Matthew Deleget's "Color Vulture" from 2012 comprises three off-the-shelf canvases illuminated in colored light. It was gifted to the university by the artist. (Photo from Ruth Glover)

The UTC Cress Gallery has opened the 2018-19 season by plucking select artworks from the permanent collection.

With nearly 1,900 pieces dating to the early 20th century, there were plenty to pluck. Director and curator Ruth Grover says those pulled for the opening show, "Selections VIII," focus on works created since the year 2000 by five artists whose career paths include a previous exhibition in the Cress.

If you go

* What: “Selections VIII: 21st Century Art From the UTC Permanent Collection.”

* When: Through Oct. 4. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday (closed Labor Day), 1-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. (closed Labor Day).

* Where: Cress Gallery, 752 Vine St. (inside Fine Arts Center).

* Phone: 423-304-9789.

* Email:

* Online: or Facebook.

Parking note
Cress Gallery visitors arriving after 5 p.m. on weekdays and at all times on weekends may park free in any university lot not marked “24 Hour Reserved.” Visitors arriving before 5 p.m. on weekdays may park in the Fifth Street Parking Garage for a $4 fee. Metered parking is available on Vine Street outside the Fine Arts Center, and some unmetered space is available on Palmetto Street. Handicap parking is available on Vine Street outside the Fine Arts Center. For more information about parking on campus, visit

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Joe Ramiro Garcia's 2002 work "Blue Door," is a 72- by 72-inch oil and alkyd on canvas. It was a 2008 gift to the University by Diane Marek. (Photo from Ruth Glover)

They are Joe Ramiro Garcia, Gao Lei, the duo of Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, Matthew Deleget and artists collective Okay Mountain.

Housed in state-of-the-art storage in the new UTC Library, the permanent collection at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has grown over the years to become an important teaching resource for the campus and community, Grover says. The gift-based collection features work by regional, national and international artists. It was recognized for its significance in 2015 with an Archival Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Here's a closer look at the artists featured in "Selections VIII."

» The work of Joe Ramiro Garcia, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, first appeared in his 2005 Cress Gallery exhibition focusing on his paintings and monotypes. Spanning a five-year period, the vibrant works reveal the development of Garcia's unique practice of blending traditional brush and palette knife painting with adaptations of printmaking processes applied to canvas. His signature compositions are filled with cultural references, pop symbols and cartoon imagery.

» The photographs of Gao Lei, of Beijing, China, were a part of the Cress' 2010 group exhibition of contemporary Chinese art titled "Le Deluge Après Mao: China's Surging Creative Tide." The subjects of these sensitive, large-format black-and-white photographs reveal Gao's fascination with the people, life and landscape of Tibet.

» The collaborative duo Kahn/Selesnick (Nicholas Kahn, of Hudson, New York, and Richard Selesnick, of Rhinebeck, New York) engage in long-term thematic projects. Centered upon the possibilities of alternative events in history, the artists create a basic narrative and supplement it with handcrafted or repurposed costumes, objects and ephemera employed by themselves, their friends and family as actors in their photographs. All Kahn/Selesnick projects culminate with the publishing of a book. This exhibition features their 25-foot long, two-sided accordion book "Apollo Prophesies" (2006) and a documentary about the project's making. Both were part of their Cress Gallery exhibition "Apollo Prophecies and Eisbergfreistadt" in the spring of 2010.

» The power and beauty of simplicity is demonstrated in the work "Color Vulture," a reductive abstraction by Matthew Deleget, of Brooklyn, New York. Created especially for his fall 2012 Cress Gallery solo, "Pictures at an Exhibition," this work is composed of three off-the-shelf blank canvases, each illuminated with light in one of the primary colors.

» The humor and wit of the nine-member artists collective Okay Mountain is evident in their suite of digital C-prints "Meditations #1-9" (2015), a riff on the "Zen garden" and a critique of our culture of prepackaged consumerist experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, they exhibited as "Okay Mountain" in the Cress during the spring of 2012.

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Gao Lei's "Monk" from 2009 incorporates archival pigment inks on gloss photo paper. It was gifted to the university by the artist in 2010. (Photo from Ruth Glover)