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Megan Abajian
School of Fine Arts

Last modified: Monday, August 9, 2010

SoFA gallery to feature 'Personal Interiors,' a traveling exhibit by husband-and-wife artists

WHAT: "Personal Interiors: Recent Work by Alan Feltus and Lani Irwin" and "Feltus and Feltus: Photographic and Video Works"
WHEN: Opens Friday, Sept. 3, and runs through Friday, Oct. 8
WHERE: School of Fine Arts Gallery, 1201 E. 7th St., Indiana University Bloomington
TICKETS: Free admittance (no ticket required)

Aug. 9, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The traveling exhibition "Personal Interiors: Recent work by Alan Feltus and Lani Irwin," will open at Indiana University's School of Fine Arts (SoFA) Gallery Sept. 3.

The paintings, drawings and collages created by married couple Feltus and Irwin explore the relationships of figures in still, intimate settings, as well as the relationship between the figures and the viewer. The exhibition will also include "Feltus and Feltus: Photographic and Video Works" by the couple's sons, Tobias and Joseph Feltus.

A Sharing of Coffee and Letters

"A Sharing of Coffee and Letters," by Alan Feltus

"Personal Interiors" will remain on display through Friday, Oct. 8. The traveling exhibition comes to Bloomington after installations in Oklahoma, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Alabama.

An opening reception will take place Friday, Sept. 3, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the SoFA Gallery. All events are free and open to the public.

The American-born couple has lived in Italy for the past 15 years. Feltus describes his paintings -- each of which takes him several weeks or months -- as "about many things and at the same time about nothing more than painting itself."

"They don't have narrative content; they don't tell stories . . . what is communicated is open to interpretation and as such there are endless meanings," Feltus wrote. Feltus doesn't use models, instead drawing upon influences from ancient and modern "masters of composition" whose work he admires.

Irwin wrote that her work has little direct relationship to what is happening in her daily life. "The paintings take many weeks to complete so that even if there is an event, a feeling, a mood that initiates the image, after a month or more, it will settle into itself," Irwin wrote. "I'm fascinated by the symbolic nature of medieval painting, the complexity of flat patterns within the compositional rectangle, the ambiguity of relationships, both real and spatial, those forms and patterns interlocking . . . I strive for that enchanted light that glows from some inner source."

"For a quarter-century, Lani Irwin has been painting mysterious interiors populated by mannequins, puppets, toys and human figures," wrote Gail Leggio in American Arts Quarterly. "While her dolls are reminiscent of the lay figures Giorgio de Chirico deploys, her hushed tableaux may suggest the domestic enigmas of Balthus."

Wrote painter Teana Newman in an American Arts Quarterly essay: "The constraints in the work of Alan Feltus are so inexorable, so unyielding, that any encounter with his paintings returns us to the things that characterize and comprise the strange other worldiness and timeless solemnity of their presence: states of stillness, silence, suspension, intense solitariness, interiority, absorption."

About the artists

Alan Feltus received his MFA from Yale and was the recipient of several awards, including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in Painting (2005). Both he and Irwin have exhibited together and individually throughout the U.S. and abroad. Their work is in the public collections of the Peace Museum in Chicago, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Museum of American Art in Washington and the Bayly Museum in Charlottesville, Va. Irwin received her MFA from American University in Washington D.C., and received the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in Painting (1995). Feltus and Irwin were the 2009-2010 resident visiting artists at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. They live and work in the countryside of Assisi, Italy. For more information about the artists, and