On a Friday night when AMC Theaters behind Honey Creek Mall offered such entertainment as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Gravity, and Insidious 2, thousands of families around the Wabash Valley sat on bleachers rooting for their favorite young football gladiators, and hordes more area residents formed lines to get into one of Terre Haute’s many chain food eateries, the Swope Art Museum deserves kudos for having attracted a respectable crowd to the October 4th opening of Borders—A Regional Survey in the Haslem Gallery.
Co-curated by Mary Kramer, artist and director of Art Spaces, and Lisa Petrulis, the Swope’s curator, Borders features works by a group of Midwestern artists with the knack of creating both thought-provoking and aesthetically pleasing art.
Works in the Swope show explore the nature of borders, both physical and intact, and borders brought into being by nature or politics. The artists also examine the curious beauty of select borders. Contributing artists from Terre Haute are Nancy Nichols-Pethick, Petra Nyendick, Mary Kramer, and Mary Jo Maraldo. Melissa Vandenberg lives in Richmond, Kentucky.
The exhibiting artists interpret borders in a variety of ways. Nyendick presents figurative geometric imagery, much of which was based on a background of maps of North America. Vandenberg’s works feature images taken from along the Mason-Dixon Line. Kramer’s mixed media presentation of linen over panel displays some of her newer border images, which are based on photos of actual borders. One Kramer image of weeds and a tangle of other desert foliage along a New Mexico border would be an attention-grabbing abstract piece of art were it not based on a real setting. Maraldo gives physical form to language about borders with a presentation of sculpted calligraphy composed of earth, glass, steel, and wood.
Nichols-Pethick went camping on sandbars by herself along the Wabash River near historic New Harmony to do on-the-beach plein air pastel drawings of the Wabash as it forms the Indiana-Illinois border at Harmony State Park. Her brilliant scene setting and coloration reveals the transcendental joy an adventuresome artist experiences by immersing herself in nature so her perspicacious eyes can take in details that her brush can then translate into exquisite drawings.
People interested in viewing the various images of borders and learning more about the artists and their techniques have until January 14 to take in the exhibit.
Borders – A Regional Survey Haslem Gallery
Swope Museum of Art, 25 South 7th Street dates: October 4, 2013–January 4, 2014 time: Tuesday-Friday, 10:00-5:00