Excerpt from the text behind the image:

Every Sunday morning at 5:30 am, my mother gets out of bed, gets dressed, and drives to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Sometimes, I had to go with my mother if no one was else was home. For an hour every Sunday she would sit and pray, in an empty room with nothing but an altar, some stained glass windows, and a golden box.

The reason for this is the golden box contains the bread and wine, which according to Catholic tradition, becomes Jesus’s body and blood. Church practice states it must be watched over and adored at all times. This is sort of a second job for my mother. If she cannot make her scheduled time, she has to find someone to fill in for her. And she often filled in for others. So there was always a chance I would be plucked from the excitement of my 5year old life and placed in an empty room where I wasn’t allowed to make a mess or a ruckus.

Most of the time I would spend the time sitting on the floor with my toys, reenacting the battle of Sarlacc with my dress shoes doubling as battleships for my Star Wars figures to ride in. Every now and then I would poke at my mom in some impish attempt to gain attention, but she would be on her hands and knees locked in prayer. I asked what is in the golden box on the table and she would eventually say, “Jesus is in the box.” The altarpiece did have some kind of shiny reflective window in the center, which I stared at for hours hoping to see Jesus’s face inside peering at me from some other dimension.

As I grew older I stopped believing in such things, but as an artist I struggle to make anything as perplexing or as fascinating as that which my mom believed held the greatest miracle of all time.

Here I used an image that was originally made by Thomas Kinkade. I read somewhere his mother was a big influence on him to “capture the light” for everyone to see. He is dead now, I hope wherever he is he isn’t upset I used his image. This landscape looks like somewhere I’d like to be. This is the image I imagined with the pacific coast would look like. My home is nothing like this, there are no majestic trees or rocky outcroppings along the coast of Oklahoma. My mom has a print of the image above the other mysterious box of my childhood, the television.

I still want to believe something is inside the golden box, whether it is Jesus, the Wizard of Oz, or even Thomas Kinkade. I suppose that is what my mom would want me to believe anyway. That is all she ever asked of me. I am content to keep looking sometimes just in case she is right.

Chris Ireland

The title of the exhibition comes from artist Georgia O’Keefe, whom after moving away from New York City to the southwest, began signing her letters to friends with the phrase “from the faraway nearby”. This oxymoronic statement seemed to capture the spirit of the artists that curator and Assistant Professor Chris Ireland chose to feature in the TSU gallery. All of the artists featured in From the Faraway Nearby use art to figure out the complicated ways in which place can shape and affect us. Included in the exhibition are photographic landscapes that are traditionally beautiful (showcasing sunsets, lakes, country roads) to ones that utilize personal narrative, digital alteration, and visual metaphors. Some of the artists find inspiration in our network of highways and signposts, while others celebrate the wilds of nature. Others investigate the personal stories that are embedded in their interpretation of the land.

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Jesse Morgan Barnett – To Accident and Abandon Such Customary Writings

Jesse Morgan Barnett is a Dallas based artist who received his M.F.A. (Intermedia) from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011. His work has been exhibited in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and featured in such publications such as Adbusters, Flash Forward, and Semigloss. Barnett co-founded the Dallas Bienniel and is a member of the collaborative group Dick Higgins.

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Diane Durant – from Between Here and Cool series

Diane Durant is a writer and photographer living in fort worth, tx. she recently graduated with her PhD in humanities from the university of texas at dallas where she also serves as senior lecturer in photography.

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Leigh Merrill, Centro Joyero, from the series Into the Sunset

Leigh Merrill received her BFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM in 2001 and her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California in 2009. Merrill’s work has been a part of exhibitions throughout the United States in venues such as the Phoenix Art Museum, the diRosa Art Preserve, The Lawndale Art Center, the Tremaine Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. Merrill was a part of the 2011 Fotographia Festival Internazionale di Roma at the Galleria Gallerati in Rome, Italy. Leigh Merrill lives and works in Dallas, Texas where she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

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Adam Neese – Dry Reach

Adam Neese (b. 1985, Longmont, Colorado) was raised in Grapevine, TX, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. His photographic works explore the relationship between memory and image; challenging the assumed notion of photograph as a factual document. Adam’s work has been exhibited throughout the US and abroad, including at The Rourke Art Museum (MN,) Louisiana Tech University, and De Fotohal (Amsterdam.) Adam holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Master of Fine Arts from The University of North Texas where he currently teaches photography.

Installation Shots:

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The following are pics from the Study Abroad trip I supervised last summer in South Africa.  This year marks my third year in a row traveling to South Africa/Zimbabwe. The students spent a couple days in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they saw Nelson Mandela’s home in the Soweto Township.  Among other sites visited was the 2010 World Cup Stadium, the Aparthied Museum, and Nelson Mandela Square.  The students then traveled to Kruger National Park where they spent 10 days in the field photographing the wildlife and the landscape.  Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest game reserves at over 7,000 square miles.  There students saw the big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, and elephant) among many other types of plant and animal wildlife native to Africa.  The students were taught basic to advanced camera functions and professional image producing software.  There will be an exhibition this Fall of the student’s work in the TSU Student Center.

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Tarleton Arts4385 Students on a bush walk in Kruger National park.

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Tarleton Arts4385 Students outside Nelson Mendela’s childhood home in the Soweto neighborhood of Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (above and below)
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Since the days of the Kodak film camera, families have been able to produce albums upon albums of snapshots of everyday life. With digital photography, we are capable of even larger databases of personal mementos. The Family as Verncaular explores the pictorial language of the family photograph utilizing digital techniques and found imagery. The family album often contains within it memories of happiness, mundanity, and loss. These are the narratives of everyday life. Participating artists Margaret Hiden, Libby Rowe, and H. Jennings Sheffield construct work that provokes viewers to make references to their own memories and experiences.

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Margaret Hiden, Marbury Women, 2010, From the series, 15 Glenview Circle

Margaret Hiden’s series 15 Glen View Circle, was inspired by her grandfather’s recent struggles with dementia and memory loss. In her work she has taken selected family album photographs from the past and layered them with imagery from the present. The older images contain people and events that are long past, while the architecture of the home is still present in the layered images. The interior spaces in the work become a metaphor for the mind as a tangible space.

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Libby Rowe sub(division), installation detail

In the photo installation (sub)Division, Libby Rowe is exploring the concept of the “neighborhood”. Upon moving to her new home in San Antonio, TX, Libby was both baffled and inspired by the suburban landscape. Libby began to collect family photographs from friends and complete strangers around the neighborhood. These photographs were then turned into 3d sculptures that are placed along the gallery floor in a cul-de-sac. The work asks the audience to consider the humanity of the inhabitants of our common suburban dwellings.

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H. Jennings Sheffield, 2:00pm-4:00pm (Sept. 10, Oct. 20, Oct. 25, Nov. 23, Feb. 1), 43″ x 28″ x 4.5″, Archival Digital Print on Panel, 2013

Jennings Sheffieldʼs photo series Tethered visually portrays a specific period of time during different days of the week. Using a mathematical formula, she breaks down the daily images into vertical slices and then reintegrates them into a single image. Each print represents what a two-hour period of time visually looks like across the span of a number of days as she balances being an artist, mother, teacher, wife, and daughter throughout the week.

Installation Shots:

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Students from Tarleton’s Digital Media Studies area have produced a documentary featuring veterans of World War 2 from North Texas describing their experiences both at home and abroad. The feature-length film was created as an Applied Learning Experience (ALE) for service learning and directed by professor Chris Ireland.  

Here is a link to the trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crngRwoGZi4&feature=youtu.be

The film will be premiering at the Majestic Theater in Eastland, TX on Saturday, February 7th at 12 pm, after the opening reception of the National Endowment of the 

Humanities “Our Lives, Our Stories” exhibition at the Eastland County Museum. Preceding the showing, The Eastland County Museum, located at 114 S. Seaman St.,

will honor area veterans at a special reception slated for 10 am, featuring special guests including Stephenville mayor Kenny Weldon.  

Information about the “Our Lives, Our Stories” project from Texas Highways Magazine

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22 March 2015