FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anne Lewis
WORK BY LYDIA BODNAR-BALAHUTRAK REFLECTS
ARTIST’S WORLD VIEW
HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 11, 2014)— An exhibition of work entitled If We Had Known by Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak will be on view at the Beeville Art Museum from May 10 through July 17, 2014. Approximately thirty of her mixed media pieces will be included in the show, many of which have not been exhibited before.
Bodnar-Balahutrak, an artist based in Houston, Texas, explores identity and cultural ties, initiating a discourse about one’s place in the world by piecing together fragments of text, narrative, and figuration. The title of her exhibition, If We Had Known, was inspired by a poem written by Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko who writes about the “might and weight of words.” The artist investigates the nature of the written word--how information is revealed and concealed--in her most recent collaged paintings and drawings. She centers her work around current events and politically-charged areas of the world, particularly Ukraine, and builds multi-layered foundations of newspaper articles and magazine photos upon which she draws and paints.
In the spring of 1991, Bodnar-Balahutrak was awarded a grant from IREX (an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting positive changes globally) to travel to her ancestral homeland Ukraine for the first time. “This trip opened my eyes and soul to a land beautiful but ravaged by the Soviet system, a long-suffering, yet hopeful people, and a culture undergoing reclamation and rebirth,” stated the artist. Subsequently, she made additional trips to Ukraine and Eastern Europe that included her participation in a two-month International Artist’s Symposium and the opportunity to tour the Chornobyl Zone in 1996, which left a lasting impression on her. “A deep interest in the human condition—always at the heart of my art—took new form and urgency in my creative work,” she says.
Currently on the faculty of the Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Lydia Bodnar Balahutrak was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio by parents who emigrated from Ukraine after World War II. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting from George Washington University in Washington, D. C., in conjunction with study at the Corcoran School of Art. An accomplished draftsman, Bodnar-Balahutrak made several trips to Italy over the years to study the work of the Italian masters.
Bodnar-Balahutrak’s work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries throughout the years. Since 2006, she has exhibited at the University of Houston/Clear Lake Art Gallery, Houston, Texas; Adair Margo Gallery, El Paso, Texas; Nau-Haus Art Space, Houston; Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi; the Ukrainian Museum, New York, New York; UIMA, Chicago, Illinois; Hunter Gather Project, Houston; and the Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In 2012, the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts in Spring, Texas, presented a solo show of her work, a selection from the past twenty years.
Additionally, Bodnar-Balahutrak’s work is included in selected permanent collections including Oxford University, England; Museo D’Arte Dell’Universita Cattholica, Rome, Italy; Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, Pennsylvania; University of Houston; Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas; Amarillo Museum, Amarillo, Texas; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas; and the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi.
The Beeville Art Museum, created and operated by the Joe Barnhart Foundation, is first and foremost a teaching museum, providing cultural and educational opportunities for the citizens of Bee County and surrounding areas. Cited by Texas Monthly magazine as one of the “great small towns for art,” Beeville, with a population of approximately 13,000, is home to one of the most ambitious art and educational programs in Texas. In addition to exhibiting works by some of Texas’s most renowned artists, as well as selections from private collections and major museums across the state, the Beeville Art Museum provides docent-led tours and art classes for children and adults and workshops for Beeville educators at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
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The Beeville Art Museum, located at 401 E. Fannin, is open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday. To contact the museum, please call 361-358-8615 or visit our website at www.bamtexas.org.