WMU News

Ben Mahmoud exhibition runs through Sept. 26

Aug. 30, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The WMU Department of Art is presenting a painting exhibition by prominent Illinois artist Ben Mahmoud in Gallery II, Sangren Hall, Aug. 30 to Sept. 26. Gallery II hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Mahmoud will give a slide lecture, "Pretense and Falsification: Realism in the 20th Century," on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. in Room 2304, Sangren Hall. A reception for the artist follows the lecture in Gallery II. The public is invited to the slide lecture and reception. There is no fee.

Mahmoud is best known in this region through frequent solo shows at Zaks Gallery in Chicago over the past 25 years. He is a Distinguished Research Professor of Art at Northern Illinois University, where he maintains his studio practice.

He is making a three-day campus visit to lecture, critique student art, and conduct student workshops on self-promotion in art and designing websites.

Born in Charleston, West Virginia in 1935, Mahmoud attended the Columbus College of Art and Design, and received B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees from Ohio University. His paintings are in more than 30 public, permanent art collections including: the Art Institute of Chicago; the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts; Illinois State Museum; Krannert Center for the Arts; Brooklyn Museum; Austin Art Museum, Texas; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Mahmoud has received a fellowship in painting from the National Endowment for the Arts, and he has served on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Arts Council.

For the past 30 years, Mahmoud's painting has been characterized as realistic and figurative with the images frequently resulting from the manipulation of photographs. His approach has sometimes brought not only associations with mass media, but also alluded to attitudes that are associated with postmodern art.

His most recent work deals with issues of mimesis and pretense. He also feels that meaning often emerges from acts of pretense. Mahmoud writes, "It is my feeling that it is a human obligation to create meaning. We begin to train for this task early in life with our childhood games of pretend. In these games we experience the extension of intent into the world through our fantasies. It would seem unusual that we would spend so much time in this activity were it not so very important to our adult life."

Mahmoud is represented by Sonia Zaks Gallery, Chicago; Smelik and Stokking Galleries, Amsterdam and The Hague; and the Ballard and Fetherstone Gallery and Patricia Rovza Gallery in Seattle. This past summer his work was exhibited at Fermi Lab, the National Accelerator Laboratory.

The Department of Art is located in Sangren Hall. For additional information, contact the Department of Art Exhibitions Office at 616 387-2455.

Media contact: Jackie Ruttinger, 616 387-4678, jacquelyn.ruttinger@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400