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Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College Presents a Solo Exhibition by Chicago Artist Christa Donner

CONTACT: Deborah Renfrew (518) 629-7180,
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011

Christa Donner - The Makings of Mutualism, an exhibition that addresses issues of biology, media and identity by examining the concepts of self, body and social roles, will be on view from Jan. 27 to March 19, 2011 in the Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College. The show kicks off with an artist talk on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium, followed by a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. in the gallery. All events are open to the public free of charge.

Through drawings, small-press zines, installation and performance, Donner questions the development of identity and our responses and reactions to both internal and external forces. Taking their visual vocabulary largely from graphic novels, her figures open themselves up as a site of inquiry into the function of the body and psychological relationships. Walking the line between representation, science and whimsy, the overwhelmingly female characters breathe, interact, digest and reproduce. The women's stylish clothing is ineffective protection against the open portholes and fissures that reveal webs of intestine, blood vessels and viscera. Through these views, both their biology and identities are laid bare.

Christa Donner - The Makings of Mutualism explores the life-cycles, rituals and interdependent anatomies of two fictional cultures that coexist symbiotically. This new body of work references images from anatomical illustrations, the American west, ancient Greek and Mayan sculpture and Japanese wood block prints. The exhibition includes 50 palm-sized works on paper, a large wall drawing and several large drawings on paper to incorporate and highlight the artist's working process. Also included is a photo-performance project created on-site by the artist with students in Hudson Valley's Theatre and Fine Arts programs.

Born in 1975 in Morristown, NJ and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Donner began her career with a brief period as a magazine cover model. She later began to employ varied techniques, including the publication of several small-press zines (Sissy, Ladyfriend, etc.), to disseminate information on media-promoted body images to teenage girls. Donner went on to study at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio and spent a semester at the New York Studio Program in Manhattan. Her first solo exhibition was at the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art in 1999 as a recipient of the Wendy L. Moore Emerging Artist Award. She earned a master's of fine arts in 2005 from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Donner currently lives and works in Chicago.

The Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College is located on the ground floor of the AIA award-winning Administration Building. All exhibitions are installed and assisted by students in the Gallery Management program. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday from 1 to 7 p.m.; and Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m.

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Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 14,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 65,000 alumni.