Albany, NY (January 12, 2021) --- Opalka Gallery is pleased to present Terry James Conrad:
Object Permanence , a survey of the work of Terry James Conrad, on view January 26 through
March 13, 2021.
At the heart of Conrad’s practice is the transformation of found or discarded objects into prints
and sound. Almost every aspect of his creative process is governed by these transformations.
His presses, sculptures in their own right, are made from tall stacks of found wood, bent and
molded tin cans, plastic tubing, metal scraps, netting, and other detritus. In addition to
transferring ink to paper, his crude printing plates, fashioned from tin cans, emboss, puncture,
and stain the paper. Conrad’s inks are also made from objects collected from his environment.
Walnuts, metals, dirt, and sediments produce inks in earthy hues that oxidize and continuously
transform after a print is removed from a press, suggestive of biological processes or organisms,
or what remains of them. "I play with and explore these found materials with an interest in both
craft and an unrefined, direct sensibility," says Conrad.
Three of Conrad’s sculptural presses will be on display, along with multiple prints. One of the
presses will be printing live throughout the exhibition and Conrad will work the press on Thursday
evenings, displaying fresh prints nearby. This activity will be featured on Opalka’s social media
channels and the exhibition website.
A large sound installation, conceived of and created while Conrad was in quarantine last spring,
will also be on display featuring a collection of primitive instruments made using the same tin
cans he uses in his presses. Driven by simple electric motors and microphones, dozens of cans,
and objects made from cans, roll, clank, are struck by wires and brushes, and jingle on strings.
Together they fill the gallery with a pleasant composition of percussive sound. Also on display
will be several cigar box guitars Conrad has built in the past year. Simple chordophones, each
instrument uses an empty cigar box as a resonator. Originally produced in the late 1800s, cigar
box guitars were important in the rise of jug bands and the blues and have seen a recent
resurgence in popularity along with the DIY movement. For his guitars, Conrad uses found scraps
of wood, tin cans, and other simple materials, and many of them he makes as gifts for family
and friends. During the exhibition, Conrad will host an online workshop for kids on how to make
your own instruments.
Conrad is also interested in the community and social aspects of printmaking. In the center of
the gallery, Conrad has constructed a large structure entitled The Iowa Booth, inspired by a
vintage wood and canvas voting booth he found onsite when he purchased an old firehouse in
Round Lake, New York, that would later become his studio and home. The Iowa Booth consists
of eight modular canvas panels that form a large circle with a gap for an opening. Wooden
shelves fold to provide small tabletops adjacent to each panel once inside. Conrad has dyed and
screen printed multiple canvases that will be changed throughout the exhibition. The Iowa Booth
will serve as a home for Conrad as he is in residence in the gallery on Thursday evenings during
the exhibition. He will work on his printing presses, collaborate with musicians on his sound
pieces, and present a series of virtual events, Dispatches from the Iowa Booth, featuring
discussions with individuals and collaborators who inspire his work. Confirmed participants
include: marine geologist Dr. Joan Bernhard, artist Donté K. Hayes, musician Tommy Santee
Klaws, and conservationist Silvia Secchi .
A native of New York, Conrad is a 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Drawing,
Printmaking and Book Arts and was the 2015-16 Grant Wood Fellow in Printmaking and has been
awarded residencies at Frans Masereel Centrum (Belgium), Penland School of Craft (North
Carolina), and the Vermont Studio Center. He has had solo, two-person and group exhibitions
nationally and internationally.
In 2014, he was awarded a SPAF/NYSCA grant to develop the Adirondack Forum, a collapsible
venue made of old printing blocks and other found wood that functioned as a meeting place,
performance space and classroom. For the virtual opening reception on January 26, Conrad will
give a virtual tour of the exhibition and will demonstrate his instruments. On February 17, he’ll
present an online artist lecture. A catalog and website will be created to document the
exhibition. Conrad is currently Assistant Professor and Program Head of Printmaking at University
of Iowa and an Iowa Print Media Faculty Fellow. He previously taught at Skidmore College and
assisted his partner Rachel Ziegler-Sheridan in founding the Round Lake School, which is a
preschool/residency in Round Lake that follows the teaching philosophies of Reggio Emelia.
Conrad is represented by Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri.
Terry James Conrad: Object Permanence
January 26 - March 13, 2021
Virtual Opening: Exhibition Tour & Conversation with Artist
TUES, January 26, 6-8pm, Zoom*
Artist Lecture: Terry James Conrad
WED, February 17, 6:30pm, Zoom*
Dispatches from The Iowa Booth , virtual series hosted by Terry James Conrad
Thursdays, 7pm, Zoom*
How to Make Your Own Instruments, Workshop for Kids
*For all events:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Opalka online for Zoom meeting info.
Opalka Gallery is located at 140 New Scotland Ave., Albany, on the Albany campus of Russell
Sage College. The gallery will be open to the public with safety measures in place. Masks will be
required, along with a temperature check and a COVID-19 wellness form. The gallery is open
Tuesday, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays 12-5pm, Thursdays 12-8pm, and Mondays by
appointment. For more information, please contact Amy Griffin, Exhibitions and Marketing
Manager, (518) 292-8607, email@example.com .
An inviting and innovative gallery on the campus of the Russell Sage College, Opalka Gallery
showcases outstanding contemporary art and design from both national and international artists.
An important part of the cultural life in New York’s Capital Region, the gallery frequently hosts
lectures, films, performances and other events in conjunction with exhibitions.