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1995 Deaf Artists' Exhibit

Deaf Artists' Exhibit, A Perspective of Deaf Culture Through Art, at Deaf Studies IV Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Woburn, MA, April 27-30, 1995
Curated by Brenda Schertz

Gallery Guide 


Art is an excellent medium in educating both Deaf and hearing people about the Deaf experience. To offer some thought-provoking perspectives about being Deaf in many ways we as Deaf persons may not think about. Some works will be culture affirming and others will show the horrors of oppression. To offer personal perspectives by the artists, basically what it means to be Deaf.

To provide sources for scholarly and academic discussions related to De'VIA, the Deaf View/Image Art set forth in a manifesto created by a group of Deaf artists during Deaf Way, at Gallaudet in 1989. (See the next page for a copy of this manifesto.) Do the elements considered necessary to make art Deaf art as defined in that manifesto apply to all the works in this exhibit? Do all the works in the exhibit have a place in what is "Deaf Art"?  There might be some works that are debatable.

To provide this rare opportunity for both Deaf and hearing people to see the power and purpose of the subject matter in a mounted exhibition.

The purpose of this Gallery Guide

Many nuances of the works included in this exhibit may be difficult to discern without knowledge of the issues and perceptions common to members of the Deaf community.  This guide is intended to provide information concerning the ways in which each work is relevant to the Deaf culture or experience.

People who are already knowledgeable about the Deaf culture may find this guide helpful in obtaining deeper insights into these works. No one, however, should consider the information presented here absolutely definitive: it is, rather, subjective material written on the basis of information obtained from a variety of sources, including the artists, and including direct quotations from many of these artists.  Viewers are encouraged to offer their own thoughts.

Brenda Schertz

April 10, 1995

Artworks, in alphabetical order by artist

Chuck Baird

Art No. 2, 1993
Acrylic, 24" x 30"
(Courtesy of Vicki Bradham)

Susan "Vito" Dupor

Bite the cord that feeds you, vortex and duel, triptych, 1995
Oil on masonite, right and left: 6" x 7.5", center: 11" x 14"

Family Dog , 1991
Acrylic, 61" x 58"

Glenna and Nike, triptych, 1994
Oil on masonite, right and left: 24" x 14", center: 24" x 13"

I Interesting Hamster, 1993
Mixed Media, 48" x 48"

Pussy, 1994
Oil on masonite, 32" x 16"

Regionalization, 1993
Oil on Canvas, 30" x 29"

Lee S. Ivey

New Cycle, 1992
Oil on Canvas Board, 20.25" x 28"
(Courtesy of Betty G. Miller)

Betty G. Miller

Hot Dog, Ice Cream, Baz Bawl, 1986
Brush & Ink/Watercolor, 28" x 20"

Mirror, Mirror, 1986
Brush & Ink/Watercolor, 28" x 20"

Read My Lips, 1986
Brush & Ink/Watercolor, 28" x 20"
(Courtesy of Nancy V. Becker)

Untitled, 1993
Acrylic/Mixed Media, 32.5" x 34.5"

Ralph R. Miller

Deaf Picnic, Austin, Texas, 1977
Acrylic on canvas, 32.5" x 34.5"
(Courtesy of Betty G. Miller)

Elizabeth A. Morris

False Hope for Deaf Children, 1994
Computer Color Output, 20" x 24"

False Image of Cochlear Corporation, 1994
Graphic Color Output, 20" x 24"

Technology Changes Our Perception of Reality, 1994
Graphic Color Output, 20" x 24"

Ann Silver

Cultural-Linguistic Crossing / BI-BI , 1992
(RoadSigns Series), Mixed Media, 16 x 20

Deaf Studies Soup: DS National Conference, 1995
(Soup Series), Mixed Media, 20" x 16"

Hearing-Impaired: WRONG WAY/Deaf: RIGHT WAY , 1992
(RoadSigns Series), Mixed Media, 20" x 16"

Progress Soup: Manual Alphabet, 1995
(Soup Series), Mixed Media, 20" x 16"

Marjorie Stout

Black and White: Deafness with Noise, 1990
Acrylic, 36" x 48"

Culture Shock, 1990
Acrylic and photo, 36" x 48"

Deaf Way, 1990
Acrylic and photo, 36" x 48"

Sound, 1990
Acrylic, 36" x 48"

We Are Brothers, 1990
Acrylic and photo, 36" x 48"

Eddie Swayze

A.S.L., triptych, 1991
Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 35" each piece

Mary J. Thornley

In The Beginning Was The Word, 1991
Charcoal on paper, 18" x 24"

Milan, Italy, 1880 (After Goya's 'Third of May, 1808'), 1994
Oil on canvas, 39" x 33"

Signing Mona Lisa, Split Image, 1993
Oil on canvas, 31" x 39"

Why People Are Afraid of Me, 1994
Oil on canvas, 30" x 31"

The World As Earmold, 1994
Oil on canvas, 31" x 34"

Harry R. Williams

A Deaf Man's Best Friends Are His Ten Fingers (date unknown)
Oil, 8.5" x 10"

Lily, (date unknown)
Oil, 48" x 48"
(Courtesy of Dawn Sign Press)

Mouth In Hand Series, 1973-74
Oil, 8.5" x 9.75"

Music Notes Series, 1975-78
Oil on wood, 16" x 20"

My Eyes Are My Ears, 1974-75
Oil, 8.5" x 10"

Wrinkled Paper Series, 1974-75
Mixed Media,  24" x 30"


I am deeply indebted to many people for the help without which the exhibit would not have been possible.  It is not possible to name all of them, but special thanks are due to:

The magnificent staff at Gallaudet University Regional Center, Kathy Vesey, Director, for asking me to set up this exhibit; Chris Facchina, as an equal partner in the planning for the exhibit,  for keeping me updated on tasks I needed to do, and for keeping track of all communication channels;  Mark Sommer for coordinating efforts with DawnSignPress and trying to keep everyone calm during those frantic moments;  and last, but far from least, Tracey Gallerani for her cheerfulness and invaluable assistance with the printing needs of the art exhibit.

The loyalty and patience of the participating artists who were very accommodating to certain arrangements and for loaning their works to this very special exhibition.

Mary J. Thornley, a participating artist, for allowing us to use her work, "Milan, 1880 (After Goya's Third of May, 1808)" for the conference poster.

Dawn Sign Press for agreeing to install spectacular pieces of Harry R. Williams' work in the exhibit.

Betty G. Miller, who besides loaning a number of her works to this exhibit also assisted with the biographies of Ralph R. Miller and Lee S. Ivey.

L.K.Elion, for providing Harry R. Williams's biography.

Nancy V. Becker and Vicki Bradham for loaning works by Betty G. Miller and Chuck Baird to the exhibit.

John Dunleavy for his support and editorial assistance.

Joseph P. Bevillard, for his photographic services.

The Deaf Community News, for providing continous coverage of the Deaf Studies Conference and the Deaf Artists' Exhibit.

Sue Burnes, Pat Ward Costello, John Dunleavy, and Kristin Johnson for serving as Gallery tour guides.

All the volunteers who are so eager to assist with many different aspects of the exhibit.

Brenda Schertz