PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Museum of Art will present an exhibit employing photography, digital imaging and text to confront issues of gender, class, race, nature and constructions of self from Jan. 7 through Feb. 13.

The Jan. 12 opening for the new exhibit, “Picturing Difference: Gender and Representation in Contemporary Photography,” will be from 5-7 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium. It will feature WSU faculty member Paula Coomer reading, “Almost Plum,” from the anthology, “Northwest Edge: Deviant Fictions.” Included in the exhibit are works by Joan Lyons, Martha Madigan and Clarissa Sligh. In the minigallery, located inside the Museum of Art/WSU, work by Ken Chu from the museum’s permanent collection will also be on display.

The following events are planned in connection with the exhibit:

The 2005 Hockenhull Lecture will feature the artist Alma Lopez and will be held at 7p.m. Jan. 25 in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The lecture is entitled, “The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion.” The Jo Hockenhull Distinguished Visiting Lecturer series was started in 1996 by the women’s studies department to honor Hockenhull, a WSU Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts. Hockenhull was director of Women’s Studies at WSU for more than 10 years.

The Women’s Studies and American Studies departments will sponsor a panel of junior scholars presenting their work entitled, “Queering the Body/Claiming the Body: Scholarship from the Next Generation,” at 7 p.m. Feb.1 in the Museum of Art/WSU.  Invited scholars include Kris Kellejian, Allyson Wolf, Christina Vala and Lori Saffin.

  • There will be a Feb. 12 reception in honor of National Freedom to Marry Day and the closing of Picturing Difference sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Allies Program at 7 p.m. in the Museum of Art/WSU.

All events are free and open to the public.

The objective of the Picturing Difference exhibit is to present work of interest to and in support of the GLBA community. The Museum of Art/WSU believes this will not only increase the visibility of GLBA concerns, but will create a platform worthy of fostering discussion within the community and beyond.

Chris Bruce, director of the museum, said, “although this project was undertaken before the President’s Office of Equity and Diversity was inaugurated, the entire project should be clearly understood as an opportunity to explore questions of gender and sexuality as an expression of personal identity and a cultural that is capable of celebrating diversity.”

The exhibit is the focal point for a programming committee representing the Museum of Art/WSU, GLBA, Gendering Research Across the Campuses, Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee, residence life, women’s studies, the English department and general education. It was organized as a means of responding to Washington State University’s mission of raising the overall awareness of diversity issues within the University setting.

Roger Rowley, the curator of the exhibit and director of the Prichard Art Gallery said, “from very different perspectives and through different artistic strategies these artists, when combined for this exhibition, create a wonderful exploration of nature versus nurture in the formation and perception of sexual identification.”

“This exhibition utilizes photography’s unique ability to hold a mirror to the world,” said Bruce. “’Picturing Difference’ offers three case studies which illuminate issues of gender and identity from the personal, poetic work of Martha Madigan, to Joan Lyons’ fascinating survey of art history and current media, to Clarissa Sligh’s intimate documentation of one person’s search for self-definition.”

Funding for this exhibit and programs is provided by the Pride Foundation, the WSU VPLAC and the Friends of the Museum of Art/WSU. Visit the WSU Museum of Art Web Site at wsu.edu/artmuse.