Faculty Art Show Exhibits Professors’ Talents

Faculty Art Show Exhibits Professors’ Talents

Santa Fe’s visual arts professors will flex their artistic muscles at the Santa Fe Gallery’s Annual Visual Arts Faculty Show, Nov.  19 through Dec. 16. The show features up to five works made by each artist during the past year.

“It gives the students insight as to why their professors teach the way they do, through the art they produce,” said Jayné Grant, gallery director.

To celebrate the return of this exhibit, which has been a yearly institution since the 1980s, the Gallery will hold an opening mixer ofrom 7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19 at the Gallery in Building M, room 147 at the Northwest campus, where the public can interact with the faculty artists. A live band will provide entertainment, with refreshments catered by Blue Water Bay

“The opening of the exhibit is one of the rare times we’re all in one room,” said Valerie Aslakson-Jennings, a professor of Fine Arts and a 13-year veteran of the Faculty Show. “My favorite aspect of the show is seeing everyone else’s work. Sometimes, I don’t see my colleagues consistently, so it gives me an opportunity to see what they have been working on.”

The pieces on display this year range from photography to painting, jewelry to ceramics. Some works are as large as 70 by 55 inches, while others, like those of Aslakson-Jennings, measure only a couple inches in length. Though an annual event, the 2010 Faculty Show promises innovation and surprises, as many of the exhibiting artists have experimented with their trademark styles since the last show.

“This one shows more growth in [the faculties’] art styles than in previous years,” said Grant. “Some are picking up on an old theme and expanding on it. Some are working more with color than in the past. They’re just trying new methods and techniques.”

Among the artists switching up their style are Stacey Breheney and Aslakson-Jennings. Breheney, once known for her realistic landscapes and cityscapes, will debut some of her new, more abstract paintings, and Aslakson-Jennings will add a wood sculpture to her repertoire of collages and two-dimensional images.

“I’ve gotten more abstract, and I’m interested now in expressing a mood more than a realistic image,” said Aslakson-Jennings. “I feel that it’s a good opportunity for instructors to show to students that we’re working and experimenting just like they are– to show them that after school ends, you can still find inspiration and find your voice.”

Many faculty members also use this art show as an opportunity to revisit earlier work. Photographer Ray “Shooter” Hale recently uncovered three unused negatives from his 1970s photo shoot of Hells Angel’s bikers and has printed them for the first time this year, colored with rich, antique sepia tones.

Retiring from teaching at the end of this semester, Sue Jester similarly has found inspiration in older work for her last faculty art show. Returning to her portrait photograph Sultana, Jester digitally superimposed new images over the original to evoke new meanings.

Don’t expect all the works to be looking to the past for inspiration. New faculty member Anthony Castronovo adds his futuristic style to the mix, blending cutting-edge science and art. Castronovo, who started teaching at Santa Fe this year, will exhibit pictures and documentation of his 10-foot-tall outdoor sculpture, Heliotropis, a flower constructed from glass and bronze that opens and closes with the energy collected from solar panels on its leaves.

This year, participating professors were required to write a personal statement for each piece, describing the inspiration and the methods that lead to its creation. According to Grant, these personal statements are meant to help inspire students to use what they learn in class in their own works of art.

“The faculty took everything they did and explained the basics: how they came up with a concept and how they followed that concept to fruition,” said Grant. “We encourage students not to mimic things from the past but to use those influences to inspire free thought and individual thinking.”

~ This press release was written by Allison Griner, Communication Specialist, College Relations