WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Oct. 26, 2017 — West Liberty University’s Nutting Gallery now features the works of Pittsburgh artist, curator and educator Chris McGinnis. The exhibition, entitled “Ridges and Shafts” opened on Oct. 25 and will remain on display through Nov. 16.
“The “Ridges and Shafts” exhibition was based on a series of maps about coal mining that shows different levels of mines,” said Nutting Gallery Director Bob Villamagna.
Growing up in in Indiana, Pa., McGinnis was inspired by America’s industrial past. His projects explore the notions of technology, social economics and cultural identity. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, with over 10 solo exhibitions and over 40 group exhibitions in recent years.
“My creative work is primarily rooted in site-based research exploring notions of human progress and identity through place,” McGinnis said.
“I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania during the waning years of America’s post-war industrial paradigm. Shortly after my birth in 1980 the steel mills closed and the coal industry consolidated. Small towns braced for an economic winter from which many communities have yet to emerge. As a child I developed romantic notions of America’s industrial past that were typified for me, by the ruins of a 19th century tannery located near my family cabin in Elk County Pennsylvania. Now hidden amongst the dense overgrowth, these ruins were the backdrops for my childhood reveries and continue to inform my research. Like an effigy to the impermanence of progress, rectangular mounds of dirt and moss now supplant the solid railroad ties that once transported hides to and from that tannery. I remember searching with my siblings for the gnarled iron spikes still embedded in those mounds.
According to McGinnis, areas of continued interest include land surveying, environmental preservation, extraction industries and labor identity.
“My studio work maneuvers a range of disciplines including drawing, painting, video projection, sculptural installation and text. As curator I feel it is my duty to reach across disciplines and inspire creativity; to build meaningful bridges between institutions and the community; and to develop projects that encourage thoughtful investigation of the world around us,” he states.
“In my recent posts as Kipp Gallery Director for Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Chief Curator of Art for Rivers of Steel Arts (RoSA), I have come to understand the value of working both inside and outside the gallery space. I value the gallery as a vital platform for challenging assumptions and exploring how the ideas above resonate in contemporary life. However I also feel that successful arts programming must reach beyond these walls.
McGinnis has exhibited his art both in the U.S. and internationally and it has been featured in European Art Magazine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Tribune Review and created projects for the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and The Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation. He is co-founder of Alloy Pittsburgh a site-based art project and research laboratory developed for the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark.
Located in the Hall of Fine Arts, the Nutting Gallery is dedicated to educating, enriching and engaging students and the public through art exhibitions of the highest quality and to promoting the visual arts within the WLU community.
This exhibition schedule includes five exhibitions by visiting artists, two Senior Exhibitions, and the Annual Art Faculty Exhibition.
The exhibitions are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact [email protected] or call 304-336-8370.