Word Play, Organized By Kate Klingbeil • Phantom Limb: Em Kettner • Handbills • Jesus Salas at NIAD Art Center through May 26 //

While play is honored as an important method in understanding life and the emotional spectrum that accompanies humanity, the exhibition “Word Play” combines sculpture, ceramics, drawing, painting, and embroidery in a visual playground meant to inspire wonderment and discovery.

Glazed ceramic words created by Sara Malpass invite us to read into our own minds. Sculptures by Julio Del Rio, Dorrie Reid, and Adonia Douglas are arranged in an alter-like configuration that honors creatures, the vessel, and flora as sacred objects. While the walls are lined with intricate works by Reid, Del Rio, Ann Meade, Susan Wise, and Dre’An Cox that invite us to look into the artists’ minds for a moment.

“Word Play,” organized by Kate Klingbeil, is the first exhibition curated by Klingbeil at NIAD Art Center.

Kate Klingbeil (b. 1990) is an artist currently living in Brooklyn. Before moving to New York, Kate spent years in the Bay Area where she ran and curated at Turpentine Gallery. Her work deals with themes of femininity, play, ownership of one’s body, emotion and memory, and she works in many different mediums including ceramics, painting and animation. Kate graduated from California College of the Arts in 2012, and has attended residencies at Kala Art Institute and ACRE projects.

Phantom Limb: Em Kettner

Sinewy creatures wriggle across the walls in “Phantom Limb,” a solo exhibition of new miniature sculptures by Chicago-based artist and writer Em Kettner. Bound with cotton and silk, the ceramic figures are composed of animal parts and reanimated vestigial structures. Torsos stretch and curl, legs are fused or splayed, and heads are pinched and doubled. Through these playful modifications, human features merge completely with those of their wild ancestors and, by insisting on this primordial kinship, the objects come to embody the phantom limb phenomenon: the sensation that a missing limb is still attached and—invisibly, painfully, miraculously—alive.

Em Kettner (b. 1988) received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she currently teaches in the Painting and Drawing Department. Recent exhibitions include two- and three- person shows at Western Exhibitions, Fernwey Gallery, and HARPY NJ, and group shows at Roots & Culture, Roman Susan Gallery, and Left Field SLO. Kettner spends part of each year weaving on an ancient loom and cooking clay out in El Cerrito, California.


All of us have something that we want everyone to hear. Handbills are often the vehicle for that idea. Our printmaking department has been working with a small letter press to create missive that address everything from a love of professional wrestling to the need for civil rights.

Jesus Salas

Earlier this year, Jesus Salas began to depart from his frequent sketches of the inside of the buses he rides to the Art Center. And he began to tackle abstract painting. Moody and often somber, Salas’ work references the composition of late Modernism. This is Jesus’ first solo exhibition at the Art Center.