What qualifies one to teach art? How does one determine what is right in art?
Such questions baffle many as art maintains a reputation of being solely defined by personal aesthetic interpretation.
With an opening reception held last Friday, Sept. 27, The Annual Faculty Exhibition commenced during the pinnacle of homecoming weekend. The diverse collection of artworks by 14 members of the Arts Department staff challenges this notion of art as an “unteachable” entity.
The works of the Fine Arts Department exemplify that a true artist never stops learning, for there are endless possibilities of artistic creation. The Annual Faculty Exhibition will be on display in the McNamee Gallery in the Samuel Cupples House from Sept. 27- Nov. 16. The Gallery is free to both students and the public, and hours are Wednesdays – Fridays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Much like every other field of study at SLU, good art starts with an understanding of fundamental elements. In art, that is positive and negative shapes, tone and structure. While each person’s work is unique, it relies on much more than the personally defined beauty of a finished work. Art involves a process: making mistakes, challenging oneself, taking risks and interacting with the world.
Although no “right” answer exists to what ideal art looks like, this process of acquiring technique and experience requires skilled leaders and teachers to guide students in the best direction. Art professors are necessary components in this equation, as they serve as the driving motivators, the supportive mentors and the inspiring connection necessary for student success.
The collection as a whole invokes an overall embrace of diversity in the expressions and media forms of the artists. Drawings, paintings, sculpture, digital media, metal and fiber works beautify the cozy space of the lower level of Cupples House. Every piece is unique and speaks to a different emotion, issue or idea.
Touring the gallery resembles an emotional journey. From Jim Burwinkel’s calming sculptures to Theodore Wood’s unsettling landscape painting, each work brings a different element to the table. In short, the gallery serves as a reflection of the unique personalities and skills found throughout the staff of the Fine Arts Department. “The show gives the faculty, as artists, an opportunity to bring some of our experiments out to the public. Because this show is not juried we can put in whatever we want to put in and learn from the feedback from our peers and students,” stated Theodore Wood, drawing and painting instructor.
SLU’s dedicated faculty members guide and instruct not only art majors, but also encourage students of all academic backgrounds to tap into their true creative potential. Oftentimes putting in extended hours committed to their students, these teaching artists have each managed to find some time to channel their own artistic passions. This was evident in the impressive caliber of the works on display.
There’s no better way to show school spirit than by supporting the dedicated faculty who invest so much to make various student advancements a possibility here at SLU. The Fine Arts Department consists of a small but mighty team of creative masterminds who translate the same level of craftsmanship, creativity and passion from classroom to canvas.