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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Polly Burks
561-297-2595, pburks@fau.edu

FAU Presents 14 Artists from Eight Southeastern States

BOCA RATON (January 15, 2008) –  The University Galleries in Florida Atlantic University’s School of the Arts in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will present southXeast: Contemporary Southeastern Art, an exhibition presenting new work by 14 artists from eight southeastern states in both the Ritter Art Gallery (January 26 – March 5) and the Schmidt Center Gallery (February 8 – April 4) on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road.  There will be an opening reception featuring a performance by Florida artist Irene Moon and a panel presentation featuring several participating artists on Friday, February 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Schmidt Gallery.   The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

This year’s southXeast: Contemporary Southeastern Art is the second exhibition of its kind in the FAU Galleries, following a 2005 show.   The exhibition presents younger and emerging artists as well as more mature artists whose work is just starting to gain attention in the southeast.  In contrast to the growing international contemporary art scene in Miami, southXeast seeks to present artists not in the Miami/New York circuit.  The 14 exhibiting artists were selected from a field of nearly 300 artists recommended by museum curators, art critics, university art professors and contemporary art dealers. Final selections were made by University Galleries’ director W. Rod Faulds after involving FAU students and art faculty in the selection process. The exhibition presents artists working in a wide range of styles and media, including photography, video, painting, ceramics and sculpture.

While the exhibition is not organized around a theme, it is installed to take advantage of thematic, stylistic, media and scale relationships of the art work. Beginning in the Schmidt Center Gallery Public Space, Mike Calway Fagen (Tennessee) and Avantika Bawa (Georgia) will create temporary works directly on the walls.  Fagen’s work is usually less concerned with beauty than it is with navigating space and creating ways for viewers to participate in or with his sculptures.  Bawa’s work is more consciously abstract.  Her work for southXeast will also involve creating a path of abstract signs between the two galleries.

Two painters, a video installation artist and two sculptors are presented in the Schmidt Center Gallery.  One of the artists, Arnold Mesches (Florida), who is 84 years old, has been featured in over 125 solo exhibitions and taught at several prestigious art schools.  Mesches’ figurative paintings combine masterful draftsmanship with loose expressionist paint handling.  His work is joined by the work of four younger artists, Danielle Rooney (Georgia), Christopher McNulty (Alabama), Phillip Estlund (Florida) and Townsend Davidson (South Carolina).  While Davidson has not shown much outside of Charleston, Estlund, McNulty and Rooney seem poised on the edge of much wider recognition.  Rooney recently won two prestigious contemporary art awards in Atlanta; McNulty has had several recent exhibitions in the southeast; and Estlund was just included in a group exhibition at the highly distinguished Gagosian Gallery in New York City.

The Ritter Art Gallery will present three photographers, two ceramists, an industrial designer and a video/performance artist.  Critz Campbell’s (Missisippi) internally illuminated Eudora chairs and life-size paper doll dresses set the tone for the gallery by suggesting other realities, often arrived at by employing existing images or ideas from worlds around and within us.  All of the photographic work created by Dan Tague (Louisiana), Cedric Smith (Georgia) and Sarah Hobbs (Georgia) involve forms of photographic collage/montage or the practice of creating environments specifically for the camera.  The two ceramic sculptors, Jason Briggs (Tennessee) and Bonnie Seeman (Florida), refer to anatomical and natural world realities both above and below the skin. The final artist in the Ritter, Irene Moon (Florida), is slightly preoccupied with the world of insects and reminds us of a world of amateur scientists and women of leisure who in an earlier American era created clubs and social bonds around interests in nature.

University Galleries programs are made possible in part through support from The State of Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts; Palm Beach County Cultural Council; R.A. Ritter Foundation; FAU Student Government through student activity fees; and individual friends of the University Galleries. Business sponsors include Sun Belt Rentals, Boca Raton and Sherwin Williams Paints, Boca Raton.

The University Galleries are open Tuesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Class and group tours are welcome during public hours or at alternative times by appointment.  For more information, call 561-297-2966 or visit www.fau.edu/galleries.

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