Artists have strived for truth and beauty in the past. The aesthetic value of art trumped all other ideas. That pursuit is secondary in a newer art world, according to Josine Ianco, curator of the new exhibit at the Schneider Museum of Art.

Artists have strived for truth and beauty in the past. The aesthetic value of art trumped all other ideas. That pursuit is secondary in a newer art world, according to Josine Ianco, curator of the new exhibit at the Schneider Museum of Art.

"Ideas about social conditions such as the environment, injustice, poverty, used to be dealt with by political artists," Ianco says. "Now conceptual artists are taking an interest in these issues."

The new art is not beautiful by decorative standards, but is intrinsically beautiful, she says.

"Idea, Text and Image," an exhibition by three artists who share concerns often disregarded by society, will open Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Schneider Museum on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

Works by Kim Abeles, Charles Gaines and Don Normark cover expressions that range from the complex and ambiguous to the clear and critical.

Gaines uses drawings and poetic speculations to explore modern catastrophes, juxtaposing facts with the mysteries of life, fate and the cosmos. Abeles dramatizes social and environmental issues with installation art, and Normark rounds out the exhibition with a series of photographs titled "Chavez Ravine." The images were taken in 1949 and illustrate the Mexican American families who were forced to leave their homes in Southern California to make way for a low-cost housing project. Normark's images are published in "Chavez Ravine, 1949: A Los Angeles Story."

Abeles will discuss her artwork at a lecture to be held at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Meese Auditorium of the SOU Art Building. The talk will be followed by an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the museum.

See www.sou.edu/sma or call 552-6245.