“XX” Exhibit: Female Artists from Museum’s Collection

Posted on 5/17/2016 2:00:05 PM

Artwork by CassattCurated by Jen Blalock and Ashley Bouton, the University Museum's “XX” is a showcase of artwork from the museum’s permanent collection created by female artists. “XX” will open Monday, May 23, 2016, with a public reception from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. The show will run until June 11. Admission is free.

The exhibit is representative of various times, cultures, and styles from Cassatt to Kollwitz and beyond. Each artist’s unique perspective is reflected in the imagery of these selected works. Artists were chosen based on originality of expression from content to technique to material.

The concept behind “XX” was born in the University Museum’s storage area where, as graduate assistants, Blalock and Bouton work cataloging and organizing the museum’s permanent collection. Through this task, the two have become familiar with the treasures held within the collection and the infrequency with which these treasures are enjoyed by the public. Realizing the incredible female artists represented in the collection such as Mary Cassatt and Käthe Kollwitz, they soon agreed they should curate an exhibit showcasing the work.

“XX” will feature prints from both artists as well as those of Susan Currie, Norma Morgan, and more.  Ceramics from Maria Montoya Martinez will also be on display in addition to paintings by Eunice McCloskey and Anna Marie Schnur.

Paintings range from the abstract to the realistic, from folk to fine art. The diversity and originality of the work has inspired Blalock and Bouton as female artists and they say that they hope to share that inspiration with fellow artists and everyone who visits the exhibit.

Jen Blalock is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas where she received her BA in ceramics. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching: Art Specialization degree from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She also studied abroad at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Ludwigsburg, Germany. Blalock taught all levels of high school art for over five years at South View High School in Hope Mills, N.C. before attending IUP, where she is currently working towards her MFA in drawing.

Her work was included in the fourth annual Armstrong National 2D Competition Exhibition at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia, and in the Bank of the Arts Juried Exhibition–With a Twist! at the Craven Arts Council in New Bern, N.C. among others. She co-curated and participated in Mireia Sentis’ Words and Objectivity show recently in Kipp Gallery with a group of fellow art students. 

Ashley Bouton was raised in Indiana, Pa. where she developed a passion for the arts at a young age. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from California University of Pennsylvania and went on to earn her Master of Arts degree from IUP with a concentration in painting. She is currently continuing her graduate studies at IUP as a Master of Fine Arts painting and drawing candidate, with an expected graduation date of May 2017.

Since 2013, Bouton has participated in over 20 local and regional exhibitions in the Pittsburgh area. Her list of volunteer work includes serving as president of IUP’s Graduate Art Association (GAA), representing the GAA on the board of directors for the University Museum, as well as being a member of RAW: Natural Born Artists, which is an internationally known art association. She has curated this year’s annual GAA art auction as well as the GAA show in the Miller Gallery of Sprowls Hall at IUP. She also co-curated and exhibited in Mireia Sentis’ Words and Objectivity.

She is co-curating a workshop in Peru with the organization Threads of Peru, expected to take place in 2017. Bouton will be conducting brief periods of field study on the Navajo reservation in Arizona over the course of her upcoming thesis year and will be attending an artist residency in Balchik, Bulgaria, upon graduation.

The University Museum is located on the first floor of John Sutton Hall on the IUP campus. Summer hours for the University Museum are Monday and Tuesday noon–5:00 p.m. and Thursday 2:00–7:00 p.m. The Museum will also be open on Saturday, June 11, from noon to 3:00 p.m. For more information, call 724-357-2397.