Art talks open two new exhibitions on campus

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will host a series of three artists’ talks and discussions Feb. 7-9.

All three events are in conjunction with two new exhibitions: “On the Margins,” which explores the impact of war and disaster on a range of contemporary artists; and “Thaddeus Strode: Absolutes and Nothings,” which features more than two dozen large-scale paintings by the acclaimed Los Angeles painter.

Events begin at 6:30 p.m. today, Feb. 7, when the Irish video installation artist Willie Doherty will discuss his work in the Steinberg Auditorium.

Doherty — whose haunting 2007 video “Ghost Story” is featured in “On the Margins” — was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1959 and as a child witnessed the infamous Bloody Sunday incident. His photographic and video works explore the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty that became pervasive throughout the Northern Ireland conflict, while also exhibiting a deep skepticism about mainstream media depictions of “The Troubles.”

Doherty’s work has been widely exhibited at galleries and museums across Europe and the United States. In 1993 and again in 2007, he represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale; in 2003, he represented Great Britain at the São Paulo Art Biennial. He was nominated for Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize in 1994 and 2003.

Both “On the Margins” and “Absolutes and Nothings” open at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, in the Kemper Art Museum. As part of the reception, at 7:30 p.m. Strode will host a walk-through of “Absolutes and Nothings” with Sabine Eckmann, Ph.D., director and chief curator of the Kemper Art Museum, and Meredith Malone, Ph.D., assistant curator.

Finally, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, art critic Eleanor Heartney will moderate an “On the Margins” panel discussion at the Center of Contemporary Art located at 524 Trinity Ave. in University City. The panel will include artists Willie Cole and Jane Hammond as well as art critic Paul Krainak. Both Heartney and Krainak contributed essays to the exhibition catalog, which is distributed by the University of Chicago Press.

Introducing the discussion will be curator Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts.

All events are free and open to the public.