Material Histories: Cultures of Resistance Now Open

Posted on:

< < Back to

2017 has proven to be a time of great political, cultural, and economic anxiety.

It was in reaction to this that curator and associate professor of ceramics at Ohio University’s School of Art + Design Alex Hibbett crafted the Material Histories: Cultures of Resistance exhibition, which opens Friday, September 29 at Majestic Galleries in Nelsonville. The exhibition brings together a myriad of contemporary ceramicists and their works that focus on human rights, man’s relationship with natural resources, and the place of personal histories within the larger context of collective histories. The exhibition will feature a one day symposium on the Ohio University campus on October 13, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Mitchell Auditorium. The symposium will focus on the examination of the artist’s role and agency in tumultuous times in history.

The exhibition brings with it the Chicago-based Tea Project, the brainchild of artists Aaron Hughes and Amber Ginsburg. The project was born of the unusual love story of a Guantanamo Bay guard and his fascination with the floral etchings that detainees would make on their daily Styrofoam tea cups. Performances aim to have participants consider their role in the larger context of the United States’ involvement with war and torture. On October 12 at 5 p.m., a performance will be staged in Seigfred Hall on the Ohio University campus, room 540. October 14 at 11 a.m., another performance will take place at the Majestic Galleries in Nelsonville.

WOUB’s Emily Votaw spoke with Hughes, Hibbett, artist Shauna Merriman, and Ohio University associate professor of history, specializing in the modern Middle East and North Africa, Ziad Abu-Rish in this episode of Conversations From Studio B about the Material Histories exhibition, the Tea Project, and the larger understanding of what an artists’ duty may be in the midst of enormous uncertainty.

Material Histories Schedule 

Material Histories: Cultures of Resistance
September 29–October 22, 2017

Majestic Galleries, Nelsonville, OH

Opening Reception: September 29, 5–9 p.m.

The exhibition Material Histories: Cultures of Resistance, curated by Alex Hibbitt, brings together contemporary artworks that range from the monumental to the performative. Highlighting concerns such as human rights, our relationship to natural resources and personal histories, this exhibition will feature a one-day symposium focusing on the role and agency of the artist in a time of international political, economic, and cultural uncertainty.

Exhibiting artists:
Amber Ginsburg, Aaron Hughes, Shauna Merriman, Mary Jo Bole, 
Shay Church, and Linda Swanson.

Material Histories Symposium
Friday October 13 (10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.)

Mitchell Auditorium, Ohio University School of Art + Design, Athens

Free and open to the public, no registration required]

Symposium participants include Danielle Julian-Norton (moderator), Amber Ginsburg, Aaron Hughes, Loren Lybarger, Ziad Abu-Rish, as well as select artists from the exhibition.

Artists’ presentations: 10 a.m.–12 p.m.     
Panel discussion: 1:30–3 p.m.
Themed roundtable sessions 3:30–4:30 p.m.
Reception at the Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens 5–8 p.m.
Tea Project performances
Space is limited & registration is required (email:

Thursday, October 12, 5 p.m.
 Ohio University School of Art + Design, Seigfred Hall, Room 540

Saturday, October 14, 11 a.m.
The Majestic Galleries, Nelsonville, Ohio
Clay Belt Bus Tour with MJ Bole
Friday, October 20, 7:30 a.m. – approx. 6:30 p.m.

A unique tour of the history and evolution of Ohio’s clay belt region starting in Athens, OH. 

Space is limited & registration is required