The Faculty Art Exhibition located in Southeastern’s Contemporary Art Gallery showcases the art of more than 12 Southeastern professors with the hopes of giving students a new perspective on their professors.
The Faculty Art Exhibition began on Jan. 19 and lasts until Feb. 10. Curation for the exhibition began about a week before the Spring semester started, said Savannah Perrin, a gallery staff member and Senior at Southeastern studying graphic design. “It typically takes us about two weeks to hang everything and get the exhibition set up properly. It really depends on the size of the actual exhibition. The gallery staff members hang all the artwork unless it’s a student-oriented show. In the case of any other exhibition we hang the artwork.”
In the case of the Faculty Exhibition, faculty members first brought in their pieces by a set due date, then the layout of the gallery was planned by Dale Newkirk, the Gallery Director. Once the layout is planned, gallery staff gets to work on setting up pieces in their appropriate places.
The Faculty Exhibition hosts works of art from many different types of media. “We pretty much have every form of traditional media represented. From very traditional art, to new media animation, digital pieces, sound and audio, ceramics, painting, graphic design layout, some environmental art, and photography of course. It really spans the whole gambit,” said Benjamin Diller, instructor of drawing at Southeastern.
Diller submitted seven different pieces to the faculty exhibition this semester. “I focus on work that isn’t maybe considered quote ‘finished product’ but a lot of process, such as a sketch book of working drawings and little maquettes that lead to further development; and I do this so students can see how things are begun and not just see the finished, polished piece.”
Diller’s work features mixed media art using materials like acrylic paint, ink, metal, and wood. “A lot of it has to do with observation in landscape, architecture and nature, and how they interact. I also submitted a sketch book full of sketches, more of a traditional style. I combine that with photography and often times I’ll use a template to replicate onto panels of wood that I cut out, or I’ll just go directly onto a canvas or a piece of paper that’s larger.”
The Faculty Art Exhibit also features interactive and involved works of art. Jeff Mickey, professor of sculpture at Southeastern, submitted one such piece. “The piece I submitted is sort of cutting some new ground, offering a viewer participative piece that was exploring new ideas. With some of the things that I’ve been thinking about in the studio, I wanted to get it out and bring it to a gallery situation to sort of look and at it and see it, not in its home state.”
Mickey said some technical issues regarding the piece actually ended up giving him a new perspective on his own work. “The piece is actually about controlling nature, and the functionality of that piece is sort of problematic. I really like that idea that controlling nature is difficult, if not an impossible prospect for us and for that then making the piece not function the way it should has a connection. That just kind of clicked whenever I installed it.”
Mickey said, “I think that’s an important part of being an artist. When something is working in a way that’s not really your intention, being able to choose that and accept that as part of your work, that’s an important step in being a mature artist.”
The Faculty Art Exhibition isn’t just an opportunity for professors to showcase their work to their students. It’s also an opportunity for students to better understand their professors and view them from a different perspective. “Students can critique their professors work and hopefully help them grow a little bit more as artists. The exhibition also has different panels which helps even more so that students can see and hear even more, and hopefully inspire some of the students to branch out into different forms of art,” said Perrin.
Fellow gallery staff member and student at Southeastern, Alex Bond, said, “I also think it’s helpful in the fact that I think a lot of students sometimes forget that their professors are artists and are making their own work outside of the classroom. They’re all professional artists so it’s a helpful perspective for students to see their professor’s artwork this way.”