Exhibition Outline:September Permanent Collection

In Position: Figural Works from the Doane Permanent Art Collection 


Erin Cross, Assistant Professor of Art/Executive Director of Rall Gallery

Proposal Date:

August 1, 2021

Proposed Venue:

Rall Gallery, Doane University, Crete Nebraska


Per mission statement, written in 2007 by Richard Terrell:

Doane College [University] will maintain a growing collection of works of contemporary visual arts. It will be a primary, but not exclusive goal to collect works by artists with a significant connection to the state of Nebraska, and to preserve and exhibit these works for purposes of teaching and enriching the campus environment. 

The Doane University Permanent Art Collection is an impressive group of prints, paintings, drawings, and some sculptural works. A vast number of these artworks are produced by notable and celebrated artists. The educational and cultural value of the art collection is immeasurable. Using the artworks as teaching tools will influence and inspire students and the surrounding community. 

Proposed Start Date of Exhibition:

September 1, 2021

Expected Scale: How much space will this exhibition take up?

The entire use of Rall Gallery wall space and floor area (used for pedestals to showcase sculpture)

Type of work to be included:

A selection of 2D and 3D work from the Doane Permanent Art Collection

Exhibition concept:

In Position: Figural Works from the Doane University Permanent Art Collection is a show that represents the human body experiencing personal realities through the frozen imagery of fragmented action or in between moments of movement. Often creating narratives through the use of situational composition, the artwork welcomes the viewer into the stolen moments of everyday happenings, conflicts and revelries. 

Rationale of timing:

With the fall semester in full swing in the month of September, students will be able to maximize the gallery to its fullest learning potential. 

Contemporary relevance:

Figure as an exhibition focus is not a new or unique idea, but it does remain as a relevant subject matter. The figure in art is a means of communicating human experiences. The figurative form can be used as the ideal medium to convey a spectrum of ideas. The figure allows the viewer to engage in the artwork in a more applicable way and enables the artist to express a range of ideas from the subtle to the obvious. In the post COVID society, the need to connect on a human level is more relevant than ever. This exhibition will help usher in an experience of realness and activate dialogues pertaining to the human question and condition.

The last comparable exhibition:

The last exhibition focusing solely on the figure was that on adjunct art history professor, Lauren Scheele. Scheele’s show, Groomed, November 2019. Although it was figure in subject matter, her work was largely autobiographical. In Position will focus on various figural narratives to bring out more universal themes. 

Potential University/Community engagement:

Gallery Activity: Drawing

  • Saturday Community Workshop: Drawing from Sculpture –Multiple Views
    • Invite community and students to a drawing session in the gallery. Drawing horses, paper and pencils provided for participates. Participates will enjoy the opportunity to draw the various sculptures or figures in the painting. This practice of producing a “master copy” is a classic and traditional approach to cultivating drawing skills that is still encouraged in various academies today. 
  • Doane Student Engagement: Tableaux Vivant Masterclass (Theater Department)
    • Tableaux vivant is a kinesthetic gallery learning opportunity that activates the imagination and creates personalized engagement between the artwork and viewer. 
    • Example of activity that encourages the topic of “Identity”: in front of the artwork, the student takes on the pose and or facial expression of the subject(s). Break from the pose and discuss how the pose and/or facial expression reveal clues to the subject’s identity. In the second pose, have the student anticipate the next move of the subject matter presented. How does this exercise cultivate the perception of identity and does the student’s view or ideas surrounding the artwork change after the activity.

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