Celebration of Women’s History Month at Bay College Art Galleries

Bay College in celebration of Women’s History Month announces the Artist Talk/Panel Lecture Discussion and Reception. Artwork by, Judith Brotman, Diana Magnuson and Catherine Ruhl Benda.  The work will be exhibited in both the Besse and Hartwig Galleries and the Panel Lecture and discussion will be in the Besse Theater.
Photo Caption: Judith Brotman, Slow Time. Mixed media installation.
Judith Brotman is an interdisciplinary artist and educator from Chicago.  Brotman received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Fiber and Material Studies. Her work includes mixed media installations and theatrical immersive environments which occupy a space between sculpture and drawing. More recent work incorporates language/text based conceptual projects which are also meditations on the possibility of transformation.  Brotman has exhibited extensively in Chicago and throughout the US.  Exhibitions include: Threewalls, Chicago Cultural Center, Hyde Park Art Center, Gallery 400, Illinois State Museum, The Bike Room, INOVA, the DeVos Art Museum, Hampshire College, Smart Museum of Art, SOFA Chicago, The Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Brotman has taught at as a Harper Fellow at The University of Chicago and currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Artist Statement:
My interdisciplinary work includes large-scale immersive sculpture environments, stitched and altered book pages, and language-based conceptual projects. Common to all my work is an interest in spaces of transformation, theatricality, and odd/inexplicable love stories.  I draw from narratives as diverse as The Odyssey, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and daytime soap operas as I consider how relationships are impacted by time, place, power structures, and by factors far less easily defined.  My work hovers in spaces “between”—between abstraction and figuration, deterioration and regeneration, elegance and awkwardness, generosity and obligation.  My sculptural work is typically crafted from a wide variety of humble materials (sewing thread, paper, wire- amongst many others) and I am greatly interested in process. I emphasize a visual language (and a written one, in text based pieces) that suggests the unfinished or incomplete, and might evoke the question, “What happens next?”  I consider these spaces of not knowing to be both complex and generative despite, or perhaps due to, the resulting cliffhanger of uncertainty.
Photo caption: Diana Magnuson, Children’s Book Illustration.
Artist Statement:
My studio is one block from beautiful Lake Superior. There are bugs to carry you off and my favorite: thunder storms. If it’s going to occasionally hit -40 in winter, snow is a lovely and necessary accessory. My writer/ counselor/environment activist husband also has his office in our home. Daily we share life insights. ‘Going Green’ is our goal —even with tea. Garden weeds are now native plants and organic really does taste better. My work blends social and cultural observation with emotional response. Mythological and Nature themes resonate. Mind-Traveling again, I immerse in and search subconscious and collective memories. A good journey.
Photo Caption: Catherine Ruhl Benda. A Long Way From Home.
Artist Statement:
As a visual artist living and working in the Keweenaw Peninsula, on the shores of Lake Superior, place has been a big part of my artistic life.   Here, place is vast, independent and larger than life. I am continually inspired by the shifting surfaces and patterns on the lake, the transforming landscapes of the Peninsula, and the frequent mood changes of the weather. The landscape- its line, form and space can and often do change daily -it is this repetition and impermanence that serves as my inspiration and point of reference.

Place has also been a big part of my psyche – as a child growing up in the city the aesthetic landscapes and interiors patterns were ever present and readily visible. Cultural and religious icons, symbols and patterns, continue to influence my work in both subtle and obvious manners.

These two visual extremes have become part of my visual dialog. While the majority of my work is done in acrylic paint on canvas, more recently I have found paper collage to be an instrumental part of my artistic process and I often work simultaneously on each.  Paired together I am able to explore texture, layers and forms. It is here, where my painting and collage making are rooted. The overarching theme of my most recent body of work is “The Shapes that Bind Us”. Exploring natural elements with classical patterns allows me to connect the landscape of my childhood with my everyday observations.

The Hartwig Gallery exhibition featuring artist Judith Brotman, Slow Time can be viewed from March 2-31, 2017and the Besse Gallery exhibition featuring Diana Magnuson and Catherine Ruhl Benda can be viewed from March 3- April 7, 2017. The Artist Talk/Panel discussion will be Monday March 20th at 2pm EST. in the Besse Theater. Bay College Arts and Culture and the Diversity Committee in celebration of Women’s History Month sponsor these events.
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