DELAWARE, OHIO – The seven women whose eclectic artworks will fill Ohio Wesleyan University’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum beginning this month all have lived and worked in central Ohio – but their roots and influences stretch across the nation and around the world.
From Feb. 24 through March 31, OWU’s Ross Art Museum will host “Diverse,” a group exhibition featuring well-known regional artists Marjorie Bender, N. Penney Denning, Eglé Gatins, Elena Osterwalder, Elsie Sanchez, Barbara Vogel, and Leah L. Wong. The show will debut with an opening reception from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 24 at the museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware.
As part of National Women’s History Month, the museum also will welcome the artists to campus for a panel discussion about women and the arts from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 21. The discussion will be moderated by Richelle Schrock, Ph.D., director of Ohio Wesleyan’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and will be held in Room 312 of the R.W. Corns Building, 78 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. It will be followed by a panelist reception at the museum.
According to the artists, they have been meeting monthly for more than 30 years to offer support for one another’s artistic creations and careers. And their backgrounds are as diverse as their artworks.
Marjorie Bender was born in Ohio and has a German-Jewish heritage. She creates clay sculptures, drawings, and prints that are comments on the human condition. “My work relates to history, politics, and anything concerned with the human drama,” she says. “I have a hyper-active brain for good or ill.”
N. Penney Denning hails from New York and has colonial New England ancestors. She creates collages using repurposed images, noting “I take discarded images that have had a previous life and reassemble them in new and distinctive ways. … Each recycled image is cut geometrically and pieced with other cut images so that something new emerges.”
Eglé Gatins was born in France but also has American and Colombian roots. She creates intricate mixed-media collages/paintings, and drawings. “Her collages are an amalgam of painting, drawing and the love of ‘found’ elements,” critics state. “Her works combine a grid framework with the accidental and the serendipitous.”
Elena Osterwalder was born in Mexico. She creates pieces and installations using organically dyed paper. “Color was, is, and will forever be!” she writes. “It fills my work with its vibrant energy. It inspires my spirit to portray the radiance of its beauty.”
Elsie Sanchez was born in Cuba. She makes intensely colorful and textured luminous paintings. “I do not use oil paint so much as I deliberately collaborate with it,” she explains. “I work slowly, allowing everything on the canvas to arise naturally, remaining open to opportunities. … Similar to scenic Medieval tapestries, the intricate patterns and myriad colors of my abstract paintings shift when seen from different angles. I aim for viewers to discover something new with each viewing.”
Barbara Vogel was born in Ohio and has Quaker roots. In her art, she explores alternative photographic processes. “The majority of my artwork … deals with themes about family and the passage of time,” she states.
Leah L. Wong was born in China. She fuses Eastern and Western sensibility in her paintings and cutout paper installations. “Life is layered,” she writes. “I believe time, space, and cultural dimensions exist relationally. … Each series of my works conjures up a range of moods that express moments, memories, and a journey of self-understanding.”
Justin Kronewetter, director of Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum, credits museum board member Lynne Muskoff, a former Short North gallery owner, with helping to bring the “Diverse” exhibit to fruition.
“We began talking about this show three to four years ago,” said Kronewetter. “The fact that it came together during National Women’s History Month is exciting. We are honored to celebrate the creativity of these women artists and look forward to their March 21 panel discussion. The panel event, coupled with the opportunity for Ohio Wesleyan gallery management students to help install the exhibit, assist us in fulfilling our educational mission. We invite everyone to come experience this ‘diverse’ and delightful exhibition.”
Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but will be closed March 11-16 for spring break. The museum is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 for more information.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 41 states and 45 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.