Painting courtesy of IU Art Museum

Senegalese painter Kalidou Sy created Ci-Wara, above, while living in Bloomington from 1997-2005. His “Traces and Echoes: Mixed Media Paintings” exhibit is one of three new shows at the museum, which run from March 28 through May 20. All of Sy’s works were created while he lived here.

On March 28, the IU Art Museum will premier several exciting new exhibitions, with work from Master of Fine Arts candidates in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, African artists Tijani Sitou and Kalidou Sy and Venetian draftsman Domenico Tiepolo.

The exhibitions will be on view in the Special Exhibitions Gallery and at the School of Fine Arts (SoFA Gallery) through May 20.

MFA Thesis Exhibitions

Jenny McComas, curator of Western art after 1800, believes the MFA exhibitions are unique opportunities for these emerging artists.

“They have the unusual experience of learning some of the differences between exhibiting in a museum space versus a gallery space,” she said, mentioning that most of the shows are at the SoFa Gallery rather than the museum.

“They also have the rare opportunity to show their work not surrounded by other examples of contemporary art, but in the context of the museum’s encyclopedic collections, which span the globe and cover most eras of world history,” she said.

The exhibits are celebrations of the MFA candidates’ graduation from the School of Fine Arts. Their work will be presented in three consecutive group shows. Each artist will speak briefly about his or her work during the reception for each show.

The first show, exhibiting through April 8, features the oil paintings of J. Jordan Burns. In a news release for the event, Burns described his paintings as “glossy, graphic imagery … [incorporating] dreamlike elements of Americana, patriotism, pride and the fallen empire.”

Painter Garth Swanson and graphic designer Jeff Hanson will show their work in the second show, April 11-22.

The third show, April 25-May 6, will feature a diverse group of work – metalsmithing, painting, printmaking and sculpture – by Michelle Rozic, Chatham Meade, Mike Vitale and Joni Younkins-Herzog.

African Art Today Series

The work of photographer Tijani Sitou and painter Kalidou Sy will be on display as part of “African Art Today,” a new series “designed to highlight the innovative and eclectic art being created by African artists of our time,” according to the event’s news release.

Mopti a la Mode: Portrait Photographs by Tijani Sitou, will be the first introduction of the Yoruba artist’s work to an American audience. Born in Nigeria, he lived most of his life in Mali, where he founded the Photo Kodak studio.

With his black-and-white portraits such as “I Am Adonis,” “My Embroidered Boubou and Pretty Radio” and “See My Henna,” Sitou captured both the modernity and cultural values of his clients in the city of Mopti.

The second installation, “Traces and Echoes: Mixed Media Paintings by Kalidou Sy,” shows the work this Senegalese painter created while living in Bloomington and University Park, Md. from 1997 to 2005. His work combines acrylic pigments with materials he collected from his local environment to create layered compositions.

Scholars Joanna Grabski and Candace Keller will present lectures for this exhibition.

Grabski, an associate professor of art history at Denison University, wrote the brochure for Sy’s exhibit. She will speak about his work on April 11.

Keller, a doctoral student in IU’s art history department, wrote the brochure and is the guest curator for Mopti a la Mode. She will speak about the life and work of Sitou on April 26.

A Taste of Tiepolo: Selected Drawings from the Work of Domenico Tiepolo

The selected masterworks from the New Testament cycle by Venetian draftsman Domenico Tiepolo will be on display in the Hexagon Gallery of the Special Exhibitions Gallery.

The New Testament cycle drawings are the artist’s most extensive drawn serial narrative, according to the event’s news release. The drawings trace the history of Christianity through pen, ink and wash over chalk indication on large handmade paper.

IU Art Museum director Adelheid M. Gealt organized “Domenico Tiepolo: A New Testament,” a major exhibition that appeared at the Frick Collection in New York City last fall.

The Art Museum’s display this spring will feature seven of the drawings, including five from a private Indiana collection and two sheets from St. Louis not seen in New York. Though this exhibit will be considerably smaller than the Frick show, Gealt said the two drawings from St. Louis make it special.

“The other five drawings belong to an Indiana collector, making them uniquely Indiana-related,” she said. “We’re very proud to have them on loan to us.”

To bring context to these drawings and offer insight into Tiepolo’s work, some of the artist’s etchings will also be presented, as well as a rare 18th-century Venetian Bible.

Gealt and Professor George Knox’s book, Domenico Tiepolo: A New Testament, illustrates all 313 drawings in the cycle. The authors will hold a book-signing and reception at the Art Museum on April 5, where they will discuss their rediscovery of the New Testament cycle.

All of these exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. The IU Art Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sundays noon – 5 p.m.

Alison Hamm can be reached at