Artwork speaking to universal truths, what constitutes family to open Oct. 27 in Caestecker Gallery

“Commonalities,” an exhibit of work by Lawrence University artist Benjamin D. Rinehart, will run Oct. 27 through Dec. 8 in Caestecker Gallery, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts, at Ripon College. An opening reception will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, in Demmer Recital Hall.

The reception and the exhibit are free and open to the public.

Rinehart says the show addressed relatable questions, challenges and triumphs everyone faces. “We all live in parallel, but the intersections at various stages in our lives allow us to explore our humanity,” he says. “The two series that are showcased, ‘7 Hopes for Humanity’ and ‘The Boys & Bubs,’ speak to universal truths and challenge notions of what constitutes a family. I ask the viewer to be open and place themselves into an alternate perspective as they interact with the work.”

His work depicts an autobiographical narrative critiquing relationships between people and personal identity, more specifically as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) community, Rinehart says.

“I use personal experience to raise awareness and speak about issues affecting under-represented and marginalized people. Each piece is an expression of intimacy and is intended to have numerous readings beyond the initial view. My artwork is designed to communicate and help others by providing new insight into universal experiences, contributing to a wider dialog and forming a stronger sense of community and family.”

Personal memories incorporated into his work are related to family, relationships, children and parenting, and raise questions about love, insecurities, social injustices and values in contemporary society.

Rinehart is a professor of printmaking and artist books at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He specializes in multimedia images with a strong focus in printmaking, book arts, pop-ups and movables. He is intrigued how pop-ups and movables keep the viewer physically engaged by providing a tactile and psychological experience when interacting with the various elements.

His socially charged work is included in more than 60 public collections and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

He received a bachelor of fine arts from Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana, and a master of fine arts from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He lectures and teaches as a visiting artist at various institutions around the country, including the Center for Book Arts in New York and the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Examples of his work can be viewed at

(Photo: Detail from “7 Hopes for Humanity”)

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Detail from "7 Hopes for Humanity"


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