The Schneider Museum of Art will present "Exploring Reality," an exhibit made up of work by nine artists who delve into perspectives of reality using various media, including painting, printmaking, installation and sculpture.

Curated by museum director Scott Malbaurn and artist and art writer Shane McAdams, the show is designed to acknowledge the boundless talent Oregon artists contribute to contemporary art and help promote and further the careers of those artists by bringing them national exposure.

"A vital component of this exhibition includes an outside curator," Malbaurn says. "McAdams is someone whose work I've always admired. His work straddles the line between abstraction and representation."

The two met while Malbaurn lived and worked in New York City, where McAdams still keeps a studio. McAdams' work is represented at the Elisabeth Leach Gallery in Portland. His art can best be described as a mix of installation, sculpture and painting, Malbaurn says.

McAdams' "Splayed Oak," a set of sections of an oak tree painted with ballpoint pen and resin, will be among the art showcased in "Exploring Reality."

McAdam will discuss his work, the exhibit and his life as an artist, critic and curator at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, in Meese Auditorium on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. Admission is free.

"Exploring Reality" will open Thursday, Jan. 14, and run through March 19 in the Schneider Museum, corner of Siskiyou Boulevard and Indiana Street, Ashland. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Call 541-552-6245 or see.www.sou.edu/sma.

The other eight participating artists include Laura Vandenburgh of Springfield; Eugene-based printmaker Charlene Liu; Portland painter Tia Factor; Southern Oregon University faculty member and ceramic artist Robin Strangfeld; Ashland painter Laurel Bustamante; and Ellen Lesperance, painter Ryan Pierce and sculptor Malia Jensen of Portland.

Vandenburgh's installation is part of the Southern Oregon Site Project and also designed to support the development and presentation of new art by Oregon artists. Pierce is co-founder of Signal Fire, a group that facilitates wilderness retreats for artists.

SOU students served as assistants to the artists during the installation of "Exploring Reality," an experience that will provide them with insights to artistic processes and professional artists.

"I think it's good for students here to be exposed to artists who go beyond studio practice and participate in the art world by writing and curating," Malbaurn says. "It's great to broaden students' horizons about what is possible and give them more ideas and options."

Along with his work as museum director, Malbaurn teaches drawing, painting and museum study courses in the Center for Visual Arts at SOU. A painter in his own right, he creates hard-edged geometrical paintings.

Along with McAdams' free lecture Jan. 11, Pierce and Jensen will offer art talks at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and 3:30 p.m. March 7, respectively, in Meese Auditorium.

Family Days — featuring hands-on arts projects and activities designed to engage families in current exhibits — will be offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 23, Feb. 20 and March 19. Docent-led educational tours are offered at noon Tuesdays, and tours for school and community groups can be scheduled by calling 541-552-6245.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free, but donations of $5 will be accepted. See www.sou.edu/sma or call 541-552-6245 for information.