Art Professor Explores Relationships Between People, Nature in Rhode Island Solo Exhibition

Gibberish: Fauna, Porcelain, Animal Pelts, Thread and Fabric, 24" x 18" x 10", 2015.
Courtesy of Jeannie Hulen

Gibberish: Fauna, Porcelain, Animal Pelts, Thread and Fabric, 24" x 18" x 10", 2015.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Gibberish: Sapient Fool’s Gold a solo art exhibition by Jeannie Hulen, associate professor of ceramics at the University of Arkansas, will run March 25-May 2 at the GRIN Gallery in Providence, Rhode Island.

The show is presented in conjunction with the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts 2015 annual conference and calls attention to less evident aspects of the relationship between people and the natural world. The exhibition considers intellectual and psychological aspects of the natural world and explores various facets of the symbiosis between the two.

“Humor, sarcasm and outright disdain for popular and contemporary culture have been expressed through use of materials,” said Hulen, chair of the Department of Art in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. “My work consistently draws on ceramic’s post-industrial and consumer meaning and references the material value and historical significance of terracotta and porcelain.”

After becoming a parent, Hulen’s focus shifted from art expressed through words to things that can only be understood visually or experienced physically. This led her to create “The Gibberish Series,” a transitional set of installations that exemplify the idea of material voice.

“Though a toddler’s speech may be described as ‘gibberish’ while initially learning to speak, the expression is often both authentic and effective, if unconventional. At times, the hazy process of uncovering and deciphering information can be more enlightening of the human condition than clearly articulated data.”

Through investigating real and imagined qualities of materials, particularly clay, and allowing material to speak for itself, Hulen has begun investigating a body of work that, though grounded in a very materialized reality, has become a non-linear experiment in the fantastic.

Hulen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute and a Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. She has held solo exhibitions in the United States and Taiwan and has participated in many national group exhibitions.

GRIN is a contemporary art gallery located at The Plant in the historic Olneyville District in Providence, Rhode Island. GRIN promotes an intellectually demanding yet aesthetically pleasing environment that focuses on the development and exhibition of work by emerging and underexposed artists, stimulates fresh dialogue and advances the development of the local creative community. Gallery hours are Saturdays noon-5 p.m. and by appointment or chance. Call 401-272-0796 or email to learn more about Gibberish or to schedule a gallery visit.

About the Department of Art: The Department of Art offers five degree options, Bachelor of Fine Arts in art education or studio art, Bachelor of Arts in studio art or art history and Masters of Fine Arts in studio art. Studio areas include ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and visual design. The department includes 34 faculty and staff members and more than 400 students.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with 19 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines; contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research and creative activity; and provides service to academic and professional disciplines and to society in general, all aimed at fulfilling its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and offers more than 200 academic programs. The university maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and mentoring opportunities. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas 63 among the 623 American public research universities, and the university’s goal is be top 50 by the celebration of its 150th anniversary in 2021.


Jeannie Hulen, chair, Department of Art
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law


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