact that nearly all of the art in its permanent collection is on display for students, campus community, and visitors to see daily.

In 2014, Kohan came to Dordt’s campus to talk about the Sadao Watanabe Collection show he had curated and that was on display in Dordt’s gallery.

“He was impressed with our collection,” says Versluis, who is the campus art curator. When Kohan was later asked to write a piece focusing on institutional art collections for this issue of SEEN, he contacted Versluis for an interview and for photos of some of Dordt’s major works. Versluis sent them. He was pleased and surprised to see the “Enlaced” photo featured prominently. He is also pleased that others are able to see a bit of the collection that he has helped build and care for and that includes a range of significant art works by respected Christian artists.

For more about the Dordt College art collection here’s a link.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL—Corita Kent exhibition at Dordt College

BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL: Dordt College is currently displaying a selection of original screen prints by Corita Kent from the collection of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles. The exhibition of 26 prints will be on display from January 6 to February 12.  In 2016 Corita Kent received the AIGA Medalist Award.

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Layered: curated by Sergio Gomez (33 Contemporay Gallery, Chicago)—David Versluis is one of the featured artists

David Versluis is recognized with this piece in the Layered international group exhibition at the 33 Contemporary Gallery, Chicago. “about to break apart”—title is from a line from a poem (see below), These Photos Now by Cynthia Nibbelink Worley. Medium: Digital Montage—Archival Pigment Print; Size: 18 x 27 inches. 2015. (gif animation indicates the Photoshop® layers used to comprise the image)

These Photos Now by Cynthia Nibbelink Worley
Looking at the photos now
They tell a different story –
The small frame house stands cold, alone
Its sagging porch, two elms I thought of once
as wondrous arms
seem weak – wasted limbs
about to break apart
My father’s work shed too, lonely – a patch
of winter’s snow
frozen on the roof
The barn, fat and warm inside I’m sure –
In these old sepia tones Phil sent upon Aunt Effie’s death, I
feel the great sadness, emptiness –
everything simple, flat, so plain
Without these pictures I idealize –
Fresh bread baking in my mother’s heavenly kitchen
The homemade Christmas tree glowing through a tiny window
Heat from a wood—burning stove –
The photos quiver with a certain reality
Wind howling through a hollow core
the heartache, precious pain
of that barren landscape
How hard we worked to make it seem more
than what it was
Cynthia (Cindy) Nibbelink Worley was born in northwestern, Iowa and is a graduate of Dordt College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Nibbelink Worley has authored two collections, Gypsies, Animals, and Wild Wild Roses. She has made New York City home for over thirty years.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Corita Kent exhibit on display at Dordt College

Corita Kent
Love, 1979
Screen Print, 20 x 20 inches
“…the ability to feel is very beautiful.” —Corita Kent

Dordt College will display a selection of original screen prints by Corita Kent from the collection of the Corita Art Center, Los Angeles. The exhibition of 26 prints will be on display from January 6 to February 12.

The exhibition has been curated by Dordt College Professor of Art David Versluis. “I attempted to select work that represents the range of Corita Kent’s typographic style and expressiveness,” says Versluis. “As a graphic design instructor for many years I’ve thought about the qualities of Corita Kent and her activist screen prints of the ’60s and ’70s. This exhibition suggests that her message and image prints are as important and relevant for us today as they were nearly 50 years ago.”

Corita Kent (Sister Mary Corita) (1918–1986), born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, was an artist, educator, and advocate for social justice. At age 18 she entered the religious order Immaculate Heart of Mary, eventually teaching in and then heading up the art department at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Her work evolved from figurative and religious to incorporating advertising images and slogans, popular song lyrics, biblical verses, and literature. Throughout the ’60s, her work became increasingly political, urging viewers to consider poverty, racism, and injustice.

In 1968 she left the order and moved to Boston. Her work evolved into a sparser, introspective style, influenced by living in a new environment, a secular life, and her battles with cancer. She remained active in social causes until her death in 1986. At the time of her death, she had created almost 800 screen print editions, thousands of watercolors, and innumerable public and private commissions.

Roy R. Behrens sent me this review of the Corita Kent catalog from the College Art Association.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Marguerite Wildenhain: her Bauhaus influence on U.S. ceramics

Marguerite Wildenhain (American, born in France, 1896-1985)
Bowl (Incised Design), 20th century, n.d.
Collection of Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth
photographs by versluis, 2015

The following is from the of the Tweed Museum of Art label:

Wildenhain was educated at the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying with Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy, and Feininger, among others, and worked in the industry of ceramic design. After moving to the United States, she rejected mass production and advocated a return to hand-made craftsmanship. Through her writing, teaching, and artwork, she was a major force in bringing the Bauhaus aesthetic to the American ceramic scene.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Perhaps this is a Leonard Baskin image?

Over 30 years ago I received a framed original print in exchange for curatorial services. The print had been in the collection of a person at Smith College in Northampton Mass. This label was on the dust cover which suggests a very interesting history. Perhaps this is a Leonard Baskin image? If it’s not then another artist was influenced by Baskin. Baskin taught sculpture and printmaking at Smith College from 1953 until 1974.

label size: 2 x 2.25 inches.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Backgrounded—Identity Sightings by Rick Valicenti

Installation views: Backgrounded: Identity Sightings by Rick Valicenti, Artist-in-Residence, Loyola University, Chicago, 2016-17 (iPhone photographs, Translucent window vinyl).
Out of focus yet pres­ent — [persons] behind those captioned in the NY Times, 2013–16. From the exhibition: (maybe) THIS TIME at Loyola University Ralph Arnold Gallery. (the exhibition has ended. photographs courtesy of Thirst/3st)

From the exhibition prospectus: “Not everyone is the focus of media attention. This portraiture looked on those positioned behind captioned subjects featured in the NY Times.”

Having seen this show in October I’ve pondered this piece:

The correlation of recognition and memory—
For his solo exhibition at Loyola, Valicenti works within the neutral wall color of the gallery space while brilliantly utilizing the picture window of the gallery to reach out to those on the street and audiences beyond the gallery. Galleries tend to disengage artifacts from the outside world, but Valicenti as both artist and curator does not circumvent the gallery. Instead he projects its contents to the public, which is quite amazing.

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