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McDonough Museum to host YSU faculty artists’ ‘Enigmatic Reflections’

The exhibition is an exploration of innovation and tradition.
Enigmatic Reflections 08192020
Pieces from Youngstown State University faculty artists Debra DeGregorio, at left, and Joseph D'Uva are part of the “Enigmatic Reflections: Department of Art Faculty Exhibition.” (Contributed images)

YOUNGSTOWN — “Enigmatic Reflections: Department of Art Faculty Exhibition” will be on display at the John J. McDonough Museum of Art from Aug. 28 to Oct. 24. 

“Enigmatic Reflections” is an exploration of innovation and tradition. The biennial exhibition of current research by Youngstown State University Department of Art faculty communicates new vision and reinvestigates long-standing practices in the fields of art and design, according to a news release. 

The 17 full- and part-time faculty artists represented include Tony Armeni, Lauren Baker, Claudia Berlinski, Dragana Crnjak, Debra DeGregorio, Joseph D'Uva, Johnathan Farris, Richard Helfrich, Kevin Hoopes, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, Sharon Koelblinger, Christine McCullough, John Guy Petruzzi, Jeff Piper, Dana Sperry, Paige Stewart and Sara Tkac.

Featured in the exhibition, which will be diverse in both media and style, will be the faculty improvement leave research of Crnjak and Sperry.

During the spring, Crnjak focused on research and studio production of smaller-scale artworks that resulted in two different painting series, “Days” and “Shadows.” 

“... the two bodies of work are an accumulation of daily reflections, memories, questions and discoveries I have filtered visually over the past few months,” Crnjak said in the release. “While individually fragmented and allusive — both series operate as a cartography of my mind — diagramming daily interruptions and irregularities as well as repetition and patterns. The softness and instability of compressed charcoal enabled me to emphasize the subtle, ephemeral uncertainties of the days since March 2020.”

Sperry, an associate professor of digital media, will display a map that includes an interactive QR code to represent his “The Why Here: 1877 Railroad Strike.” The project, which is a self- guided audio walk in Pittsburgh, is as much a reflection on the human consequences of swift technological and economic shifts as it is an exploration of the historical events of 1877, according to the release. It examines the physical and intellectual connections between the uprising of 1877 and the technology advancements currently taking place just blocks away involving Big Tech corporations such as Uber. 

“When a society greatly alters its technology and economic models, it must also address the human consequences of such changes,” Sperry said in the release. “As history has shown, not doing so can prove disastrous.”

Some of the participating artists will give livestream gallery talks throughout the run of the exhibition. The schedule includes: Crnjak at 11 a.m. Sept. 8 ; McCullough at 1 p.m. Sept. 22; and Baker at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 6.