LAWRENCE — Creating contemplative work that combines repetitive process and collected materials, Rena Detrixhe produces meticulous, large-scale objects and installations. She’s woven carpets from dust, transformed seeds into lace and suspended a fleeting moment of rain droplets into a solid cast form to explore the relationship between humans and nature.
In 2013, Detrixhe graduated from KU with a bachelor of fine arts in visual art. Since then she has shown work in museums and galleries across the U.S. and received numerous awards for her innovative and meaningful exhibits. Detrixhe will be a visiting artist Oct. 17-25 at The Commons, installing “Red Dirt Rug.”
The work will be created by loose red Oklahoma soil and imprinted with modified shoe soles. Embodying the complicated history of her home state’s relationship to nature, she reflects on the beauty, pride and sorrow found in the land.
“Rena is doing amazing, evocative work, and we are so excited to welcome her back to campus for her installation,” said Matthew Burke, chair and associate professor of visual art. “It’s always motivating for current students to see a recent alumna successfully putting creative ideas into practice.”
During her stay, the public is welcome to view Detrixhe’s installation progress from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. She will give an artist talk at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in The Commons.
Detrixhe is drawn to materials which possess an inherent story or familiar source and often utilizing natural elements, a continuing objective in her practice is to investigate the relationship between humans and the more-than-human world. Recent work explores systems of value in relation to land and water and slowness as a means of cultivating empathy and understanding.
Detrixhe’s awards include a scholarship to attend the prestigious art school at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, and a two-year studio residency with Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. Recent exhibitions include “Ephemera” at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park and a solo exhibition at the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2017 she received both the public vote and juried vote awards in the time-based category for her work “Red Dirt Rug” at ArtPrize Nine in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Detrixhe has spent the past two years as a Tulsa Artist Fellow in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Detrixhe’s installation is sponsored by The Commons, the Department of Visual Art, the School of the Arts and the Spencer Museum of Art.
The Commons exists to bring scholars together across the arts, humanities and sciences through public events and collaborative projects. The Commons is a partnership of the Spencer Museum of Art, the Hall Center for the Humanities, and the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum.