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Bradbury Gallery opens season with 'Confluence: Work by Gayle Pendergrass and John Salvest'

Aug. 22, 2008 --  Arkansas State University’s Bradbury Gallery will present its opening exhibition for the fall semester, “Confluence: Work by Gayle Pendergrass and John Salvest.” This bi-annual event is one in a series featuring two members from the ASU Department of Art.  The opening reception will be held Thursday, Aug.  28, at 5 p.m.  The Bradbury Gallery is located in ASU’s Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. “Confluence” runs through Friday, Sept. 26.

Pendergrass, a professor of art education in the Department of Art, will be exhibiting several new pieces. Her mixed media works are created by the use of a variety of materials and techniques and by the application of objects and images such as print transfers, found objects, drawings, and paintings onto paper and fabric.

In discussing her new work, Pendergrass says, “I started working on the “Samplers” as an outgrowth of my interest in sewing and in alternative sorts o
Gayle Pendergrass's mixed-media work, "Sampler-Baby Boy," is on display at the Bradbury Gallery, Thursday, Aug. 28.f prints. I had been working with combining seemingly unrelated images and objects, and most of my work has had a mixed media component, so those weren’t new features. I had no preconceived idea as to content. As I worked through several of these “Samplers,” I began to understand what the combinations of images were about. I discovered the meanings of the pieces. Until that point, I had not realized the extremely personal nature of the “Samplers.” My intent is that they are not so personal as to exclude anyone who sees them.”

She comments about her renderings of the items she has collected by stating, “Some objects are simply beautiful. On their own they are perfect. They need nothing else to complete their aesthetic value. Most of these objects exist in nature, though a few are man-made. When I started the piece entitled “Beautiful Objects,”
my plan was to complete my collection of objects, display them simply, and then create images of each of them for the accompanying piece. I observed that an egg is beautifully perfect, but an image of an egg is less so. The image needs something else – some change or addition. This holds true for the other objects as well.” 

The drawings and her collected objects will be included in the exhibition along with several photo-based works. These color transparencies, montages, and prints are beautiful little reminders from Pendergrass’ life. She says of the photos, “I’ve sought a quiet attitude …these images express the introspection of a soul in repose.”

Salvest, a professor of art, teaches sculpture at ASU.  He has chosen to exhibit a selection of work that he has created over the span of years he has been at ASU. Much of his work is made of found and collected materials that he constructs into sculptural objects and installations.

One of his oldest works in the exhibition is an on-going piece titled “Reliquary.” He explains this piece “is a work in progress begun in 1990, around the time I started teaching sculpture at Arkansas State University.”  He states that “Reliquary,” which is constructed from a found glass hand and his own fingernail clippings, “began as aJohn Salvest's "Reliquary" will be on display at the Bradbury Gallery Thursday, Aug. 28. satirical homage to my Catholic upbringing and its odd history of venerating saint’s bones and splinters from the true cross, as well as an ironic commentary on the absurdly elevated status sometimes applied to artists in the modern era.”

He continues, “Every two weeks or so for the past eighteen years I have sat before the hand, opened its bright green lid, and dropped my freshly-clipped nails through its middle finger. Like an overturned hourglass, the hand is slowly but surely filled with physical evidence of my existence. What began as a light-hearted gesture has evolved into something else. Each deposit of bodily detritus into the jar is a bittersweet exercise. Generally speaking, we take satisfaction in the conclusion of our work, but in this case the completion date is unknown and not eagerly anticipated. “Reliquary” will only be finished when I am. With each passing year this habitual meditation on mortality has taken on added meaning as family, friends, and pets have been physically subtracted from my life.”

Salvest concludes, “Each of our lives is a work in progress. What you see in the gallery is selected evidence of a significant part of mine with some of its thoughts, feelings, and preoccupations, the same part represented perhaps more succinctly by the accumulation of scaly remnants in a glass hand.”

Bradbury Gallery hours are 12 noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. The gallery is closed on Monday. The exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public. For additional information, please contact Les Christensen, director of the Bradbury Gallery, at, or call the Bradbury Gallery at (870) 972-2567.



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