Purdue Galleries presents a 'Big Fat Scary Deal' and an 'INTRO' to its collection

October 8, 2013  

Mende Bundu Helmet Mask

Mende Bundu Helmet Mask, wood, pigment, fiber, metals, glass beads, Sierra Leone, mid 20th century (Purdue Galleries Permanent Collection)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –Purdue University Galleries this month will open two new exhibits -  one an examination of scary art - and the other a selection of artwork from their own collection, selected and commented on by community members.

"BFSD (Big Fat Scary Deal)" will be presented from Oct. 21 through Dec. 7 in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery in Stewart Center.

Challenging the assumption that equates art's quality with its beauty and with appealing imagery, "Big Fat Scary Deal" presents an exhibition of 20 contemporary artists whose work is dedicated to the edgy, weird, unsettling and scary. Attractive on a formal level but disturbing in realized subject matter, these works stretch and question the relevance of aesthetic beauty and our preconceived notions of "fitting" artistic subjects.

Selections were made from nationwide submissions by Elizabeth K. Mix, associate professor of art history at Butler University; Tess Cortés, coordinator of the Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries at Wright State University; and Craig Martin, director of Purdue University Galleries.

In her essay for the exhibition, Mix says art has the ability to reveal our fears and address them, in many cases through laughter. "This need for fear to stimulate laughter is a staple in our contemporary culture, epitomized by the 'Scream' movie franchise. We should not feel guilty when we laugh, though, for our laughter is "an involuntary response to situations which cannot be handled any other way, regardless of the sophistication of the audience." (Geoffrey Harpham, "The Grotesque: First Principles," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 34 (1974)"

Stranger in Town porcelain

Margaret Jeckor, "Stranger in Town," porcelain, clay, 1980. (Purdue Galleries Permanent Collection) 
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Included in the exhibit are artworks in a wide array of media by: Wayne Bertola, Chicago; Gabriella Boros, Skokie, Ill.; Bridgette Broughman, Alexandria, Va.; Kathy Bruce, New York City; Maria DiFranco, Columbus, Ohio; James Dykes, Seattle; Kristen Gallerneaux, San Diego; Christopher Gideon, Royal Oak, Mich.; Sean Gill, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Kelsey Hall, Oconomowoc, Wis.; William Harroff, Edwardsville, Ill.; Michael Hecht, New Bedford, Mass.; Marina Kuchinski, Wheaton, Ill.; Fred Lisaius, Newcastle, Wash.; Joshua Myers, Mishawaka, Ind.; Amber Prouty, Missoula, Mont.; Reagan D. Pufall, San Francisco; Jake Reller, Bellingham, Wash.; Lindsay Taylor, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Jave Yoshimoto, Alva, Okla.

From 5:30-7 p.m., Oct 30, Purdue Galleries will host an opening reception for the "Big Fat Scary Deal" exhibition in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery in Stewart Center. The event features free mask-making activities presented by volunteers from the Purdue Student chapter of the National Art Education Association.

"INTRO" will be presented from Oct. 22 through Dec. 7 in the new Fountain Gallery in downtown Lafayette.

As its title suggests, this exhibit will serve as an introduction to the local community, as Galleries has recently stepped off the campus footprint and created a new gallery presence in the Perrin Building in downtown Lafayette. The "INTRO" exhibition features artworks from the Purdue Galleries collection that have been selected and commented on by a group of community contributors. Their personal responses are shared alongside the artwork so visitors get a less formal perspective on these valuable works, based on comments from people in the Lafayette-West Lafayette community. 

Purdue Galleries director Craig Martin invited a number of people active in the arts to make selections of their favorite works in the collection, or works that had personal appeal to them. They were then asked to write brief statements about the works, emphasizing their honest personal reactions. 

"How did the work make you feel when you first saw it? What does its subject or message mean to you?  And, yes, what does your knowledge of the artist or the work's origin (if you happen to know these) contribute to your appreciation?"

Participants were encouraged to speak expressively and even poetically about their choices. The resulting narratives will be displayed with the artwork, providing a unique perspective for a visitor that isn't dependent upon art historical analysis, but rather on personal reflection. 

From 6- 7 p.m., Oct. 24, Purdue Galleries will host an opening reception for the "INTRO" exhibition at the Fountain Gallery in downtown Lafayette.

The Robert L. Ringel Gallery is located in Stewart Center on the main campus of Purdue University.  The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and until 8 p.m. Thursdays. 

The Fountain Gallery is located at 330 Main Street, Lafayette, in the historic Perrin Building. The gallery is open noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.  

All Purdue Galleries exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. For class and group visits, contact Craig Martin at Purdue Galleries at 765-494-3061. For more information, visit http://www.purdue.edu/galleries  

Contact: Craig Martin, 765-494-3061, cdmartin@purdue.edu

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