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Greer Lecturer’s work looks at identity, culture and displacement

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Kansas City-based artist Heinrich Toh, whose work looks at identity and cultural displacement as inspired by relocation and travel, will be the Greer Visiting Artist for fall 2010.

Toh will give a public lecture Thursday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus, with an artist reception to follow. An exhibit of his work opens in the Fine Arts Center Gallery that day. He will also present public workshops Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Franz Center on the Bethel campus.

Heinrich Toh draws on heritage, tradition and fading customs to create his art. Revisiting memories of the distant and recent past compels him to explore the effects of cultural identity over a period of time.

The imagery of Toh’s work incorporates old family photographs as well as more recent ones taken on visits to family in Singapore and in Chinatowns around the United States, along with commonly found Asian objects, architecture and Chinese brocade patterns.

“My current body of work combines several techniques which produce rich layers of color, pattern and imagery on paper,” Toh said. “I utilize various printmaking processes – including monoprints, collographs and paper litho transfers – to create the overall feel of a piece.

“Also incorporated in the work are alternative photo techniques like cyanotype and van dyke prints. My intent is a fresh perspective on traditional and contemporary culture.”

Heinrich Toh has a B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Art and a diploma in fine arts from La Salle College-SIA of the Arts in Singapore and has studied at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is a former PONCHO artist-in-residence at the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle and a recipient of Pratt’s Pentheroudakis Scholarship in printmaking.

His work is in public, private and corporate collections around the country, including the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, the Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, and University Hospital in Cleveland. He is represented by the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, Utah, and the Byron C. Cohen Gallery in Kansas City, Mo.

The late Dr. Robert C. Goering, a native of Moundridge and a 1948 Bethel graduate, and his wife Amparo Goering, Wichita, initiated the Greer Fine Arts Endowment at Bethel in 1979 in memory of Milford E. Greer, Jr. A close friend of the Goerings, Greer was interested in literature and music and excelled as an artist. He died in an auto accident in 1972 at age 45. The Greer Endowment helps bring visiting artists and scholars in the areas of music, visual arts or theater to the Bethel campus.

“Midnight Bloom,” an exhibit of work by Heinrich Toh, will be on display in the Fine Arts Center Gallery through Dec. 10. Also on the 2010-11 schedule: “Ted Krone: Formal Order,” Feb. 1-25, 2011; “Heather Meeds: Organic Forms,” March 4-April 11; the annual student exhibit, April 8-29; and the annual senior art exhibit by graduating art majors, May 6-22, with a reception for the artists during Commencement Weekend.

Regular hours for the Bethel College Fine Arts Center Gallery are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (closed Nov. 24-29 for the Thanksgiving break). There is no admission charge.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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