New Acquistions

We are excited to share some recent acquisitions on display at DOMA with our readers! New works are on display in the Asian Art Gallery on the main level and in the North Galleries upstairs thanks to patron, David T. Owsley, who lent Kannon, Rape of Europa, and Waterfall, Greenwich. The museum often receives gifts and loans from donors that allow the collection to grow and new art to go on display.

Kannon, a Japanese sculpture from the Muromachi period (1338–1573 CE) can be viewed in the Japanese wall case in the Owsley Asian Art Gallery. Kannon is a bodhisattva who personifies compassion and mercy. While the bodhisattva of compassion is known as Kannon in Japan, the deity goes by the name Guanyin in China. While in the gallery, don’t miss the sculpture of Guanyin nearby.

Unidentified Japanese Artist, Kannon, L2013.010.000

Unidentified Japanese Artist, Kannon, L2013.010.000


Upstairs, Jacques Lipchitz’s bronze statue, Rape of Europa II, was conceived between 1936–1941, and cast prior to 1955. Lipchitz related the myth of the Rape of Europa to Europe and Hitler. For Lipchitz, Europa symbolizes Europe and the bull symbolizes Hitler, who was killed by Europa with a dagger in the story.

Jacques Lipchitz, Rape of Europa II, L2013.014.000

Jacques Lipchitz, Rape of Europa II, L2013.014.000

Not far from Rape of Europa II in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery, is John Henry Twachtman’s Waterfall, Greenwich. In the late 1800s Twatchman moved from his birthplace, Cincinnati, to a large property in Greenwich, Connecticut. At his property he painted “Horseneck Brook” depicted in Waterfall, Greenwich as strong interwoven brushstrokes of cascading falls in the daylight.

John Henry Twachtman, Waterfall, Greenwich, L2013.012.000

John Henry Twachtman, Waterfall, Greenwich, L2013.012.000

We look forward to seeing you in the galleries enjoying the new works on display!

Chemical Analysis of Christ, 1225

Christ, 1225 Spanish Catalan, North Spain wood, metal, paint

Christ, 1225
Catalan, North Spain
wood, metal, paint

Department of Chemistry Chair Dr. Patricia Lang and Ball State student Heidi Noneman have been working on taking paint samples from the Christ sculpture in Museum of Art’s west gallery of Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Baroque art. These samples will be used to identify which pigments on the sculpture are original as well as which pigments were added after it was originally made. Using Infrared spectroscopy, Dr. Lang and Noneman are able to determine what kinds of pigments were used based on the chemical compositions of the samples.

Infrared Spectroscopy is a scientific process that uses infrared light to activate the molecules in the paint samples. The wavelength emitted by these pigments is measured and the data provided is then used to determine the chemical structure of the pigments and other materials that have been used to sculpt the figure (base layers, fabrics, etc.). Each pigment has its own chemical signature that helps to date the object and verify where the pigments were made.

According to Noneman, the first step in this process included extensive research about the history of the Christ sculpture (1225 in Catalan, Spain), the iconography of the time period, and the common pigments used. The next step was to identify the range of pigments they were looking for as well as the best locations on the surface to scrape off small samples for testing. Collecting a sample with as many layers as possible will give a good approximation of the number of times the figure has been painted over.

The information gained from this project will advise the Owsley Museum of Art about the work of arts history and the steps needed to restore the sculpture back to its original state. Dr. Lang has also worked on two other restoration projects for the museum including analysis of the Male Saint and Saint Wolfgang. The Male Saint and the Christ figure are currently on view in the West Gallery on the upper level.

Male Saint, 1450/1499 Circle of Hans Multscher Southern Germany, Swabia, Ulm polychrome and gold on wood

Male Saint, 1450/1499
Circle of Hans Multscher
Southern Germany, Swabia, Ulm
polychrome and gold on wood

Conserving the Invocation, Variation #3


If you had been to the Ball Brothers Foundation gallery recently, you may have noticed that a work of art was missing from its pedestal. That is because Invocation, Variation #3, sculpted by Theodore Roszak in 1952 was temporarily removed from the gallery for conservation. This work of art has been displayed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1958 and was once the property of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago before it was purchased by David Owsley.  Aaron Nicholson, a sculptor from Indianapolis, has been working to clean and conserve Invocation after staff discovered corrosion of the metal and flux on the surface of the sculpture earlier this month.

Invocation, Variation #3, 1959 Theodore Roszak American, born Poland (1907-1981) nickel, silver, and steel

Invocation, Variation #3, 1959
Theodore Roszak
American, born Poland (1907-1981)
nickel, silver, and steel

In welding, flux is normally applied to a joint before the metal is soldered to keep oxygen off the surface of the metal and at the time Invocation was made the substance would have been clear and had the appearance of glass.Over time a combination of water and air turned the flux back in to powder, making the surface appear white and obscuring the surface of the metals and the artist’s intended effect.

According to Nicholson, the cleaning was essential because it mitigated further deterioration of the metal by removing the flux. Professors and students from the Department of Chemistry scraped off samples for testing which confirmed that the white substance was flux before any cleaning took place. Since then, Nicholson has been gently removing the excessive corrosion and re-waxing the sculpture to slow down further deterioration using Renaissance wax. He does this by heating the surface of the metal to open the pores and then applying wax to the surface. The process seals the pores so that oxygen will not alter the surface further. Although he is working to clean the sculpture and prevent deterioration, Aaron is not polishing or refinishing the work. “With some art you don’t want to refinish the surface because it can devalue the art. Polishing would take away the age and you want to leave evidence about what time the work is from.” Now that the conservation work has been completed, the next step is to return the sculpture to its rightful place in the Ball Brothers Foundation gallery.

Docent Spotlight: Jordan Thomas

The docent learning program is made up of students as well as campus and community members who have volunteered their time to lead tours and discussions in the museum. Senior Jordan Thomas is one such docent. Thomas has been volunteering at the museum for 3 years and is an art history major here at Ball State. I sat down with Thomas to learn about the kinds of experiences she had to share about her time here at the museum.

KN: How long have you been a docent?

JT:           Three years.

KN: What is your favorite tour?

JT:           I enjoy giving tours for kids about Greek and Roman Art.

KN: What is your favorite work of art in the collection?

JT:           I really enjoy the sculpture Invocation by Theodore Roszak. My favorite special exhibitions were Shout Freedom and The Wrocław School of Printmaking.

Shout Freedom, c.1945 Rosalie Gwathmey American, 1908–2001 gelatin silver print Columbus Museum of Art

Shout Freedom, c.1945
Rosalie Gwathmey
American, 1908–2001
gelatin silver print
Columbus Museum of Art

The Dream Book Cycle, 2012 Manfred Bator  digital print Gift of the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy  of Art and Design, Wrocław, Poland

The Dream Book Cycle, 2012
Manfred Bator
digital print
Gift of the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy
of Art and Design, Wrocław, Poland











KN: Why do you volunteer?

JT:           I first saw an email about the docent program as a freshman. I had taken the first art history survey classes as an Art Education major, and went to the call out meeting. I decided to get involved and went through the two semesters of training. It was actually my experience as a docent that prompted me to switch my major to Art History. It fostered my appreciation for art and gave me a much wider understanding of it.

KN: What is one thing you enjoy about volunteering as a docent?

JT:           People would probably think it would be the actual act of giving tours, but my favorite part of being a docent was always the weekly meetings. I came back for that feeling of being inspired and enlightened, always learning about new art, engaging in discussion with other people who cared about these things, and then turning around and getting to share this new found love with the public. It has been a very rewarding experience.

If you are interested in joining the Docent Learning Program, check out this link to find out how you can get involved at the David Owsley Museum of Art. Call-out meetings are typically during the first week of the fall and spring semesters.

Invocation, Variation #3, 1959 Theodore Roszak American, born Poland (19071981) nickel, Silver, and Steel

Invocation, Variation #3, 1959
Theodore Roszak
American, born Poland (19071981)
nickel, Silver, and Steel

New Exhibition: Aperture Remix

On Wednesday, February 12th, the Art Alliance gathered at the Alumni Center for lunch and a presentation about the new exhibition, Aperture Remix: A Sixtieth Anniversary Celebration, presented by Jacinda Russell, associate professor of photography at Ball State University.  Aperture Remix celebrates Aperture Magazine’s influence in fine arts photography since the Foundation was created in the 1952. Exhibition curator, Lesley Martin, chose ten contemporary photographers to select a specific Aperture publication or artist that had been particularly influential in their own work.

Russell highlighted several contemporary photographers and the work of the photographers they chose to pay homage to from the show. Throughout her talk, she included other work by the photographers, enhancing our understandings of the photography on display in Aperture Remix.


Photographs by Stephen Shore and Doug Rickard on display as part of the Aperture Exhibition at DOMA.

The first pair of photographers’ work discussed was the work of Stephen Shore and Doug Rickard. Self-taught photographer and Manhattan native, Stephen Shore set out on his first road trip of many in 1973. It was his first glimpse of America, and proved to be the inspiration for his future work. His photographs reflect the changing American culture and explore mass production and consumer culture. He photographs with a frontal approach, and many of his photographs are reminiscent of postcards. Contemporary photographer, Doug Rickard was drawn to the subject matter and approach of Shore. His previous work involved setting up his camera in front of a computer screen, and photographing the images from Google Maps displayed on the screen. The work tackles issues of race, politics, and class. In response to Shore’s series, Uncommon Places, Rickard photographed old postcards, titling the series Uncommon Pictures. Both series are connected by a loss of idealism.

                                                      Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore, West Ninth Avenue, Amarillo, Texas, October 2, 1974

Doug Rickard

Doug Rickard, #82.948842, Detroit, MI, (2009), 2010

Russell went on to talk about another pairing of work by Penelope Umbrico and several master photographers including Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson and W. Eugene Smith. Penelope Umbrico was inspired by photographs of the mountains that appeared in the Aperture Master of Photography books.  For her contemporary piece Moving Mountains, she uses smartphone camera apps to make new photographs of the mountains that appeared in those books. As a photographer, Umbrico works with multiple images of the same subject photographed in multiple ways such as changing the orientation of the subject and adding colored filters (seen in the exhibition on an iPad). She connects these two series by taking the same subjects, a mountain landscape that was photographed by master photographers, and photographing them in a different way.

Penelope  Penelope2

Penelope Umbrico, Moving Mountains (1850-2012), 2012        

The exhibition will be on view through March 30th in the Special Exhibitions Gallery of DOMA.

Director of Education, Tania Said will lead a drop-in tour on Tuesday, February 18, at 12 noon. The interactive tour is part of the Art High at Noon program which compares works of art to promote discussion about art.