Holt-Russell Gallery

Housed in historic Parmenter Hall on the Baldwin City campus, the Holt-Russell Art Gallery features art by students, faculty, and local, national, and international artists.

Students exhibit their work in an annual juried student art show. In addition, students work as preparers, curators and organizers of their senior exhibitions.

The Holt-Russell Gallery is located on the second floor of Parmenter Hall at 706 Dearborn St.

Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Saturday noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Major Holidays

Russell Horton
Assistant Professor of Art
Director Holt-Russell Gallery

Spring 2017 Schedule

WETLANDS 2017 National Juried Exhibition | April 6-28

The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other landforms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a variety of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, carbon sink, and shoreline stability.

The Holt-Russell Gallery is proud to host works by artists from across the nation who represent diverse interpretations of the fragile ecosystems of wetlands and the biodiversity within them.

Baker University Senior Exhibit | May 5 – 21

Join us in celebrating the work of our Studio Art graduating seniors Jenny Robbs and Nicholas Shondell.

Past Exhibits

Christopher Benson, Sheila Miles, & Kathryn Stedham

Santa Fe Real | March 2-24

After many years of thinking about what he is trying to do and writing many statements about this or that aspect of his “process,” Christopher Benson concluded that he is nothing more or less than a painter of pictures. Benson has been in love with the material of oil paint, and with what it can do on the surface of its ground, ever since he first picked up a brush at age 10. His love of pictures, especially the sort that look unremarkable at first, or else merely familiar, only to reveal all sorts of surprises and contradictions over a longer acquaintance.

Sheila Miles’ paintings represent the ambience of a place and time and have a special, memorable, or familiar iconic presence. Miles’ places trigger a common familiarity for the viewer, providing comfort and a place to sink in to. People frequently remark that her paintings make them want to be in that place. They want to live there. Her works aim to make the ordinary extraordinary and depict beauty in the unnoticed.

Her use of colors and tones, along with bright contrasting whites and shadows created by the hot sun put focus on light, shadow, and the abstract qualities of puzzling shapes that warp over a surface. A history is contained in surfaces and textures partially “erased” by the pentimento of an earlier time. Miles is also interested in how long it takes the eye to move through the painting to get from “here to there” or left to right and front to back. Sweeping or fading colors stopped by something in the way will stop the eye and make the viewer pause.

Sometimes she paints a subject out of intuition. Through the act of painting she discovers what initially drew her attention. With 40 plus years as a dedicated painter, she is still looking for complex and hidden compositions in the seemingly simplest of places. Some people might think her paintings are about buildings or a landscape, but really they are just space, color, edge, movement, stillness, contrast, hot, and cold. They are about the artist’s way of seeing.

Kathryn Stedham is recognized for her strong gestural style, which incorporates a rich array of mark-making and painterly surfaces culminating from a lifetime of painting. Stedham’s paintings and monoprints have been featured in public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. Her awards include multiple National Endowment for the Arts awards, fellowships and public art commissions. Earlier this year, Stedham completed an Artist Residency Fellowship at the Rio Mesa Center, a University of Utah field-based program that emphasizes ecology and the environment.

Stedham’s paintings accrete from a system of drips, scraping, and incising, not unlike the natural process of erosion and deposition occurring in the landscape around us. Just what can we discover about what is uncovered, or revealed? Her inspiration is drawn from the likes of explorers, scientists, and philosophers traversing great unknowns. Much like a journey without end, or finding the center of an onion, Stedham’s life and work are a series of excavations with nothing, or perhaps everything, to find.

This, in its most visible form, is Kathryn Stedham’s subject matter. Not the sunset, nor the shadows: what she paints is the experience of being in the moment, on the cusp, between illegible impressions and the instant when what may be vaguely perceived suddenly makes sense. Most of the time it is the briefest of essential experiences. Only when we struggle to see, as when we stare into the distance or the dark, or open our eyes in an unknown place, are we likely to notice it. Yet it’s the purpose that our nervous system built itself to achieve, and the source of powerful rewards. —Geoff Wichert, 15 Bytes, Feb. 2010

Stephanie Lanter & Morgan Ford Willingham

Morphology: Commands and Promises | February 2-24

This exhibit examines the use of word forms that dictate our identities and the objects through which we convey ourselves.

Stephanie Lanter’s work investigates modes of connectivity that often just miss the mark. Her sculptures are symbolic representations of the relationships we have with others and with ourselves. They are softened, ornamented, and contextualized with crocheted threads, yarns, doilies, and mats, and are inspired by the sensuality of antique phones and crafts such as latch-hook. The use of low-tech process is not a critique of technology, but of behavior. Examine dysfunction, loneliness, “home,” and ambivalence through abstraction, balance, and excess, and laugh at her obsessions in this messy realm of connection. Consider how changing modes of fulfilling this basic need to “reach out and touch” each other might also be changing us.

Morgan Ford Willingham’s ongoing series, The Beauty Mask, explores how natural beauty is masked by cosmetics that women use every day, and how the language of advertising is absorbed into the subconscious, where it constantly influences what women buy and how they perceive themselves. The text in this work is appropriated from advertising slogans found in popular women’s magazines and is often difficult to read, signifying how the linguistics of advertising subconsciously attempts to persuade women to buy cosmetic products that alter their physical appearance. The repetition of phrases throughout the work alludes to the repetitive nature of cosmetic rituals many women partake in on a daily basis. It is intended that a sense of familiarity be experienced with these images.

In the newest phase of this series, the work focuses on addressing the history of the female Renaissance portrait. The portraits, often commissioned by a father or spouse, represented not the physical beauty of its sitter but the wealth and stature of the commissioner. The self-portrait is used to investigate the various experiences of using cosmetics to commodify beauty.


Russell Horton, Assistant Professor of Art

Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday Noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Sundays and major holidays