Tennessee painter Mary Laube to display work at USI’s New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art


The University of Southern Indiana’s New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art (NHGCA) is proud to present Parallel to the Earth, featuring paintings by Tennessee artist Mary Laube.

Parallel to the Earth runs from Saturday, August 12 to Saturday, September 16, opening with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, August 12 in conjunction with New Harmony Second Saturdays. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Laube and other Korean Americans often experienced otherness as they gained knowledge of their Asian heritage through bits and pieces while being socialized in predominantly white communities. Her work transforms the concept of identity in the diaspora. She sees her paintings as objects—containers that store memory and desire, exercising the right to deny interpretive aid. She explores the dynamics of individual identity juxtaposed with broader collective formations of culture. Laube’s art practice looks at museum artifacts, architecture, and land related to historic preservation, and she reimagines these objects as paintings, which, in turn, become artifacts of displacement, reunion, decolonization, memorial and myth.

In Parallel to the Earth, we see idealized or romanticized versions of mundane objects. These objects are flattened but dimensional. The use of light and shadows allude to things happening in the periphery. Often, Laube’s paintings become a way to converse with ancestors by use of metaphors from Korean Shamanism. Her paintings are both a vestige of the past as well as a repertoire of the present, a form of storytelling capable of change.

Laube, who was born in Seoul, Korea, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Illinois State University and a master’s in fine arts from the University of Iowa.

Past exhibitions include the Knoxville Museum of Art, Ortega y Gasset Projects in New York; VCU Qatar, Doha; Monaco, Missouri; The Spring Break Art Show, New York; and Coop Gallery, Tennessee. Artist residencies include Yaddo, Wassaic Project; the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Vermont Studio Center; and Stiwdeo Maelor in Corris, Wales. Past publications include Art Maze Mag, Maake Magazine and New American Paintings. In 2019, Laube received the Contemporary Visual Art Bronze Award from AHL Foundation. She is a co-founder of the Warp Whistle Project, a collaborative duo with composer Paul Schuette. Together, they make work merging kinetic stage sets with musical performances.

The NHGCA at the University of Southern Indiana promotes discourse about, and access to, contemporary art in the southern Indiana region. The NHGCA is a proud outreach partner of the University of Southern Indiana.

This exhibition is made possible in part by Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.

FOOTNOTE: Founded in 1965, the University of Southern Indiana enrolls nearly 9,200 dual credit, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in more than 130 areas of study. A public higher education institution, located on a beautiful 1,400-acre campus in Evansville, Indiana, USI offers programs through the College of Liberal Arts, Romain College of Business, College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education. The University offers study-abroad opportunities in more than 60 countries and hosts international students from around the globe. USI is a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University and offers continuing education and special programs to more than 15,000 participants annually through Outreach and Engagement. USI is online at USI.edu.