NORMAN, OKLA. (Mar. 15, 2011) – Author, photographer and professor of art at the College of Charleston Michelle Van Parys will deliver a free, public lecture presented by the University of Oklahoma Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West as part of the Merkel Family Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series.


The illustrated lecture, titled “The Way Out West: Desert Landscapes,” is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 14, in the Mary Eddy and Fred Jones Auditorium of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave., in the OU Arts District. The public lecture and reception are free and open to the public; seating is limited. 


Van Parys’ lecture, by the same title as her 2008 book published by the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, will discuss two decades of exploration in the Southwest and focus on her interest in the interaction of man and his sublime desert landscape.  Her work, which has been described as both original and compelling, has been exhibited internationally and may be seen within the permanent collections of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  Her photographs have also appeared in a number of publications, including Camera Arts, Le Millennium, and the New York Times Book Review


Founded in 1998, the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West is the first such university-based program in the nation. The center is dedicated to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge in the field of American art history as it relates to the western United States. Through its resource holdings, national symposia, lecture series, course offerings and outreach programs, the Russell Center actively engages students and the public in developing a better understanding of, and appreciation for, 19th- and 20th-century Euro-American and Native American artistic traditions. Special focus is given to the art of Charles M. Russell and his contemporaries.  For more information on the Russell Center, visit the resources section of For accommodations on the basis of disability, call (405) 325-5939.