Housed in historic Parmenter Hall on the Baldwin City campus, the Holt-Russell 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.
Closed weekends and major holidays
Bingo, I’m the King Now! | Elena Masrour
January 27 – February 18, 2023
Elena Masrour’s works are inspired by the proliferation of religious propaganda over the last 40 years in her home country, Iran, and social changes that have occurred following the Revolution. Masrour represents a generation of Iranian people who aspire to be modern at a time when religious leaders continue to weaponize the rules of God to maintain a stranglehold on power.
As an Iranian woman whose life has been heavily touched by the political events of the half decades in Iran, she has focused on modern Iranian women’s issues. The Iranian revolution in 1978 has had an impact on Iranian women’s daily lives dramatically as well as reshaped their identities and their role in society. At the core of Masrour’s concern are the injustices, hardships, and torments that innocent people in Iran are enduring. Masrour highlights these experiences from a woman’s point of view. She critiques Islamic fundamentalist beliefs that control people’s life and limit their freedom. Art can be an impactful way to expose the lack of power that women have in their lives, but it can also be dangerous to the maker.
Elena Masrour has drawn inspiration from American comic books to soften the viewer’s entry into her critique. Comic books connect to people of all ages, races, and cultures. Everyone can relate to a character or story they have seen or read in a comic book, as well as to the associated meaning. Masrour found comic books to be very popular in the United States, as opposed to Iran where they are not produced. Iranians have no comic hero or heroines. Masrour makes fun of the men in power by reducing their stature to screaming infantile creatures, while, in contrast, elevating her own. In so doing, she offers her wish for contemporary Iran to become a peaceful, safe place where people can thrive.
I’m starving and ready for a big bite
India ink and combo brush on Bristol paper | 2022
What Lies Beneath | Constructed Paintings by Jack Collins
November 11, 2022 – January 20, 2023
Opening Reception | Friday, Nov. 11, 4-6 p.m.
After 40 years of working on canvas, Jack Collins began working on wood panels in 2017. He used collage as a vehicle, painting and cutting and attaching other painted pieces of wood to the picture plane, reorganizing and repainting the pieces until he found an arrangement that was aesthetically pleasing to the artist’s eye. The cut panels created a shallow relief that cast shadows that created the illusion of lines. The panel was largely cut on a table saw yielding only straight edges. Collins found the addition of organic shapes broke down the rectilinear format of painting, creating a new tension.
Soon after, Collins began to recess the wooden attachment into the surface similar to puzzle pieces. The recesses began to deepen, and the pieces attached to the surface created higher relief works. The separation of the recesses and attachments grew to several inches. As the process continued, pieces of the paintings were often removed revealing voids that were assimilated into the work and at times exposed the supporting structure of the work or the wall behind the painting. As the space between the front surface and the back surface expanded, it exposed edges and sides of the protruding sections. This changed the complexity of the work; the painted sides of the relief allowed different views from all angles. From the use of the jigsaw and a sledgehammer, the shards and large chunks of wood added another element to the paintings.
In the last four years, his two-dimensional work became three dimensional. His visual vocabulary increased. Tension in the work increased. Revealing and exploring the interiors of his work added glimpses of the history of the work. The viewing experience for the audience was enhanced through seeing different views from various angles.
The work Collins does has always been informed by process and spontaneity, despite being carefully orchestrated. The ideas now explore opposites, the future and the past, the positive and the negative, the complex and the simple, the calculated and the spontaneous. Each piece he creates is simultaneously an extension from the past, where he’s come from and what he learned, as well as a preview of the future, where he is going next.
Inherent Value | The Art of Joelle Ford
September 30 – October 28
Artist Reception | Friday, September 30, 4-6 p.m.
This young girl wanted to make wild and wacky things when she grew up. Her parents endured the Great Depression and believed value could be found in almost everything. This belief was instilled in their children and has become the basis for Joelle’s art. She uses found objects and items thought to have little value—”idle art”—in her work.
Joelle has made large installations as well as small collages. Even though they are diverse in size and nature, the common thread is the application of unwanted items. These items are sometimes found while walking outside or purchased at garage sales and thrift shops as well as contributed by friends and family. If one item sparks Joelle’s interest, many like items create an even greater interest; therefore, most of her work implements multiples and layering. Searching for new ways of making art and incorporating new material is an ongoing process.
Flocked | Various birds, puzzle pieces, rope, game pieces, and acrylic on plywood
Baldwin National Open Media/Open Theme Juried Exhibition
February 4 – March 4
Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony | Friday, Feb. 4, 5-7 p.m.
The inaugural Baldwin National Open Media/Open Theme Juried Exhibition is a survey of contemporary art in the United States and includes 50 pieces by 27 artists from 15 states.
About the Juror | Christopher Benson
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1960 to artist parents, Christopher Benson attended the Rhode Island School of Design for three years before moving to New Mexico and California to pursue painting and continuing his education on his own. Benson returned to RISD to complete his BFA in painting in 2005 after receiving the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Painting Fellowship in 2001. He received a second Pollock-Krasner Fellowship in 2016. His work is included in leading public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art.
Baldwin National 2022 Artists
Milky Around the Corner
An Artist Collects | November 29 – January 21
Gifts to the Baker University Art Collection from Donald and Evelyn Louthian
A long-standing interest and commitment to Baker University studio art and the Baker University art collection endures since Donald Louthian spent several years as a faculty member at Baker directing the Department of Art. He was joined by his wife, Evelyn, in the early 1960s before their departure for California in 1963.
In California, Professor Louthian gave full attention to his studio practice and developed a successful career as an artist. He and Evelyn collected fine art through associations with fellow artists and art dealers. They donated a significant collection of artworks to Baker University in 2012.
The Louthians are again generously contributing work to support the educational experience of students and the larger community. The value of their collections has and will continue to enhance the experiential learning at Baker University.
Untitled Head of a Woman 1966
American Warrior 1981
Dupatta: Journeys of Life and Cultural Identity
Paintings by Shabana Kauser
September 3 – October 1
Artist Reception and Talk | Thursday, Sept. 9, 5-7 p.m.
Influenced by her shared experiences as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and as an immigrant to the United States, Kauser’s detailed portraits of South Asian immigrant women explore memories of cultural, social, and economic transition. Along with ornate, precisely rendered jewelry, the Dupatta, a traditional scarf worn in South Asian countries, permeates portraits, referencing not only her personal journey, but also those of past, present, and future generations of immigrants.
Shabana Kauser’s work represents beauty, strength, and determination, just some of the traits she saw in women she grew up around. Many immigrant women Shabana knew tapped into all the skills they had to make their new lives in a new land. While learning English, and therefore having limited opportunities, Shabana’s mother started her own business. Her grandmother had taught her mother to sew while she grew up in Pakistan. Sewing traditional clothes for the community through her own business allowed Kauser’s mother to contribute in numerous ways. She is one of many of the many forgotten women who continue to contribute to society, the economy, and communities. Shabana Kauser’s portraits honor immigrant women whose stories are often overlooked.
Shabana Kauser creates contemporary realistic oil paintings that are influenced by her shared experiences as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and as an immigrant to the United States. Her paintings of South Asian women explore memories of cultural, social, and economic transition. Through her descriptive realism and her heavy use of the traditional dupatta (scarf worn in South Asia), she shares not only her personal journey but also those of past, present, and future generations of immigrants.
Shabana’s parents left Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the 1970s and emigrated to England. Shabana is one of five children they raised in Surrey, which is on the outskirts of London. She grew up in a working-class family. Her father first worked in the steel industry and later at a bakery. Shabana’s mother started a sewing business from home. Her mother used the skills she learned in her family home in Pakistan and applied that to create a business all while raising a family. Yards of fabric would be dropped off at the home, and Shabana’s mother would create traditional shalwaar kameez (tunic top, pant, and dupatta) for the South Asian community. Shabana’s work is inspired by many women, including her mother and the women and girls she created outfits for.
Shabana was born in and lived in the United Kingdom for almost 30 years. She lived in central London, where she achieved her degrees, a BSc in Business IT and a MSc in Information Management. She worked in the corporate world before her husband was presented with a work opportunity in the United States. In 2008, Shabana moved from central London and settled in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Through the frustrating immigration laws, and while being unable to legally work for seven years, she discovered her love for creating. This journey opened up a new way to connect with people and share her story.
In 2017, she formally introduced her work and enjoyed her first exhibit. Shabana has now enjoyed successful gallery and museum exhibits in Arkansas, Texas, New York, and Missouri. Some of her notable exhibits include 21c Museum, and a solo exhibit titled Journey’at Argenta Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a self-taught artist, Shabana is always building her knowledge. She attended the University of Arts London, St. Martin’s College in the United Kingdom, and also completed the Artist Inc program that is organized by the Mid-American Arts Alliance.
Shabana has been featured in several publications and press releases. These include Northwest Arkansas Alive (Emmy-nominated ABC TV series) where she had a solo interview, Little Rock Soiree Magazine, Arkansas Times, KUAF Radio, Fox/KNWA News, and Studio Visit Magazine where she was featured on the cover.