Fall 2023

Please note: DOMA will be closed October 7 - 10 and November 22 - 25 for University breaks.

Debbie Ma’s abstract paintings are marked by their sense of order, balance, and a surface dynamism informed by her studies in graphic designand inspired by a cross-section of modern masters. Her use of white and its variants evoke ancient walls and sculptures, Italian frescoes, as well as paintings by American Minimalist Robert Ryman and Spanish artist Miquel Barceló. Ma’s choice of materials, such as her signature medium of marble dust, lends her paintings a reflective quality, sculptural effect, and, as in Antoni Tàpies’s later works, a sense of “meditative emptiness.” Ma notes how “Working with stone, albeit in powder form, demands the same physicality as carving. I always describe my paintings as two-dimensional sculptures because a lot of effort is made to create volume and thickness.”

Ma speaks many languages and filters them into her work, which is both varied and consistent, preoccupied as she is with materials and their surprising effects. There are Cy Twombly-like marks, calligraphic jottings, and Jackson Pollock–evoking gestures and layering. She says she is fascinated with grids (but not too tightly administered) and can’t resist patterning and surface textures. Her use of geometry suggests how we view and measure what we see.

Surprisingly, having long worked mostly in monochrome, Ma has recently been experimenting with colors in her works, many with a sculptural impasto appearance where light, texture, and complimentary tones on paper produce an unexpected degree of spontaneity.

Join Debbie Ma at DOMA on October 12 for a free, public presentation on her artistic practice; a 5:00 p.m. reception will provide an opportunity to view the exhibition prior to the 6:00 p.m. talk.

This exhibition and related events are made possible by Ball State University's Arts Alive Series, presented by the College of Fine Arts

Image: Debbie Ma, American (born 1957), Social Fabric, 2019, marble dust on canvas, 72 x 90 in. (182 x 328 cm) © Debbie Ma. 

Fibers of Being explores the layered meanings of textiles translocated from Asia to the United States as they cross geographical, cultural, and temporal boundaries. Clothing and accessories convey the personal identities, fashion sense, and social status of their original wearers and transmit the tastes of people who selected them from shops in cities around the world. Because many textiles are portable and adaptable, American tourists and missionaries purchased them as souvenirs to serve as tangible objects around which to center stories of travel with friends back home. 

Works in the exhibition include a silk embroidered woman’s coat, collar, paired apron, and rank badge from China; remnants of Buddhist priests’ robes and a woman’s coat known as an uchikake from Japan; cotton batik sarongs and headwraps from Java; painted textiles created in Bali that feature characters from the Hindu epic Ramayana; a silk and gauze Chinese dragon robe; and a Hmong American quilted applique story cloth. 

Several textiles in the show are new discoveries from storage while others have remained unseen since their initial acquisition by the museum in 1930s–1980s. New research reidentifies and contextualizes these objects while highlighting the roles of women as makers and wearers. Many works include evidence of use through physical traces, such as fraying, loose threads, and incomplete repairs. By introducing visitors to these previously invisible works, this show aims to encourage support for their conservation and preservation. 

This exhibition and related events are made possible by the Sursa Art Exhibitions and Visiting Performers Program and the Friends of the David Owsley Museum of Art.

image: Woman’s Informal Coat, 1850–1900, blue satin ground embroidered with satin, seed, and couching stitches with multicolored silk floss, China, Qing dynasty (1644–1912), Gift of Daniel Jarrett Hathaway, 1937.500.095. 

Beyond the Medici: The Haukohl Family Collection

February 22 – May 19, 2024 

The Beyond the Medici exhibition presents a selection of artworks from the Haukohl Family Collection, the largest private collection of Florentine Baroque art of the late 16th to the early 18th centuries outside of Italy. Assembled over more than 35 years by Houston-based art collector and co-founder of the Medici Archive Project Sir Mark Fehrs Haukohl, the collection includes paintings and sculptures depicting allegories, religious narratives, genre scenes, and portraits. The exhibition sheds light on the intellectual history of Florence under the reign of the Medici Grand Dukes, while at the same time illuminating the deep interest in science and painting founded on disegno (drawing or preliminary study) during the Florentine Baroque period. Overall, the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue illustrate how the Florentine artists of the 17th and early 18th centuries influenced European art history, politics, and philosophy to a far greater extent than art historical research and the public have previously perceived. The collection highlights the elegance and bravura (dramatic skill) of Italian artists along with showcasing the role of women in history. Sir Mark and his personal philanthropies have launched an American college art museum tour, of which the David Owsley Museum of Art is a welcome beneficiary. Please join us and bear witness to the beauty of Florentine Baroque art and culture.


Image: Onorio Marinari (1617-1716), Madonna and Child, oil on canvas, 33.5 x 29.5 in., Haukohl Collection. Photo Credit: MNHA/Tom Lucas 

Image: Felice Ficherelli, (1605-1660), St. Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene, oil on canvas, 40.2 x 40.2 in., Haukohl Collection. Photo Credit: MNHA/Tom Lucas 

The David Owsley Museum of Art has proudly hosted engaging exhibitions over the years for our University community and other diverse audiences to enjoy.

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David Owsley Museum of Art

2021 W. Riverside Avenue
Muncie , IN 47306

9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (Tuesday–Friday)
1:30–4:30 p.m. (Saturday)


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