Skip to main content




January 31, 2014
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

SRU explores self-portrait art

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Self-portrait art will be displayed and discussed as a cultural force when Slippery Rock University offers the multi-event "International Juried Exhibit of Women's Self Portraiture" Feb. 17-March 14.

The program focuses on self-portrait art by women but will include a tandem display of SRU student self-portraits from Feb. 17-28.

The series includes a film, lectures and drawing workshop, providing a framework for understanding women's art but within a context from which everyone can learn, said Heather Hertel, SRU assistant professor of art.

"The exhibit is for our students and the greater community," she said. "Self-reflection, to observe, perceive and translate thought processes and emotions through artwork is a great learning tool that many can learn from. There is sensitivity through self-portraiture, revealing one's inner self that the viewer may identify with. There is a relationship between the viewer and the portrait."

Hertel said the educational goals apply to professors.

"As professors, we research and focus on learning more deeply, what we are passionate about, in the hopes of passing on what we learn and gain with the greater community," she said. This is one area of interest I wanted to learn more about, so in a sense, I am sharing my research with others in the hopes that they will be exposed and take with them what they can use in their life and new perspectives."

The professional artists' exhibit will include more than 20 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs displayed in SRU's Martha Gault Art Gallery. An opening reception is scheduled for 5-7 p.m., Feb. 18.

Leona Shanks, a Philadelphia artist and teacher, serves as juror. She is the co-founder of Studio Incamminati and has displayed her work in New York City and elsewhere.

At least 30 students' self-portraits in any genre will be exhibited in the drawing room and hallways of Art Building 1.

The Martha Gault exhibit includes art submissions from a span of ages, from women in their 20s to senior citizens.

"It is very interesting because women of all ages are looking at themselves conceptuality and learning about themselves at different stages of life," Hertel said. "And then we can learn from their paintings."

The film "Raising Renee" will be shown at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 19, in SRU's Advanced Technology and Science Hall Auditorium.

"Raising Renee," tells the story of artist Beverly McIver, an award-winning painter. Her life dramatically changes when her mother dies, leaving McIver with the responsibility of caring for her mentally disabled sister Renee.

A "Self Portrait Research Talk" will be offered at 12:30 p.m., Feb. 27, in Room 101 of Art Building 1. The presenters are Meghan Clemms, a Grove City-based photographer, and Rabecca Signoriello, a New Castle-based painter.

Hertel, who teaches painting, said she would talk about her own self-portrait research throughout the series.

"I want to see what other women in the art world are doing, while sharing my own painting research," she said.

All events are free.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.