UNH Department of Art and Art History
UNH Art Gallery Features Work of Women's Caucus for Art and Midwestern Printmakers
By Erika Mantz
UNH News Bureau
December 21, 2001
Editors, News Directors: Color slides are available by contacting Amanda Tappan, education and publicity coordinator for The Art Gallery, at 603-862-3713.
DURHAM, N.H. ‚ The spring semester at The Art Gallery at the University of New Hampshire kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 23, with a preview reception for two exhibitions and a special gallery talk by exhibiting artists Carl Grupp and James Munce.
"The Narrative Impulse: Works by Carl Grupp and James Munce" and "Action/Reaction: Women's Caucus for Art Juried Exhibition" run Jan. 24 through April 6. The preview reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Art Gallery in the Paul Creative Arts Center, and the gallery talk will be held at 4 p.m. Both exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public. The exhibitions are funded in part by The Friends of The Art Gallery.
Some believe that a picture can say a thousand words. For many visual artists, it is the image that tells the story. The works of Carl Grupp and James Munce are narrative images that tell a story on a two-dimensional piece of paper. Without the encumbrance of nouns, adjectives and verbs, these prints draw in the viewer by telling a story in exquisite detail.
Munce is professor of printmaking at Kansas State University. He is also a well-known artist whose record of solo and group shows stretches from California to New York. A self-described storyteller, he writes of his work, "My function, as a visual artist, is to create a two-dimensional formal structure that will best contain the story being told. I am always trying to create a sense of space that has somehow been altered or transformed by an event." Following in the tradition of Renaissance masters, Munce's subject matter is derived from Christian literature. The twist is that he represents these standard biblical stories in modern-day surroundings.
Grupp is professor of art at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His work is difficult to describe. The incredible draftsmanship of each print is enhanced by the somewhat surreal flavor of his subjects. Grupp explains his motivation saying, "A statement about my beliefs on drawing is like being asked to write a statement on my beliefs on life. I love drawing. I love the wonder of making marks, the simplicity, the immediacy, the limitations, the search. Drawing is like going on an adventure, sometimes peaceful and pleasant and at other times rough and scary. Drawing is like fighting a war. Drawing is like making love. Drawing is like praying. Drawing is like life itself. We create, through our marks, our own reality and illuminate our life by them."
Scott Schnepf, exhibition curator and chair of the UNH Department of Art and Art History, talks about his personal connection with the artists saying, "I was fortunate enough to have studied with both Carl and Jim. Carl was my undergraduate printmaking and drawing teacher and Jim was my instructor in graduate school. My whole identity as an artist is in many fundamental ways wrapped in the work of James Munce and Carl Grupp and it is a real pleasure to have their work here at UNH."
For much of history, the visual arts arena was one centered around men. It was the rare woman who could break into that elite circle of well-known male artists and be successful as a professional artist. Today, society's views of artists are changing, opening up more opportunities for women to make significant contributions to the art world. One such organization helping to support women in the arts is the Women's Caucus for Art, a national organization devoted to women involved in all aspects of the arts.
"Action/Reaction" is a juried exhibition featuring the work of 36 women artists, including Gail Smuda, Sarah Haskell, Robi Jackson, Lynn Szymanski and Ruthanne Weston. The exhibition juror is Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, director of curatorial affairs at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass. On selecting the objects for the show, she commented, "The works submitted reflected a wide range of contemporary genres, styles, and themes, including traditional landscapes, lyrical abstractions and surreal narratives. Some of the works deal with topical issues such as the role of the artist in society, current world events, critiques of corporate America, childbirth, motherhood and women's body image, the environment and women's place in nature. These are concerns that interest artists everywhere."
Art historian and UNH women's studies professor Mara Witzling explains, "The WCA is important because it supports women artists in the area and helps to keep their work visible. The work in the exhibition shows women artists actively engaged in a dialogue with contemporary art issues. This work provides forward-looking and varied responses to some of the current artistic questions."
The following programs are part of the ArtBreak series, which runs Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in The Art Gallery, unless otherwise noted:
Gallery hours are: Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. The gallery is closed Fridays, university holidays (including March 15-24 and 31) and during exhibition changes. School and group tours are offered free with advance reservation and can be scheduled by called the Outreach Program at (603) 862-3713. For more information, call (603) 862-3712 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.