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Staniar Gallery Announces 2011-2012 Season

University’s Staniar Gallery will present eight exhibitions ranging from W&L Professor Emeritus I-Hsiung Ju to legendary pop artist Andy Warhol. The gallery, which opened in 2006, is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary and art historical works in all media by regionally, nationally and internationally recognized artists.

The season kicks off with a two-person exhibition of prints and drawings by Barbara Duval and a film installation by Meredith Root. In this exhibition, titled Abandon, the artists challenge the boundaries of their respective disciplines to explore the notion of transitional space.

Both artists capture a mysterious beauty in their work, set against the background of unnamed desolation. Duval’s paintings and prints are filled with shadow-shaped figures, often depicted in motion and inhabiting a landscape that is eerily empty and dark. Meredith Root’s 6-minute film, The Shortest Day, is a visual document of a dilapidated building in Milwaukee, Wis., which was left as an institutional dumping ground after serving various manufacturers as a factory site for over 85 years.

Barbara Duval is a professor of art at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and Meredith Root is on the faculty as director of the animation program at the Memphis School of Art. Abandon will be on view from Sept. 6 to Oct. 6.

For the second exhibition of the year, W&L welcomes back to campus Professor Emeritus I-Hsiung Ju. Professor Ju will present selections from two recent series of scroll paintings influenced by his extensive practice of traditional Chinese brush work.

Over the 20 years on the faculty, Ju won numerous awards as an educator and artist. Since retiring in 1989, Ju has developed courses and workshops on Chinese brush painting and regularly lectures on the subject. The exhibit will run from Oct. 12 through Nov. 2.

An exhibition by Minneapolis painter Michael Kareken will finish out the fall semester at Staniar Gallery running from Nov. 8 through Dec. 10. Kareken will present detailed paintings of discarded bottles, scrap metal piles and debris which reflect his use of painting to control the chaos of the urban landscape that surrounds his studio. In this series, which includes drawings and prints, Kareken develops an uncanny sense of quiet drama that unsettles ordinary associations with the subject matter he depicts: recycling centers and garbage dumps.

Since 1996 Kareken has taught at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, where he is a professor of fine arts. His work is included in the collections of The Walker Art Center, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Frederick Weisman Museum of Art and the Minnesota Historical Society, among others.

On Jan. 9, Staniar Gallery will open with the exhibition In the Event of Andy Warhol. The 2008 gift to W&L of over 150 photographs taken by legendary pop artist Andy Warhol was the impetus for this exhibition, which explores the ideas and influence of the renowned artist. To commemorate its 20th anniversary, the Warhol Foundation donated nearly 30,000 of Warhol’s Polaroids and black and white prints to more than 180 educational institutions across the country, including W&L and Roanoke College. The two institutions have collaborated to present highlights from both collections in this exhibition.

A selection of works by contemporary artists who have been inspired by Warhol will also be on display, featuring pieces by Shepard Fairey and Piper Ferguson, among others. Other components of the exhibit will be based on Warhol’s practice, including videos of student screen tests and a series of Polaroid portraits by W&L photo students. The exhibit closes on Feb. 4.

For the exhibition Painted Words-From Object to Subject, opening on Feb. 13, artist Trisha Orr presents two series of paintings examining the use of text in a visual context. Orr creates dense still lifes, using clear glass vases to distort and fragment the print on art books.

The Poem Paintings, a collaboration with her husband, the poet Gregory Orr, features excerpts of his work in a grid format. Both series explore the nuance of language and acknowledge the subjective nature of reading a painting. Trisha Orr has received individual artist fellowships from the NEA (mid-Atlantic Regional) and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Her work has been included in numerous group and museum shows nationally, and her solo exhibits have been reviewed in Art in America and The New York Times. This show will be up through March 10.

Staniar Gallery welcomes guest curator Rob McDonald for the next exhibition, Land Not Lost: Contemporary Views on Virginia Landscape, on view March 12-23. In conjunction with the Virginia General Assembly’s Commission to mark the 150th anniversary of the Commonwealth’s participation in the American Civil War, this exhibition presents contemporary artists who profess a deep connection the regional landscape. Nearly sixty percent of the fighting in the war took place on Virginia soil, which remains ingrained the collective memory of haunting conflict. The ten artists selected for this show depict their native landscape with infinite beauty and respect for its storied history. Participating artists include the late Cy Twombly, Sally Mann, Rob McDonald, Gordon Stettinius, Robert Alexander Williams, Willie Anne Wright, Ron Boehmer, Dean Dass and Ray Kass. This exhibition will be on view in connection with the 2012 Virginia Sesquicentennial Signature Conference on the Civil War at Virginia Military Institute on March 22.

The Senior Thesis exhibition will follow opening on March 27 and running through April 10. Each year, as the capstone experience in the studio art major at Washington and Lee, the graduating seniors exhibit their thesis projects in Staniar Gallery. As their debut in the art world, the exhibition is an opportunity for the young artists to create a cohesive body of work that is shown in a professional setting. The group show features a wide range of art works in various media including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and sculpture.

The final exhibition of the year will feature sculptures and drawings by Craig Pleasants. His sculptural structures blur the line between form and function, architecture and art. Based on what he calls an “aesthetics of necessity,” Pleasants uses alternative materials to expand the definition of shelter, housing, and home. In this exhibition, Pleasants will also present a series of drawings that illustrate the thought process behind his three dimensional pieces. Craig Pleasants has exhibited widely for over 30 years and has been recognized with numerous grants and fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the South Carolina Arts Commission, among others. The exhibition will be on view from April 23-May 25.

Staniar Gallery is located in Wilson Hall in the Lenfest Center, home of the departments of art, music and theatre. Artist’s talks and presentations are held with most exhibitions, which are free and open to the public. The gallery is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the academic year. More information can be found on the Staniar Gallery website: http://go.wlu.edu/staniar.