For the first time ever, the University Center for the Arts’ art museum is hosting a Faculty Art Exhibition for members of CSU’s art department.
“We’ve had a couple of faculty exhibitions, one was in Pueblo and one was in the Hatton Gallery,” Metalsmithing and Jewelry Associate Professor Haley Bates said. “The thing I really appreciated about this show is that it was actually curated. Faculty submitted work and there was no guarantee that was the work [that] would be chosen.”
Faculty members were asked to submit three pieces for the exhibition, then Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator Keith Jentzsch and University Art Museum Director Linda Frickman selected which individual pieces to display and how to put them in the space.
“We selected a minimum of one, and then some people got more than one piece in. It was a very organic process for us,” Jentzsch said.
The lack of a unified theme for the exhibit challenged Jentzch and Frickman to find connections and similarities between pieces to help display the art in the space.
“You try to look for relationships or complements that happen with the work. It could be a formal thing, could be content driven, but mostly looking how work sits next to each other,” Jentzch said. “When you’re working with 27 individual artists all doing different things it’s complicated to make a show look cohesive. What we have here is an excellent representation of the diversity of the department.”
Bates is showing a series of three copper and stainless steel sculptures that represent the first serious artistic work she did after the birth of her daughter.
“For the piece in the middle, the smaller vessel is literally connected to the larger vessel and when you fill the larger vessel with a liquid it keeps going down and drains. That sounds kind of negative but I don’t mean for it to. That’s kind of how you feel sometimes after you have a child,” Bates said. “You have a finite amount of energy to give and the child takes so much of it. Of course you want to give it to that child, but there’s also something where you hit a wall and think ‘I’ve got to get back to finding myself again.’ That’s what this work represents.”
Some pieces are representative of places and moments, like professor Gary Huibregtse’s enlarged photo of a modified silver 1950’s car about to take a speed run at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Nevada.
“It’s about describing the object but also about describing the event. What I’m interested in is the way in which they have a form-follows-function quality. But aesthetically and operationally they’re really oddball things,” he said. “That’s what photographers do, they photograph things they have some knowledge of and they show you what they’ve found. The act of making the photograph is saying ‘I would like you think this is interesting as well’.”
Regardless of the specifics of a piece, the primary goal of the exhibition is to provide a space for the faculty to share their art with the community they work and live in.
“The community gets a sense of what the faculty are doing. They’re not only teaching professionals, but they’re artists with a serious studio practice,” Jentzsch said. “Students also benefit from seeing what the faculty are up to as well. There are connections they might see that they didn’t realize were there. It might drive them to take a class with a faculty member that they find interest in.”
It also provides them with a chance to see what their colleagues are working on.
“There’s not very many opportunities for faculty to see what the other faculty are doing. In a selfish way it’s actually a really great snapshot of what everyone’s doing in their own studio,” Bates said. “Part of the value of having an exhibition like this is that students can see what their professors are doing and it provides a broader context for what they’re working on.”
Though there are more students in town to see the exhibition during the fall and spring semesters, the University Art Museum chose the summer to display faculty work because it allows the work to be on display for longer and doesn’t take time away from the educational exhibitions it typically shows.
“Even though it’s not up during an active semester, the show is up for a really long time and quite frankly the quality of exhibition that Linny brings to the exhibition is pretty astounding,” Bates said. “I think it’s very valuable that students will be able to see this faculty show without it taking away from other exhibitions in need of the space.”