Fall 2022

Regionalism, Surrealism, and Climate Change: Recent Loans and Acquisitions at the David Owsley Museum of Art

September 29 – December 22, 2022 

A selection of recent loans and acquisitions continues the museum’s mission to cultivate lifelong learning through an engaging collection of original works of art. Several donations, purchases, loans, and promised gifts illustrate major modernist movements and raise awareness about climate change, which the World Health Organization considers the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.  

The exhibition features three major paintings: a study of laborers harvesting sugar cane by American Regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, a monumental ‘inscape’ or interior psychological landscape by Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta, and contemporary artist Diane Burko’s Antarctica Diptych, which bears witness to global warming. These highlighted works are accompanied by several new additions of American art to the collection by history painter Emanuel Leutze, Symbolist Elihu Vedder, American Impressionist Ernest Lawson, Midwestern sculptors Janet Scudder and Mildred Welsh Hammond, Park Avenue Cubist Albert Eugene Gallatin, mid-century modernist Earl Kerkam, and African American artist Joseph Delaney.  The variety of objects is further enhanced with photo drawings by Ball State Emeritus Professor Lawrence Graham, Japanese prints and sculpture, and a spectacular African mask. These works add significantly to the museum’s world art collection, which reflects Ball State’s inclusive values and represents the increasingly diverse heritage of its student body and the people of East Central Indiana. 

Join DOMA at 6:00 p.m. on October 13 for a public talk by featured artist Diane Burko on art and climate change. This exhibition and event are both made possible by Ball State University's Arts Alive Series, presented by the College of Fine Arts.

Image: Diane Burko, Antarctica Diptych (Antarctica Dream #1 and Paradise Channel, Lemaire #3), 2013, oil on canvas, Purchase: Sharon Seager Women’s Art Fund and Gift of Joseph and Pamela Yohlin,  2021.012.001-002 © Diane Burko. 

Rising to the Surface: Paintings by Debbie Ma

September 28 – December 21, 2023 

Debbie Ma’s abstract paintings are marked by their sense of order, balance, and a surface dynamism informed by her studies in graphic design and 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.


Image: Debbie Ma, American (born 1967), Social Fabric, 2019, marble dust on canvas, 72 x 90 in. (182 x 328 cm) © Debbie Ma. 

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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