The Grunwald Gallery of Art will be opening its two newest exhibits Friday Jan. 11.
The gallery will be showcasing posthumous work by IU ceramics professor Christyl Boger titled “Balancing Act” and pieces by Ana Teresa Fernández titled “Of Bodies and Borders.”
“Balancing Act” is a commemoration show for Boger, who died in June. The exhibit features ceramic figurines created by the artist up until her death, said Linda Tien, program coordinator for the Grunwald Gallery.
“She references Meissen porcelain figurines which were small and very collectible,” gallery assistant Kirsten Taylor said. “So she’s referencing the porcelain and those figurines, but obviously they’re much bigger and so they’re also referencing statuary and baroque sculpture with their posing.”
Taylor said Boger talked about her work as shells. Each face on the seven figurines appear to have a blank gaze that doesn’t particularly care to interact with the audience. The faces all seem to be nonconfrontational.
Two pieces in the exhibit have blue decals on their bodies, which Taylor said Boger would call “thin skin.” Taylor said the decals are like the thinnest clothing that the otherwise naked figurines wear.
There are glazes in certain places on the figurines that create slight differences in texture. Luster, a type of ceramic glaze, was painted on various parts of the figurines in very thin amounts of silver, gold and mother of pearl, Tien said.
“Boger talked about it as all of our cultural inclinations being kind of a veneer that is really thin,” Taylor said.
Unrelated to Boger‘s “Balancing Act” is Fernández’s “Of Bodies and Borders,” which features video, paintings and a cement installation commenting on immigration policies. The show is part of "Mexico Remixed: A Global Arts and Humanities Festival,” an IU program highlighting the university's cultural ties to Mexico and its people there and in the United States, according to the Arts and Humanities website.
“The way Ana Teresa works is she’s usually making some sort of social commentary," Taylor said. "She’s often done things that have to do with gender, but she’s also recently been doing things with immigration.”
Fernández usually will have a performance of some kind and then document it with photos and video. From that documentation, Fernández will create paintings and drawings like the ones seen in “Of Bodies and Borders,” Taylor said.
The exhibit is specifically about refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea, which is considered one of the deadliest borders in the world. Fernández’s work for "Of Bodies and Borders” took place in Poros, Greece, a town off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. There, she was filmed wrapped in a sheet struggling to stay above the water, Taylor said.
The two exhibits will be open at the Grunwald Gallery until March 2. There will be employees available from the Eskenazi Museum of Art on Saturdays who can take visitors on a guided tour of the exhibits, Taylor said.