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Jan. 15, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Nightingale Gallery opens 2021 with an exhibition of recently created work by Eastern Oregon University art faculty. The biennial “Faculty Exhibition” opens at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
“It is always satisfying to exhibit with my department colleagues,” said Cory Peeke, EOU art professor and Director of the Nightingale Gallery. “It is even more so now at this time when we are all socially distanced. I think we all take a bit of pleasure and comfort in the fact that at least our work can physically come together and meaningfully engage with our campus community during this unprecedented time.”
The exhibit showcases recent studio work by the four full-time members of the EOU Art Department: Peeke, painter Susan Murrell, sculptor Nathan Prouty and photographer Michael Sell. The exhibit promises to provide insight into the most recent studio practices of the four artists as they grapple with the uncertain state of the world amid COVID19.
“The pandemic has only strengthened my belief in art as a powerful tool for both communication between and communion with people,” Peeke said.
Aligning with campus health and safety measures, no opening reception will be held and only on-campus students, faculty and staff may attend the exhibit. Masks are required for entry to the gallery and social distancing will be enforced with limited numbers of patrons admitted at a time.
Peeke will exhibit a selection of his latest collages that employ the use of a variety of adhesive tapes, charcoal and found images. He said his collages are a rumination on anxiety, obsession, memory, loss and the quest to transcend the past even while the reminiscence of it still lingers.
Murrell will present a selection of new paintings that focus on the universal and personal process of experiencing presence through absence—a struggle to know a thing from the hole it has left behind after it is gone. Her paintings were created as a meditation on passageways, life transitions, and the constancy of matter.
Prouty presents viewers with engaging objects that are both playful and full of anxious energy. Prouty’s work features ceramic sculpture and new wall-hung experiments in resin and plastic that are inspired by such diverse ideas as tchotchkes, excess, sparkle, pleasure, and depression.
Sell’s photographic images have emerged from, and document, his personal routine since the COVID-19 pandemic began. That routine becomes less “something to do” than “something that is.” Sell said his photographs ground him in the present as the passage of time during quarantine becomes even more abstract.
“My favorite part of this biennial exhibit is getting to see the new work of my colleagues. While we are a close-knit department, it is rare (and doubly rare during these times) that we get a chance to view each other’s work, especially a large body of it, in-person,” Peeke said. “It always makes me feel a bit like a kid on Christmas morning. I love being surprised by all the creative, insightful work my colleagues have been producing over the last couple years.”
See the exhibit through Friday, Feb. 12, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, go to eou.edu/art or follow the Nightingale Gallery on Facebook and Instagram.
To request images of artwork for publication or to schedule a Zoom interview with the artists please contact Gallery Director Cory Peeke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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