Martin Museum of Art Will Host Ceramics and Printmaking Exhibitions

Jan. 14, 2011

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An ordinary cafeteria tray, old bank notes, unkempt weeds and worn-down industrial machines all take on new meaning this month.

Baylor University's Martin Museum of Art will present two new exhibitions of abstract art Jan. 18 to Feb. 26. They are free and open to the public.

Gallery I will feature ceramics created by clay expert Phillip Ahnen. Ahnen explores a 20th-century industrialized theme which draws upon his extensive background in pottery.

Gallery II's exhibition will showcase printmaking, primarily through the works of Andrew DeCaen, Kent Rush and Dennis Olsen. Each artist has displayed his artwork globally.

"Every artist and every art piece is different," Martin Museum Educational Coordinator Adriel Greene said. "I think understanding each of the artists before viewing their work can be helpful to the viewer."

Andrew DeCaen's newest portfolio series, titled Metabolism, creates an abstract view of food science and the everyday act of eating. He focuses on self-awareness in a consumerist society. His most recent images, products of his Vermont Studio summer residency, abstractly depict what would otherwise be an ordinary cafeteria tray.

An assistant professor of art and printmaking for the University of North Texas in Denton, DeCaen also masters the art of juxtaposition by attempting to create a stark contrast between the organic nature of food and the artificial construct of commercial packaging.

Kent Rush, who teaches at the University of Texas at San Antonio, also capitalizes on the distortion of mundane objects. He has described his style as form over detail - meaning the emotions one feels is based on the viewer.

"Much like music, you are either moved by the art piece, or you are not," Greene explained.

Dennis Olsen, also a University of Texas at San Antonio professor, teaches printmaking, drawing, and digital media. He will present intaglio-type prints in his series called Samplings.

Based on bank note engravings from around the world, his prints manipulate distinguishable facial characteristics ¬¬- so much so that "the personalities of these figures are a mystery to me, and therefore I cannot interpret their meaning beyond giving them names," he stated on his website.

Greene believes visitors will enjoy the exhibitions even more if they research the artists before viewing their art.

"Many of the artists you meet at the museum are very passionate about their work," she said. "It is amazing to be able to experience their artwork first-hand and up-close."

The Martin Museum of Art is in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center at 60 Baylor Ave. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, visit Baylor.edu/martinmuseum or call 254-710-1867.

by Susie Typher, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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