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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

An artist returns to his roots: Clemson’s Center for Visual Arts hosts “Stories on My Back”

“Stories on My Back,” Richard Alexander Lou, installation view

“Stories on My Back,” an installation by Clemson Master of Fine Arts (MFA) alumnus Richard Alexander Lou, ’86 will open the 2016-17 season in the Center for Visual Arts – Lee Gallery on Aug. 22 and run until Oct. 13.  On Friday, Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m., the artist will give an artist talk about his work with a reception to follow in the gallery.

Lou was born and grew up in San Diego, CA with a biracial family, which was spiritually and intellectually guided by an anti-colonialist Chinese father and a culturally affirming Mexicana mother. After earning his bachelor’s degree in San Diego, CA, Lou continued his education at Clemson University, citing a handwritten note from the Chair of the Department of Art, a tradition that is still practiced today, as the decisive factor that led him to choose Clemson out of almost one hundred potential graduate schools. Lou has exhibited internationally and has over 30 years’ experience teaching in higher education, 20 years as an arts administrator most recently serving as Chair of the Department of Art at University of Memphis in Memphis, TN.

He has been invited back to campus to showcase his traveling multimedia installation that combines photography, found objects and sound walls of tamale husks. The artist writes, “As a contemporary image-maker I am interested in collecting dissonant ideas and narratives, allowing them to bump into each other, to coax new meanings and possibilities that dismantle the hierarchy of images. The work serves as an ideological, social, political and cultural matrix from which I understand my place in this world and to make a simple marking of the cultural shifts of my community.”

“Stories on My Back” art installation was featured in the recently released book, The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture by Guisela Latorre, PhD, as a reference to the increasing proliferation of Lantina/o culture in modern American popular culture.

This innovative art collaboration with Richard A. Lou, ’86 is part of the Center for Visual Art’s commitment to support the 2020 ClemsonForward strategic plan to provide educational activities to attract and retain outstanding students by “providing an exceptional educational experience grounded in engagement.” In addition, Richard collaborated with four other artists, three of whom are Clemson University alumni: Chere Labbe Doiron, Jo Carol Mitchell-Rogers ’87, Robert Spencer ’86 and Chris Wallace ’86.

The Center for Visual Arts-Lee Gallery at Clemson University will be open for this exhibit 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays. It is located in 1-101 Lee Hall, 323 Fernow St. The exhibition, artist talks and reception are free to the public because of the generous support given to the Center for Visual Arts. For more information about exhibitions in the Lee Gallery, as well as other Center for Visual Arts galleries and venues, visit www.clemson.edu/cva.

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