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August 26, 2011

May, Bekkering kick off season at Halcyon

TERRE HAUTE — During the month of September, Halcyon Contemporary Art is featuring works of art by Allyson May and Karen Bekkering.

May’s body of work entitled “From the Fire” will be exhibited in the North Gallery, and Bekkering’s series, “Shadow Box” will be featured in the South Gallery and Project Room.

The opening reception is from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 2 in conjunction with Terre Haute’s First Friday downtown activities. The public is invited to view the exhibits.

In the North Gallery:

In 1993, May retired from her teaching career and began to pursue — in earnest — her interest in artistic expression. Clay quickly became her medium of choice. “As one of the oldest mediums that combines both function and beauty still in use, clay gives me a sense of dimension and possibilities,” May said.

“I have always been fascinated with Native American pottery, particularly that of the Pueblo Indian tribes. To me, the vessels they create represent an amalgam of classic functionality perfectly combined with an amazing sense of strength, grace, spirit and perpetuity.”

This fascination has guided May throughout her artistic journey. Her unique ability to view the world and interpret what is seen at the most elemental level has made it possible for May to fashion truly inspired pieces of art. Proficient in Raku, Naked Raku, Saggar and Cone 6 functional ware, May also develops her own glazes and clays as a way of creating art that expresses an emotional message of the here and now, while honoring the spirit of the Native American past.

May lives and works in Bloomington, where she owns and operates “Stoney Creek Pottery” on 27 acres of rolling Indiana woodlands. She offers a variety of ceramic workshops that emphasize alternative firing methods, process, technique, experimentation and problem solving.

In the South Gallery & Project Room:

Bekkering’s new body of work is based on memory. Her photographs incorporate images that reflect her childhood experiences. Growing up in Chicago, Bekkering remembers the El-train, the skyline and high rise buildings that are characteristic of the city. In addition, she recalls friends and family from her early life experiences in Chicago.

At the age of 14, Bekkering relocated to Indiana. Images from Chicago and from her first impressions of the Midwest are reflected in these photographs.

“When I moved to Indiana my first impressions were of all the trees, cows and abandoned farm buildings, unlike the inner city where I lived,” Bekkering said.

Bekkering has worked with transparencies and mirror images since the 1970s. Recently, she has been working with shadow boxes that contain multi-layered images printed on transparent paper. The shadow boxes add depth and another dimension, allowing the viewer to enter and see different layers, reminiscent of Bekkering’s dreams.

“In this space I place a young woman and a life of experiences,” she says. “I prefer working with digital technology because it lifts the boundaries that restrict traditional dark room photography.”

Bekkering lives and maintains a studio in Clinton. She studied photography at Indiana State University and has exhibited locally and regionally since the 1970s. She is an award-winning photographer, having received recognition in museums and galleries including Purchase Awards at the 63rd and 67th Swope Wabash Valley Juried Exhibition, Photography Awards at Minnetrista Art and Cultural Center, Muncie, and the Anderson Fine Arts Center.

The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 30 at the Halcyon. Artists will be present at the opening reception. Halcyon is beside the Swope Art Museum at 25 S. Seventh Street in Terre Haute. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or by appointment. For more information, call (812) 841-2884 or visit The event is free.

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