School Yard Bets set for Eide/Dalrymple Gallery


Art goes back to school with exhibit



Students, staff and an alumnus came together to construct the new exhibit at Augustana’s Eide/Dalrymple Gallery, on display starting today until Nov. 12. Titled “School Yard Bets,” the exhibit features work from 2008 Augustana graduate Kat Burdine.

Since graduating, Burdine spent two years working with at-risk youth in Honduras, served as an art director/graphic designer, taught at several universities and earned her Masters of Fine Arts degree (MFA) in print art from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2015.

“It has become a tradition to have past Augustana students featured in the gallery after earning their MFA in art,”  Lindsay Twa, director of the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery, said. “Burdine is the perfect example of what an Augie liberal arts education will do, and we are glad to represent her.”

Art wasn’t always Burdine’s passion. She began school as a nursing major.

“I even tried to be an economics major for two days,” she said. “But I was encouraged to take art classes, and [that] sent me into an art major.”

From then on, Burdine explored printmaking, drawing and creating, which laid the foundation for much of her artwork, including “School Yard Bets.”

“It’s a contemporary installation,” Twa said. “She is combining her artwork with global activism and ethical reasoning. With contemporary art, the goal is not always beauty and it doesn’t always please everyone. It will be more conceptual and theoretical.”

Conceptual and theoretical is exactly what Burdine is striving to emphasize with her art. According to her artist statement, the exhibit includes “prints that don’t act like prints, sculptures that act like dogs and other new works that do not work.”

“[Art] affects everything in the world,” Burdine said. “It is an agent for conversation, and that sometimes leads to change or escape or all sorts of things.  When it’s done well it acts like a social statement and can get people to think in new ways.”

“School Yard Bets” focuses on social identities—especially female masculinity and queerness.

“My work deals with being human—some of the awkward things we do to present or project an image of ourselves,” Burdine said.

For example, some of her artwork includes “signs that don’t really say anything but they kind of do,” and “a piece that is rocking so it’s like a rocking chair but our bodies don’t know how to act with it.”

A surprise to be unveiled at the opening reception is a woodwork sculpture that Burdine crafted on campus throughout the last week.

Additionally, one of the two structural centerpieces is a suspended canoe titled “But Does It Float?” The canoe introduces a sense of playfulness to the collection, one that both Twa and Burdine think is necessary for the controversial topic of modern social identities.

“It is this playfulness that is found throughout the exhibition that allows Burdine to disarm our expectations and allow the viewer to contemplate socially assigned narratives,” Twa wrote in a press release on the exhibit.

“I’ve always wanted to use play in my work,” Burdine said. “It’s a new dialogue. I like the idea of playfulness being a place where you can disarm.”

However, illustrating this type of artistic conversation is no easy task.

“Humor is a hard thing to put in an inanimate object,” Burdine said.

Twa said the exhibit encompasses the importance of contemporary issues and reasoning that makes up what Augustana has to offer.

“It acts as an agent to bring people of their normal circumstances,” Burdine said.

The Homecoming Gallery reception will be held tonight from 5-7 p.m. with a special presentation from Burdine at 6:30 p.m.

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