Terry Gips' work hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Now, some of it resides in a location more convenient for most Brown students: the Sarah Doyle Women's Center Gallery.
The show, "Sheep of Many Colors," is part of a larger project, called "The Dolly Project," which Gips has been working on for about ten years, she said. The exhibit came about as the result of her fascination with sheep, furthered by her interest in Dolly, the sheep cloned in 1996 at the Roslin Institute in Scotland. Dolly captured the world's attention: She was on magazine covers and all over the news, raising questions about the ethics of cloning and technology.
Gips, at the time a professor at the University of Maryland, said she was struggling with parallel issues in the art world. Art professors and students were dealing with the questions raised by digital art. In particular, she said she saw the connection between Dolly and what it means to be able to duplicate an image a hundred times with little effort.
The work on display at the center represents a range of styles and mediums. This includes classic, water-based monotypes such as "Two Sheep: Observations," as well as multimedia works such as "Sheep's Clothing," pigmented prints of sheep stitched into the shape of clothes and displayed along with found items of clothing. Other work displayed includes small three-dimensional houses constructed of prints of sheep.
Some of the other prints on display are Gips' own photography, taken in Ireland, Scotland, England and the United States.
The largest piece on display is called "While Shepherds Watched," which covers almost an entire wall. The piece is a tapestry of pigmented prints of sheep, text, yarn, wool and rope.
Gips explained that the text is a list of known breeds of sheep — some now extinct — and the photos are of sheep from old British catalogues from the late 19th century. Gips said this work represents "an indication of what has been."
The show, on display through March 24, is one of the three professional artist shows this semester at the gallery. According to Brooke Hair '10, a visual arts concentrator and the gallery's coordinator, a board — composed of faculty and staff from Brown, Providence College and the University of Rhode Island and a professional artist — sends out a yearly call for submissions. The group usually receives 60–80 submissions a year, and from those chooses five or six to display throughout the year, Hair said.
Just as the collection is unique, the Sarah Doyle Women's Center Gallery is not a typical white-walled gallery, but a former house with a fireplace, Hair added. "It can be a challenge, but also a way for artists to make different work."