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Between Earth & Sky

Thursday, October 12th | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Robert E. Wilson Gallery; Merillat Centre for the Arts

Between Earth and Sky: Exploring loss and redemption

Meander through the Robert E. Wilson Gallery and ponder the work of Merrill Krabill. Krabill is an artist and educator in Goshen, Indiana. 

For Krabill, one important aesthetic influence has been Paul Soldner, who he studied under in graduate school (Claremont Graduate School—now University). Soldner's approach, pace, and general philosophy about art were formative. The impact Japan's aesthetic had on Soldner was also passed on to Krabill. In the summer of 2005 Krabill was an Artist-in-Residence at Togei no mori (Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park). The opportunity to work, travel, and visit with artists in Japan has had a lasting impact on his work. The culture is very different from his own, but, in spite of differences, many ideas resonate with Krabill. Another important recent cultural influence has been ideas associated with rasquachismo from the writing of scholar Tomás Ybarra-Frausto. The perspectives from a Latino culture feel both unfamiliar and quite familiar at the same time. Krabill’s ceramic education began under Marvin Bartel as a student at Goshen College in the late 70s. Bartel's program produced an exceptional number of artists working with clay.

Artist Statement:

I think we often see ourselves, when we take time to reflect, as on a journey between birth and death. But we could think of ourselves as being on a journey between death and what is beyond. Job says humans are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. But at our best, we move beyond that, in faith that God is still present.

The largest piece in the gallery is Rachel Weeping for her Children. The reference in the title is to Herod’s killing of the boys under 2 years old at the time of Jesus’ birth. The event that inspired the sculpture was the killing of the school children at Sandy Hook Elementary. That captured the attention of the world, but so many people suffer unseen. Where is hope in a world like this?

Each of these pieces has a clay bird—very much of the earth, very mortal, probably dead or dying, still beautiful in its way. The images behind the sculptural piece have a bird or birds in flight somewhere. The challenge for me, visually and poetically, is to see them as part of the same moment. My understanding of experience is built on seeing how ideas fit together in the same moment-- two dimensional and three dimensional, solid and ephemeral, earth and sky, mortal and transcendental, life and death, holy and everyday, loss and redemption. - Merrill Krabill, artist 

The exhibit will be open from September 7 through October 12, 2017, with an artist reception on Friday, September 22, from 6-7:30 p.m. 

The Wilson Gallery presents a series of changing exhibits during the year. Exhibitions by student, faculty and professional artists feature a wide range of media and themes. The Wilson Gallery is open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., before and after all Merillat Centre performances and by appointment.

Contact Information
Rebecca Coffman
(260) 359-4272