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Mount Memorial Art Gallery to Host ‘Through the Iris’ Exhibit

Saturday, August 12, 2017

“Through the Iris,” a touring art exhibition showcasing the work of 25 contemporary, professional female visual artists, will open on Monday, August 14. This exceptional, free exhibit will be hosted in the Mount Memorial Art Gallery at Grace College, 200 Seminary Dr., Winona Lake. The opening reception will be held Friday, September 1, at 7 p.m., preceded by an Artist Talk at 6:30 p.m.

Through a variety of mediums, “Through the Iris” depicts the personal journeys and narratives of the artists. “Threads of meaning weave through the work to reveal themes of home, refuge, longing, reconnection, discovery and transcendence,” explained Kim M. Reiff, director of the exhibit and chair of the visual, performing, and media arts department at Grace College. “Together, the 25 artists offer the viewer a rich visual experience. We encourage the community stop by and enjoy their work.”

The catalog accompanying the exhibition includes images, artist statements and essays by artists William Catling, Sandra Bowden and Chris Anderson that expand on content, meaning and relevance of female visual artists’ work. William Catling, professor of art at Azusa Pacific University and co-curator, examines the role of women artists in the contemporary art world. Sandra Bowden, renowned artist, collector and co-curator, offers a historical perspective of women in the arts. Chris Anderson, award winning artist and scholar, provides a contextual overview of her journey as an artist.

Each participating artist holds a masters of fine arts (MFA) from Azusa Pacific University. The MFA program at Azusa Pacific University is the first graduate art degree within the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). It encourages students to integrate the essential elements of their faith, life and art. As one of the first five graduates from Azusa Pacific University’s MFA program, Reiff initiated and directs “Through the Iris” to showcase the inspiring, exceptional work of other MFA graduates.

“Through the Iris” is scheduled to show at the Mount Memorial Art Gallery from August 14 – October 7. It will then will travel to Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Ind., from October 16 – December 16, followed by presentations at Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, Texas,  February 19 – March 16, 2018, and George Fox University, Newberg, Ore., August 27 – September 28, 2018. It will close at Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, Calif., after exhibiting from October 9 – November 2, 2018.

Biographies of Curators and Contributors:

William Catling founded and directed the MFA program from 2005-2014. As a prolific artist, educator and author, his work focuses on figurative clay sculptures. Mentored by sculpture Stephen De Staebler, he has served as professor of art and design at Azusa Pacific since 1991 and as department chair for over 10 years. His work is held in public and private collections. He lives and works in southern California.

Sandra Bowden, a renowned painter, printmaker, author and art collector, has presented over 100 one-person shows. Her work is held in private and public collections including the Vatican Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Brauer Museum, Atwood Museum and the Haifa Museum. Sandra was president of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) from 1993-2007. Her book, “The Art of Sandra Bowden,” was published by Square Halo Books in 2005. She lives and works in Chatham, Mass.

Chris Anderson is known internationally for her fine work in drawing, painting and printmaking. Her work explores landscapes, the concept of “home” from modern suburban architecture to ancient castles, as well as faith and art. An award-winning artist, Anderson lived and worked as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Arts in Berlin, Germany. Her work is featured in the Vatican Museum, Armand Hammer Museum at UCLA and in over 50 university, corporate and private collections. She has been the recipient of multiple residency fellowship awards in the United States and Germany, Austria, England and Scotland. Anderson served as Artist In Residence at Azusa Pacific University, July 2009. She lives and works in Manhattan, NY.

Kim M. Reiff has an extensive background in visual art, graphic design and corporate marketing communications. She serves as associate professor of art, assistant dean of the school of arts and sciences, and chair of the department of visual, performing, and media arts at Grace College. Her artistic pursuits include merging traditional and digital art forms that explore the visual and tactile nature of “being.” Reiff is one of the first five female visual artists to graduate with her MFA from Azusa Pacific University in 2009.  In 2006, Azusa Pacific University became the first to launch an MFA graduate program in the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Inspirations for directing and producing this exhibit include Jean Coverstone, the first woman to chair the art department at Grace College.

The Mount Memorial Hall Art Gallery hours is open Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.- 5 p.m., and on Saturday1-4 p.m.  To learn more about the Mount Memorial Art Gallery, call Kim Reiff at 574-372-5100, ext. 6022 or email

Tagged With: 2017 Archives, Art, Campus Life, Events, School of Arts & Sciences