December 09, 2010

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University's Samek Art Gallery spring semester schedule opens Jan. 28 with two exhibitions: "Works on Paper by Deng Guoyuan and Rosalyn Richards" in the main gallery, and "Collection Focus III: In Chicago" in the study gallery. Both exhibitions are free and open to the public through March 30.

Organized by the Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell University and the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Tianjin, China, "Works on Paper" pairs Chinese artist Deng Guoyuan and Rosalyn Richards, professor of art at Bucknell.

As part of the opening for the exhibition, the artists will discuss their work on Friday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center. An opening reception will follow.

Two sound waves resonating
"Ink-and-wash paintings by Deng Guoyuan and some of the large graphite drawings by Rosalyn Richards — abstract works that concern human perception and understanding of nature — echo each other in form and content," said Xiaoze Xie, the Paul L. and Phyllis Wattis Professor in Art at Stanford University.

"In this two-person exhibition, their works are like two sound waves achieving an effect of resonance. In experiencing and extensively comparing their works, we are able to examine artistic relationships between the East and the West, nature and culture, tradition and modernity, subjectivity and objectivity, intuition and reason, expression and analysis, freedom and constraint."

"Large-format abstract ink-and-wash paintings by Deng Guoyuan create rich space and atmosphere, using dots, lines and brushstrokes abstracted from nature as basic elements, and repetition, combination and variation as basic patterns, and become palpable landscapes that are nevertheless non-specific. ... It is as if one is taking a stroll in the garden," said Xie, formerly a professor of art at Bucknell and a featured artist in the Samek Art Gallery.

"Richards' large-format vertical graphite drawings remind one of Chinese hanging scrolls. As the eye moves up and down, space and rhythm unfold in time, and the constant motion and change in nature are uncovered. Her abstract vocabulary comes from scientific photographs and diagrams, whose contents range from macro cosmos to particle compositions under the electron microscope, from satellite cloud imagery to earthquake waves, from physics to chemistry.

"She transforms scientific and rational original materials into an expressive artistic language. Structure and logic as well as lyrical expressiveness can be found in her images, evocative of mottled rock strata, blood vein network, sky filled with lightning, water surface disturbed by ripples, or a spider web torn by the wind."

Xie said, "To experience works by Deng Guoyuan and Rosalyn Richards comparatively is like listening to the harmony of tunes at different frequencies. Despite their different backgrounds and experiences, they relate to each other subtly in artistic conception, subject matter, language and style. Each of them has a distinct artistic style, but they reach the same goal in their explorations of the meaning of nature and the world."

'Collection Focus III: In Chicago'
Organized by the Samek Gallery, the "In Chicago" portfolio features work by historically significant photographers, many of whom spent their careers in Chicago.

Photographers Harold Allen, Harry Callahan, Barbara Crane, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Nathan Lerner, Luis Medina, Richard Nickel, David Plowden, Arthur Siegal, Aaron Siskind, John Szarkowski and Bob Thall took photographs of Chicago from 1935 to 1978.

The exhibition includes iconic images by important 20th-century photographers at the height of their careers (Callahan, Siskind), images from photographers at the beginning of their careers (Nickel, Thall), and some of the first photographers to study at László Moholy-Nagy's New Bauhaus after it opened in Chicago in 1936 (Allen, Lerner, Siegal).

The "In Chicago" portfolio was acquired with patron trade or sell funds. A number of Samek patrons, including 1983 alumni Ray and Anne  Merritt, and Ellen and Doug Smith, a 1984 alumnus, have generously given fine photographs to the Permanent Collection over the years. This has included duplicate prints and portfolios given expressly to be traded for other artworks or sold with the proceeds to be used to acquire works that will strengthen the collection.

The Samek Art Gallery is on the third floor of the Elaine Langone Center, and is accessible by elevator. Admission is free. Gallery hours during the academic year 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.

Contact: Division of Communications