DePree hosts annual art show


STREET INSPIRATION— Many of Smith’s ceramics are inspired by street graffiti and abstract structures, as seen above. (

The annual Juried Student Art Show at Hope College will run from Monday, Nov. 27, to Friday, Dec. 8, in the DePree Art Center and Gallery. The exhibition opened with a juror’s talk on Monday in Cook Auditorium, and there will also be a reception on Dec. 8, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to conclude the art show.

The exhibition is dedicated in memory of Billy Mayer, a long-time member of the art faculty who died unexpectedly at his home on Nov. 11 at age 64. Mayer was head of the college’s sculpture and ceramic programs and had taught as a professor of art at Hope since 1978.

The competitive exhibition, which is open to all students, is an annual fixture in the DePree gallery.

Each year, the Department of Art and Art History invites a recognized artist to judge the student work. Malcolm Mobutu Smith, an associate professor of ceramic art at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., has been selected as this year’s guest juror. He earned his MFA from the New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1996, and studied at both the Kansas City Art Institute and Penn State University, receiving his BFA in ceramics in 1994. Smith’s professional activities involve workshops, lectures and residencies including visits to Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts. His works are in various collections, both private and public, including The Luise Ross Gallery (NYC), the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City) and the FuLed International Ceramic Art Museum (Beijing, China).

Smith is guided by improvisations that merge form with graphic flatness. His clay work is inspired by the intersections of graffiti art and graphic structure, as well as his own relationships with both comic books and the playful, organic abstraction of jazz. Smith has both wheel-thrown and hand-built elements in his works — most commonly presented as abstractions of cups, bottles and vases — as well as an interest in drawing and 3D printing.

The DePree Art Center and Gallery is located at 275 Columbia Ave., between 10th and 13th streets. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to all of the events, held in the gallery.

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