Thursday, Jun. 10, 2010 11:30 am


GRINNELL, IA—Dollar bills, political statements, video installations, oils on canvas. All are part of four new exhibitions by four artists opening June 18 at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery.

“The Silent Echo Chamber” by Harry Shearer, “Face Value” by Mark Wagner, “Unconscious Optics” by Michael Van den Besselaar, and “Feast” by Bryan Drury will come together in Faulconer Gallery for the first time, curated by Dan Strong, associate director of the gallery.

Strong selected the artists and works during trips to New York, where each is represented by a different gallery and where Strong found a dialogue among them.

“Curators often organize group exhibitions of artists whose works suit a particular subject. Here are four artists whose works I’ve admired, so I thought I’d explore how they ‘speak’ to one another,” Strong said. “They stand strongly on their own but each artist has a unique take on American culture, and the current election season is a good time to bring them together.”

• Shearer’s “Echo Chamber” is a video installation of well-known personalities such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Dr. Phil in unscripted contemplation, moments before “going live.”

• Wagner’s “Face Value” is composed of his currency collages, a set of portraits crafted from U.S. dollar bills.

• “Unconscious Optics” by Van den Besselaar contains paintings and drawings that explore concepts of celebrity, notoriety, and the American Dream “as seen on TV.”

• “Feast” is a single, large-scale work in oils by traditional painter Drury, the arresting subject matter of which Strong says may be “in political dialogue” with the works by the other artists. “Sometimes I see a work of art so beautifully executed that I just have to bring it here,” Strong said. “I’m curious to hear what our visitors see in it.”

The four exhibitions will run through September 5 during summer gallery hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; closed Mondays. For more information about the exhibition and related programs, call 641-269-4660 or -30-