New art exhibits open in MU

Emily Barske

Two new art exhibits are on display in the Pioneer Room and the Multicultural Center of the Memorial Union.

“I think everyone at some point needs to be exposed to different kinds of artwork,” said Letitia Kenemer, who is in charge of scheduling the Memorial Union’s art exhibits. “It’s helpful to the artists to get their work out there. It’s also helpful to the students, faculty and visitors on campus that get to see the work.”

In the Pioneer Room, Aaron Tinder’s “Dissonance and Recall” is exhibited. He said his 22 pieces are meant to evoke contradiction and to challenge our minds to break through the barriers of normality. Tinder’s works demonstrate the themes of memory and identity through a variety of imagery, collages and uncommon relationships, he said.

“This is a completely new body of work for me, and it developed out of my love for photography partially. The paintings all use my own photos, cut up and rearranged, as a jumping-off point,” Tinder said. “The subject matter is all based on the idea of combining things that seem to be opposite or not related, like the toy cars with ribbons and fabric textures.”

Tinder’s art career began in college. He said though he’d always loved art, he didn’t start truly studying it until his second or third year of college. Tinder received his undergraduate degree from Simpson College and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Northern Illinois University in 1998. He has shared his love for art by teaching to all age groups and is currently a professor at Grandview University.

Tinder also said that the artwork displayed in the Memorial Union correlates to other works he has been doing the past several years, but this is the first time he has incorporated his photographs.

The other new exhibit is displayed in the Multicultural Center. The Pakistani artist Kaukab Barni Merchant expresses clashing feelings through Pakistani motifs in her exhibit “Painting as Beauty and Healing.” Merchant said her “collages of life” reveal the culture of Pakistani women.

“The Multicultural Center was a great spot for her [work] because not only is she from Pakistan, but her art reflects embroidery and textiles from the area,” Kenemer said.

Merchant said she began her art career in 1982 in Karachi, Pakistan, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Karachi University. The first painting that she had exhibited received numerous compliments and was well liked, she said. From there, she had artwork exhibited internationally — mainly in the United States and Germany.

In 1994, Merchant’s marriage brought her to the United States. Eventually she came to live in Ames where her studio is now located.

Merchant said her favorite aspect of creating art is the designing and painting.

Tinder’s exhibit will be on display through Sept. 29 and Merchant’s will be shown through December. On Sept. 24, the Memorial Union is hosting Art Critique with Aaron Tinder at 7 p.m. in the Pioneer Room. Those interested can discuss Tinder’s art with him and may also bring up to three pieces of their own to be critiqued.

Tinder is excited about the opportunity because he believes it is essential for artists to get this kind of feedback from one another. It is yet to be determined whether there will be a similar event for Merchant’s exhibit.

“The nice things about the spaces in the [Memorial] Union is that all of our art spaces are also places where people have meetings or do other things,” Kenemer said. “It gets a lot of people who wouldn’t normally come to a show on their own but are there for something else and as an added bonus get to see an art exhibit.”