Fall exhibits arrive at the McDonough Museum

Betsy Stirrat's collection is titled “Embedded Histories”. Photo by Molly Burke / The Jambar

By Owen Bertram and Molly Burke

The McDonough Museum of Art kicked off its fall season with three new art collections Sept. 5, which was followed by a public reception Sept. 8.

Guests can tour the museum galleries to see art by emeritus professor of Indiana University,  Betsy Stirrat, University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Shona Macdonald, and a collection by 13 women of color artists called “#NOTWHITECOLLECTIVE.”

Stirrat’s collection titled “Embedded Histories” will be featured until Oct. 20. Stirrat said she brought many types of art to the McDonough Museum. 

“I did a lot of research in museums and collections from all over the world,” Stirrat said. “The collection will contain paintings, photographs [and] will contain wallpaper that has some images in it that I’ve made. It will also contain some objects and things that I’ve collected on my travels that have to do with the idea of collecting.” 

Macdonald’s collection is titled “Flash of Light Illumines a Dark Landscape” and features a variety of drawings in all different sizes. Macdonald said she uses silverpoint techniques to create her work. 

“I’m using quite an unusual material in this body of work. One of the materials I am using is called silverpoint,” Macdonald said. “When you work with silverpoint it goes on coal gray, and after a month, it tarnishes and turns into a warm brown kind of tone.”

For those interested, Macdonald will be teaching a silverpoint workshop Oct. 4 on how to use the technique. Macdonald said she loves to give back to students, and teach them a skill they have never known before.

Director of McDonough Museum, Claudia Berlinski, said she hopes students visit the museum to see its exhibits and events. 

“I really try to look for art that will benefit the students and the department of art,” Berlinski said. “If they have the opportunity to come in and see the shows, they will find something that they like, and they will be surprised at the kind of work that it is and its contemporary nature and the concepts that they address.”  

The museum will also put on its Short Shorts Festival Oct. 24 through Nov. 4 featuring work by Ilena Finocchi, Michael Schmidt and Illya Mousavijad. 

“I’m looking forward to the Short Shorts Festival, we’ve not done anything like that … I mean, we’ve shown artists who do animations and video and things like that, but not in this sort of way. I’m hoping that we build on that in the future and that it will grow into a bigger festival,” Berlinski said.

The museum will also host artists lectures throughout the semester, including an appearance from Macdonald at the opening reception. 

“I always look forward to the lectures … because it’s nice to have the artists on campus and hear of them talk about their work. It can make a tremendous difference … in understanding of the work and how artists work,” Berlinksi said. “At the opening reception Shona Macdonald will be talking about her work in the gallery, so that will be a nice bonus.” 

Concluding the museum’s fall season will be the Fall 2023 BFA Exhibition from Dec. 1 to 16, beginning with a reception Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. 

The McDonough Museum of Art galleries are open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information and other upcoming events, visit the museum’s website.