Fine art exhibition examines global human rights violations
“The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions” will run Jan. 15 through Feb. 28 at The Gallery at Penn College. A reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 7, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., in the gallery, located on the third floor of the Madigan Library. A gallery talk, delivered by the exhibition’s curator, will begin at 5:30 p.m. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.
A range of media by 21 artists is featured in the exhibition. The nonthreatening art objects expose the audience to a variety of current human rights atrocities. The pieces allude to the issues at hand; it is the viewer’s mind that makes the leap from beautiful art object to a darker reality.
Criminal traditions are ongoing, centuries-old cultural rituals that kill or maim millions each year. Honor killing, acid attacks, bride burning, forced childhood marriage, female genital mutilation and other violent acts are ancient, but continue to victimize many today.
The mission of “The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions” is to translate the experience of fine art into social action and strategies for community engagement – encouraging the viewer to consider alternative perspectives and begin a dialogue in an attempt to promote social change.
Artists in the show are: Carol Brooks, Corinna Button, James Deeb, Sheila Ganch, Clair Girodie, Sergio Gomez, Charles Gniech, Suzanne Gorgus, Teresa Hofheimer, Lelde Kalmite, Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, Richard Laurent, Kathy Liao, Zoriah Miller, Joyce Polance, Nancy Rosen, Lorraine Sack, Dominic Sansone, Barbara Simcoe, Anne Smith Stephan and Neil Tetkowski.
Most of the artists hail from the Midwest, with Arizona, New York and England also represented.
A limited-edition exhibition catalog detailing artist statements and biographies will be available while supplies last.
Gniech, an associate professor of graphic design at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois, also served as the exhibition’s curator. He has participated in multiple panel discussions related to the exhibition and has lectured on his curatorial process. He holds a Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in illustration, both from Northern Illinois University.
“The works included in this exhibition may be interpreted on many levels,” Gneich said. “Although all are beautiful at face value, this collection is intended to touch the viewer’s mind and soul by highlighting the challenges faced by our global community.”
The gallery is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 7 p.m.; Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and Saturdays, and will be closed on Sunday, Jan. 20.
In addition to serving as an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the college and community, The Gallery at Penn College is dedicated to promoting art appreciation through exhibitions of contemporary art.
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