Black Hills State University instructor Erica Merchant new mixed media exhibit is at the Ruddell Gallery runs through Feb. 6.
Black Hills State University instructor Erica Merchant is sharing layers of her life through a new mixed media exhibit at the Ruddell Gallery located in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union.

The exhibit, which began last week and runs through Feb. 6, features several wall pieces exposing concepts of geological time and fossilized moments that are discarded or overlooked.

“Layers of information are hidden and exposed through accidental or unintentional means, and it’s my job to bring these moments of disregarded intimacy back to a viewing public,” according to Merchant.

The events and objects she creates all have stratified layers of materials, information and meaning.

The exhibit features a couple bodies of work – geological stratification and fossilization, Merchant said. “I made my own sediments using materials from my life and my daughter’s life – shoes, coffee grounds, orange peels.” 

“I’m glad I get to share this with some people,” Merchant said.

Merchant, a former BHSU art student, currently teaches 2-D design,ceramics, and art appreciation.

Her previous exhibit received a finalist award in the “Art Takes London” competition in London. She has also conducted a variety of workshops and seminars offered at local art centers in the Black Hills and on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Aside from her classes at BHSU, Merchant also works with the Sturgis Area Afterschool Program doing a variety of sculpture, ceramic and stop motion filming projects with at-risk middle school students.

The Ruddell Gallery is located on the second floor of the student union. The gallery is open during regular student union business hours. All shows are free of charge and accessible by stairs or elevator. For more information, contact James Knutson or David Wilson at (605) 642-6706, or the student union information center at (605) 642-6062.