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Painter Gretchen Beck with mixed media artist Lark Allen

RECEPTION: September 7, 4 - 6 p.m.

Gretchen Beck: Habu Nya Dumi Dumi

Mixed-Media on Paper

Colorful mixed media collaged with paint work on paper-orientation portrait                            Colorful mixed media collage and paint work on paper
L-R: Tondo Siiri II, Gangani II

This mixed-media art series on paper celebrates the colors and textures in rural Nigerien marketplaces. Djarma and Fulani villagers purchase fruits, nuts, beans, leaves, and candies for pennies in this environment. Brightly colored textiles also are sold in the markets.

Strokes of relaxed gauche paint dance across collage materials and cream - colored paper to reflect the markets’ joyful rhythms. Vintage book and pattern paper, illustrations, patterned prints, library cards and other collage materials embody the markets’ vibrant cadence. Overall, the imagery honors the leisure time rural Nigeriens cherish.

Gretchen Beck served as Chair of the Art Department, Professor of Art, Curator and on the faculty at Concordia University, Irvine, CA, for eleven years. Currently, she is a professional artist.

She exhibits and discusses her work in juried group and solo exhibitions in galleries, on national and international levels. She also is a represented artist at the NoonPowell Fine Art Gallery in London, England. For further information about her work in the visual arts, please contact her at and you can view her art at

Lark Allen: Africa to Eternity: Masks of the African Diaspora

Lark Allen III is a mixed-media artist based in Saginaw, Michigan. With a focus on the populations of the African diaspora, Allen repurposes, and often re-fabricates discarded items to create his artwork.

A motivation for creating African inspired artifacts is fueled from an African American upbringing in rural and urban America. Using found materials from nature, as well as discarded objects from the immediate environment; mixed media has become an outlet for him to actively investigate his own existence within the African Diaspora.

The uncertainty of Allen’s individual path for spiritual development across the environments that is, in painting, sculpture, and print media directly play a part in the combining and layering of materials prevalent in his work and have been influential in the creation and repurposing of materials ranging from the pliable to the concrete.

Ambiguous in nature, the objects that Allen creates are intended to reveal a sense of unresolve within modern contexts. The utilization of the mask and other African inspired artifacts serves as a vessel for comprehending environmental changes that affect personal existence. Meaning and purpose of environmental installations and artifacts such as masks that are used in ceremonial performance rituals that still take place in many West African societies are significant in how he chooses to display work. Though not necessarily intended for performance, many of these artifacts possess the ability to be worn. In doing this, there is a desire to allow oneself to connect with "the life force" of objects, materials, and processes that constantly affect a spiritual journey in America.

Images from the Exhibition

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