SIUE Art and Design Faculty Exhibition Opens with Reception

Opening night at the SIUE Art and Design Art Gallery faculty exhibition saw hushed crowds of people taking in all the splendor. Paintings packed with meaning, a casual array of old objects that were made from porcelain and foil imaging provoked discussions. The anticipation of the first annual display of faculty work in the gallery was penetrating.

During last Thursday’s reception, Barbara Nwacha, chair of the Art and Design department, encouraged visitors to come and find things that speak to them.

She said, “Our faculty are active artists…always making new work within our discipline.”

Art therapy students Rebecca Johnson and Katie Arnold lingered to thumb through the “collage” booklet of colorful historical documents created by Professor Patricia “Gussie” Klorer titled, “Mama Dillon.”

“I appreciate the fact that you can touch Klorer’s work and that it feels very intimate and personal…and that I’m invited into that space,” Johnson said.

Eyeing the heavy laden pages, Arnold felt the multi-dimensions of the book with her fingers.

“I like that it’s physically layered with stories and old pictures,” Arnold said.

Professor Jane Barrow’s works, titled “Master Series” was a selection of small oil paintings. Barrow made these studies over the summer pulling from images in her art history books. Barrow collected figures from such artists as Titian, Gerard ter Borch and John Singer Sargent. Her interest at first was to find challenging body positions or other figures that appealed to her and to “merely practice skills.”

However, these randomly painted “snippets of Masterpieces lining my studio floor, quickly showed interesting comparisons.  Stories both of pain and privilege were being juxtaposed and resulted in a new ‘potential narrative’ of human struggle” Barrow said.

Professor John DenHouter commemorated his late father in a painting that depicts a barren boat in blue hues of moonlight, titled, “Pray Station.” According to DenHouter, it has a quietness and mournful feeling. Just one in a series of 60 paintings that incorporate imagery of goal posts, basketball hoops, and other athletic equipment he expressed a sentiment.

“Watching my father transition from an athletic background to becoming aged was difficult for me,” DenHouter said.

Nevertheless, there are elements of spirituality and hope for the afterlife in the painting, according to DenHouter.

“It’s a universal thing. I hope a lot of people can relate to it,” DenHouter said.

According to Aldemaro Romero, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, all the faculty in the department have the same talent, but in the past the gallery was a small room in the corner of the building.

Of the gallery that opened last March, Romero says they now have a professional gallery with enough space that “enhances the pleasure of admiring all these pieces of art… I want to encourage the campus community to come and visit the gallery not only now, but in the future when students will be showing what they have learned at SIUE,” Romero said.

For more information about gallery viewing times, call 618.650.3071.

The faculty exhibit lasts until Sept. 20.

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