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Fabric, illusion at center of Purdue exhibit


In an age when our lives increasingly happen behind smooth, glowing screens, an exhibit that emphasizes the texture of textiles stands out.

"FABRICation," Purdue University Galleries' summer exhibit, is grounded in the history of the art form. The exhibit begins Tuesday in the Robert L. Ringel and Fountain galleries — and May 20 in the Patti and Rusty Rueff Galleries — and runs through Aug. 8.

The traveling exhibit received funding assistance from Virginia Commonwealth University, VCUarts and the Painting and Printmaking Department.

Artists Erin Castellan, Kristy Deetz, Virginia Derryberry, Reni Gower, Rachel Hayes, Susan Iverson and Natalie Smith work with oil and acrylic paint, clothing, aluminum, wool, silk, plastic and burlap, among other items, to create mixed-media pieces.

"They have elements of cloth, they have elements sometimes of weaving or of cloth textures, but they go in so many different directions that they really just become more sculptural objects," said Craig Martin, the director of Purdue Galleries.

Although many works don't use fabric, they still evoke its color, look and drape — hence the exhibit's name. For example, Deetz's "Veil/Frame/Void (triptych)" looks like three wooden boards covered with wrinkled fabric. But it's actually oil on wood panels. Look closely, and it's evident the artist painstakingly painted in the creases and fold marks.

Similarly, each piece imparts the impression of a long process.

"There's something to working with textiles that makes you think that there's time to be committed and there's attention and close scrutiny of materials," Martin said.

Kristy Deetz’s “Veil/Frame/Void (triptych)” looks like three wooden boards covered with wrinkled fabric but is actually oil on wood panels. (Photo: Domenica Bongiovanni/Journal & Courier)

If you go

What: "FABRICation"

When/where: Exhibition opens Tuesday. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery in the Stewart Center, 128 Memorial Mall, West Lafayette, and from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in the Fountain Gallery, 330 Main St.

Starting May 20, the rest of the exhibit can be seen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Patti and Rusty Rueff Galleries in Yue-Kong Pao Hall, 552 W. Wood St., West Lafayette.


•May 15: Brown Bag lecture with exhibit curators and artists Reni Gower and Kristy Deetz at noon in Ringel Gallery. Reception, with a free paper weaving activity, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Fountain Gallery.

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