News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 12, 2012

Halcyon features Petra Nyendick, Ray Chen this month

Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — This month, Halcyon Art Gallery’s North Gallery is presenting a collaboration, featuring works of art by Ray Chen and Petra Nyendick. The exhibition pays tribute to Nyendick, founder of the Halcyon Gallery, and welcomes the new owners, Ray Chen and Ann Huang, into the arts community.

“I’m thrilled that Ray and Ann are continuing the Halcyon operations, and am excited about their scheduled exhibitions and educational programs for the upcoming seasons,” Nyendick said.

Chen and Huang began operations at Halcyon starting Jan. 1.

The featured exhibition is entitled “Immortal Memories.” 

“The title is a reflection of the history and memory of Terre Haute, Nyendick’s contribution to the Halcyon Art Gallery for the past six years (2006-2011), and honors the relationships of mother and child,” Chen said.

The North Gallery exhibition features works of art by Nyendick, created in the last four years. After working with the grid for about a decade, this body of work represents her attempts to break away from the rigidity of the grid and investigates the concept of order, disorder and the reorder of the grid system. In the earlier works, dated 2008-09, it is evident that the security of the gridded format is being attacked and manipulated with an outcome that results in unexpected configurations. Still working in the style of geometric non-representation, irregularity and abnormality of form challenge the organized grid format.

The work from this earlier period influenced Nyendick’s current series, also on display at the Halcyon. Wanting to bring representation into her work, Nyendick began to research the history of the grid and how grid systems revolutionized the world. Her recent body of work examines, both conceptually and formally, what lies beneath the surface of society’s perception of reality, and suggests that reality can often be deceptive and misleading. Using maps, the work examines the perception and distortion of reality. With bricks, Nyendick comments on the isolation and fragmentation of contemporary society. Corporate identities such as logos comment on consumer culture.

Nyendick is intuitively aware of systems in the urban environment and in nature and combines the two elements, creating works of art that comment on the human condition; of control and manipulation. She builds her work in layers, using both the rigid grid and the organic patterns of nature as inspiration and uses a variety of mediums including acrylic, steel, lead, canvas and found objects. Nyendick likes to explore combinations of the opaque, translucent and transparent; the visible and hidden. No absolute truths exist within her work and irony or delusion may lurk beneath the surface. This establishes an interactive dialogue with the viewer and encourages use of memory and imagination to complete that which is concealed and indiscernible.

Nyendick resides in Terre Haute. She has exhibited in Canada and in the Midwest United and has had one-person shows at the Gaslight Art Colony in Illinois, St. Mary-of-the Woods Art Gallery, the 4 Star Gallery in Indianapolis and a two-person show in Paris, Ill., at the Bicentennial Museum. Nyendick has exhibited in group shows in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and throughout Canada.

Also exhibiting in the North Gallery is Chen. In his sculpture, he embodies both Eastern and Western cultural influences.   

“My sculpture is my physical language that crosses the boundaries of culture, while strongly reflecting two other art forms — music and flower arrangement,” Chen said. “I value form, space and line between internal and external — one cannot exist without the other.” 

Chen has been an Artist-in-Residence at Baltimore Clayworks in Maryland. Chen was an associate professor and the head of the Ceramics Department at the University of Southern Maine and former assistant professor and the head of Ceramics program at Indiana State University, Department of Art. His ceramic works have been exhibited both nationally and internationally with numerous reviews and publications. He has been traveling and exhibiting as well as presenting lectures in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hawaii, Netherlands/Holland, Japan, Poland, Scotland, Switzerland, Taiwan and North America. 

While at the Halcyon, visit the East Wing, where the gallery is presenting a historical exhibition, focusing on Terre Haute during the 1940s and 1950s.

Lectures about the art exhibitions are planned at 2 p.m. on Saturdays during January.

Ben Orman will present a lecture entitled “Understanding Our Built Environment” this Saturday and on Jan. 21, Nyendick will be discussing her artwork in a presentation entitled, “Something Old Something New.” On Jan. 28 Tommy Kleckner will be presenting “Indiana Landmarks.”  

The exhibitions will be on display through Jan. 27. Halcyon Art Gallery is located at 25 S. Seventh St., beside the Swope Art Museum at Seventh and Ohio streets. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, email All events are free and open to the public.