Date: Jan. 3, 2013
Contact: Carol Connelly, Director,
Media & Communication Services, ext. 5267, firstname.lastname@example.org
PNC Presents "Mel Theobald: Tree Portraits and Wet Tapestries"
WESTVILLE – The Purdue University North Central Odyssey Arts and Cultural Events Series will feature the exhibit, "Mel Theobald: Tree Portraits and Wet Tapestries” from Jan. 7 through May 17 in the PNC Library-Student-Faculty Building Assembly Hall, Room 02 in the building's lower level. It is free and is open to the public and may be viewed by appointment only.
This show features 25 large scale photographs, which are both direct and abstract representations derived from nature. The photos will be available for purchase.
An award winning Chicago painter and photographic artist, Theobald has exhibited his work internationally, most recently being featured in "The Power of Water," an international exhibition celebrating the United Nations World Water Day at Moscow's Polytechnical Museum.
After earning BFA and MFA degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Theobald has experienced a diverse career as a professor of art history, graphic designer and art conservator. As past president of the SAIC Alumni Association, he established the BareWalls Scholarship Fundraiser at the Art Institute. Beginning in 1990 he has made 18 trips to Russia, working with the Ministry of Culture to promote art and artists since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
His creative work underwent a metamorphosis in 2001 when he began using technology to produce large scale digital photographs. Much of his imaginative output has incorporated the elements of water, trees and nature into an increasingly personal vision. The photographs in this exhibit demonstrate the energy he brings to his work, providing a unique and provocative understanding of variations of time and reflection found in nature. This exhibition is especially timely in coinciding with the UN's International Year of Water celebration for 2013.
Theobald explains his work, “There is a battle going on in my head about the conflict between nature and man. For years my primary focus was figurative realism. Then I began to see the world in a less mythological and allegorical context and realized that consciousness, our ability to comprehend our own being, depends on the elements of the universe working in harmony. This raises the question of personality in the natural world.
For example, when I marvel at the shape, size, color or texture of a tree, I begin to translate its characteristics into something of a personage with unique features. Then there is the question of its place. A tree in a forest is like a person lost in a multicultural metropolis, while the solo performance of a tree in the middle of a cornfield is as naked as a stripper on a burlesque stage. You see everything, its torso, its leaves and its fruit. It gyrates in the wind before shedding its camouflage clothing, exposing its bare limbs while disrobing its vivacious colors of rouge and russet garments. It leaves nothing to the imagination.
As for water, its dance is more secretive. Transparent on the surface, its body is hidden in mysterious reflections. Water exudes emotion and reacts to everything it encounters. It is a volatile substance with a spirit of its own. It dances to the unpredictable rhythm of its surroundings, creating its own music.
Without shame, I ogle at the tree and capture its performance. Without fear, I dream of the wet fabric in the tapestry of water while embracing its deception. In my own way, I have embarked again on the mythological journey of Apollo chasing Daphne while Jason and the Argonauts were being seduced by the Sirens.
To schedule an appointment to view this exhibit or to obtain further information, contact Judy Jacobi, PNC assistant vice chancellor of Marketing and Campus Relations, at 219-785-5200, ext. 5593. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Jacobi.