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 Friday, Jan. 7, through Sunday, Feb. 13.

The objective of the exhibit, “Picturing Difference: Gender and Representation in Contemporary Photography,” is to present work of interest to and in support of the WSU Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Allies (GLBA) Program and 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 the exhibit was undertaken before the WSU President’s Office of Equity and Diversity was inaugurated, the entire project should be understood as an opportunity to explore questions of gender and sexuality as an expression of personal identity and a culture that is capable of celebrating diversity.

“Picturing Difference” offers three case studies that illuminate issues of gender and identity: the personal, poetic work of Martha Madigan; Joan Lyons’ fascinating survey of art history and current media; and Clarissa Sligh’s intimate documentation of one person’s search for self-definition. In the mini gallery, work by Ken Chu from the museum’s permanent collection also will be on display.

Lectures, reception, panel planned

Free events, open to the public, planned in conjunction with the exhibit include:

• Opening, 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, Fine Arts Auditorium, with WSU English instructor Paula Coomer reading “Almost Plum,” from the anthology, “Northwest Edge: Deviant Fictions.”

• 2005 Hockenhull Lecture, “The Virgin of Guadalupe: Interpreting Devotion,” by artist Alma Lopez, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, Fine Arts Auditorium. 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 and director of Women’s Studies at WSU for more than 10 years.

• Panel of junior scholars, sponsored by the Women’s Studies and American Studies departments, presenting their work, “Queering the Body/Claiming the Body: Scholarship from the Next Generation,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb.1, Museum of Art/WSU. Invited scholars include Kris Kellejian, Allyson Wolf, Christina Vala and Lori Saffin.

• Closing reception in honor of National Freedom to Marry Day, sponsored by GLBA, 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, Museum of Art/WSU.

Funding for the 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 http://wsu.edu/artmuse.