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Events | Featured | Arts and SciencesJanuary 26, 2022

Stealey Exhibit Opens at Windgate Gallery

Written By: Samantha Contreras

Award-winning artist and educator Dr. Jo Stealey’s exhibit “EXTRA/ORDINARY” is now on display at the Windgate Art & Design Gallery on the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus. Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, now through March 11.

“I can tell you that there is tremendous enthusiasm already for the exhibition,” said Dr. Matthew Bailey, director of the Windgate Art & Design Gallery, noting that students have already begun to explore and even participate in the installation.

“I think it’s a tremendously impactful installation for the campus and community. Her transformation of handmade paper into natural, organic forms and everyday objects creates a fantastic experience in the gallery space that encourages associations and incites the imagination, in my experience.”

The show consists of over 30 objects including pedestal- and wall-sculptures, intricately designed three-dimensional art books, and a large-scale installation titled "The Forest" that simultaneously transforms the gallery into a dense woodland, a riverbed with monumental reeds and rocks, and an otherworldly landscape.

Bailey says Stealey’s multimedia work holds meticulously crafted papers such as leaves, wood and other organic forms gathered from nature; as well as cloth, thread and linen; forged steel and gold leaf.

According to her biography, Stealey’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in many private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is a professor emeritus of the University of Missouri, where she served as head of fibers, department chair, and the founding director for the School of Visual Studies. She is also an important figure to contemporary fiber and American basketry, providing many National Basketry Organization and curatorial lectures.

Stealey says her work is referenced to both the mundane and the natural, stemming from the moments of her youth. For example, ‘rural environment along the Missouri River’ to ‘extraordinary the ordinary quotidian of my daily experience.’

“Her works dissolve the traditional boundaries between artistic media, art and nature, and the ephemeral and the permanent, presenting immersive exhibitions that revel in the creative power of the natural world and humanity alike,” said Bailey.

On March 11, the final day of the exhibit, Stealey will deliver an artist talk in person and online with additional details to be announced.

For more information, please contact Bailey at art.gallery@uafs.edu.