Rice’s student-run art gallery becomes an Inferno

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations

MEDIA ADVISORY

Katharine Shilcutt
713-348-6760
kshilcutt@rice.edu

Rice’s student-run art gallery becomes an Inferno

Its old name now up in flames, the student-run art space at Rice University formerly known as Matchbox has been reborn as Inferno Gallery. The newly rechristened gallery debuts Oct. 25 with its first exhibition of the season.

Inferno will debut its first show of the season Oct. 25, "CAN - YOU - DREAM - AMERICA" by Houston-based Venezuelan artist Violette Bule.

Inferno will debut its first show of the season Oct. 25, “CAN – YOU – DREAM – AMERICA” by Houston-based Venezuelan artist Violette Bule.

“CAN – YOU – DREAM – AMERICA” is a project by Houston-based Venezuelan artist Violette Bule, whose work deals with themes of Latino identity and immigration. Her exhibition at Inferno explores the multilayered reality of migration in the U.S. An opening reception will be held Oct. 25 from 8 to 11 p.m.

Originally named for its 1,600-square-foot footprint — jokingly referred to as the size of a matchbox — the gallery opened in 2009 in the former Sewall Hall office of Rice Associate Professor Christopher Sperandio, who donated it to students after he learned about a campuswide dearth of student art spaces. Nearly a decade later, other student art spaces have been installed, but Inferno remains the premier gallery for student art on campus.

“Rice prides itself on involving undergraduates in research, and nowhere on campus does it happen better than in the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) and at the Inferno Gallery,” Sperandio said. “The gallery is a creative lab space that is organized and managed exclusive by undergraduate art students who run a wide range of experimental art exhibitions and immersive installation environments.”

Rice senior Suzanne Zeller was tasked with rebranding Matchbox after being named director in May. The name Inferno was selected to “connect the old name to the new name,” she said. “I was enticed by the name because of its interesting visual possibilities.”

For the gallery’s new logo, Zeller commissioned fellow senior Helena Martin to design a Gorgon head based on one Zeller discovered in the drawings of Sandro Botticelli for Dante’s “Inferno.”

Inferno's Gorgon logo was designed by Rice student Helena Martin.

Inferno’s Gorgon logo was designed by Rice student Helena Martin.

“Helena didn’t just copy the original drawing, she reinterpreted it herself,” Zeller said. Martin’s work captured an array of visceral emotions seen in the snake-headed woman’s screaming face: rage, terror, grief, even a hint of ecstasy. Art is, after all, about provoking emotions.

“While I love art that is created purely for its aesthetics, art that carries social meaning and can generate dialogue on social issues is very important, especially at this time in our country,” said Zeller, who wants to showcase minority artists, immigrant artists and feminist artists for that very reason.

“Our next two shows of the semester are from Lindsey Douglas, a Rice VADA major with an entrancing interactive sculptural show, and Dana Suleymanova and Rachel Wilkins of the University of Texas at Austin, who are bringing us an innovative take on art and mixed media,” Zeller said.

Inferno Gallery is located in Sewall Hall room 258, opening onto the Sewall Hall Sculpture courtyard.

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For more information, contact Katharine Shilcutt, media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6760 or kshilcutt@rice.edu.

This news release can be found online at https://news.rice.edu.

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Related information:

For more information on Inferno Gallery, visit http://matchbox.rice.edu.

For more information on Violette Bule, visit https://www.violettebule.com.

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

 

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.