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'On the Edge' Artist Embraces the Environment

Dittmar Gallery to feature sculptures and installations by Nnenna Okore March 30-May 8

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March 18, 2011 | by Judy Moore
Nnenna Okore, “On the Edge,” from March 30 through May 8, Dittmar Memorial Gallery.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Nigerian-born artist Nnenna Okore takes a naturalist’s approach to art by turning decaying biodegradable materials into stunning sculptural forms. Her regenerated works will be featured in a spring exhibition at Northwestern University.

Okore’s “On the Edge” opens March 30 and runs through May 8 at the Dittmar Gallery, located on the first floor of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. Both the exhibition and an opening reception at the gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, are free and open to the public.

Okore’s works are made from handmade paper layered with fibrous materials and dyes that the artist weaves, twists or rolls. She transforms discarded newspaper, wax, cloth, rope, burlap, clay and sticks into intricate and fragile-looking sculptures and installations that allude to the ephemerality of life and mimic traces of the Earth and its topography. For example, “Emissaries,” a wall installation featuring six airy and highly-textured shield-like forms, is made from handmade paper, red dye, burlap and yarn.

Okore is an assistant professor and chair of the art department at Chicago’s North Park University. Her works have been showcased in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad. Her work recently was exhibited at the 2010 Sao Paulo Biennial. For more about the artist, visit www.nnennaokore.com.

For more on the exhibition, call the Dittmar at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit the Dittmar Web site at www.norris.northwestern.edu/dittmar.php.
Topics: Campus Life