January 19, 2009

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By Kathryn Kopchik

Joseph MellaLEWISBURG, Pa. — Joseph Mella will give the lecture, "Oswaldo Guayasamin: A Life in Art, Conflict and Resistance," on Friday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University. The opening reception is at 8 p.m. in the Samek Art Gallery.

The talk, which is open to the public without charge, is held in conjunction with the Samek Art Gallery exhibition, "Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamin," which may be seen from Jan. 26 through March 27.

Director of the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Mella is curator of the exhibition, which was organized by the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery with the full cooperation of the Fundacion Guayasamin, Quito, Ecuador, the largest repository of the artist's work in the Americas.

Mella has curated and organized more than 80 exhibitions at Vanderbilt, and is responsible for the establishment and subsequent development of a collection of contemporary graphics and artists books. Prior to arriving at Vanderbilt in 1992, he served as curator of exhibitions and collections at the Rockford Art Museum, and the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont. He holds an M.A. in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he also completed a Certificate in Art Collection Care and Maintenance. He also holds a B.F.A. in Printmaking from the University of Iowa.

Landmark exhibition
"This landmark exhibition, the first of its kind in the United States in more than 50 years, presents the work of the great Ecuadorian painter and graphic artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin," said Dan Mills, director of the Samek Art Gallery. "I am delighted the Samek Art Gallery is able to bring this important exhibition to Bucknell and the region," he said.

Guayasamin's work focuses on difficult subjects and evokes strong emotional responses, including the horrors of war, the injustices of inequality and discrimination, and the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples. Works in the exhibition speak to Latin American and universal issues of war and peace, social conflict, and human compassion.

More than 80 works
According to Mella, "Of Rage and Redemption" includes more than 80 works from the artist's early paintings responding to Ecuador's four-day civil war of 1932 and the plight of indigenous people, his mature work that addresses human suffering in the context of war and justice, to what he called "La Ternura" ("The Tenderness"), his final period beginning in the mid-1980s.

After premiering at Vanderbilt University in early 2008, the exhibition has traveled to the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C., Museo Alameda in San Antonio, and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. After Bucknell, it will complete its North American tour at Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach.

This exhibition is supported, in part by a generous gift from Susan and Ruff Fant. Additional support has been provided by the Louise Bullard Wallace Foundation, Nashville; the College of Arts and Science, Vanderbilt University; the Fundacion Guayasamin; the Embassy of Ecuador; the Mission of Ecuador to the Organization of American States; and American Airlines.

Exhibitions and programming are funded in part by Bucknell University Association for the Arts; Offices of the Provost, Dean of Arts and Sciences; Communications; Latin American Studies; Department of Art and Art History; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency through the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), its regional arts funding partnership. State government funding comes through an annual appropriation by Pennsylvania's General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. PPA is administered in this region by Community Partnerships RC&D.

Peace & Resistance series
The exhibition, which is part of the University's "Peace & Resistance" series, was honored by the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) with the Award for Outstanding Exhibition and Catalogue of Contemporary Materials.

The yearlong "Peace & Resistance" series is a multidisciplinary program that links the 25th anniversary of Bucknell University having an art gallery, the 10th anniversary of the Bucknell Brigade to Nicaragua, and 125 years of women at Bucknell. For more information, visit the Peace & Resistance page.
The Samek Art Gallery is located on the third floor of the Elaine Langone Center. Admission is free. Gallery hours are weekdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; weekends 1 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. The Gallery is accessible by elevator. For more information about the gallery, call 570-577-3792 or visit www.bucknell.edu/SamekArtGallery.

Contact: Division of Communications


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