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Annual art exhibit displays faculty's work

The weeks between the end of August and beginning of September have become almost a ritual for students and faculty: Students make their annual pilgrimage to the bookstore, Tom DeLuca hypnotizes large crowds in the Amphitheater and the McIntire Department of Art holds the Faculty Exhibition at the Fayerweather Gallery.

The show, which opened Aug. 30, runs through Sept. 24 and exclusively features faculty art work.

"The Faculty Show is something we [the Art Department] always do, it's an obligatory activity. It's how we celebrate getting back to school," Art Prof. James Hagan said.

Dean Dass, gallery director and associate art professor, said the show allows students and faculty members to meet and greet one another early in the semester.

"The show is the first show of the academic year so that the students can see and meet us and our work, so to speak," Dass said.

The Fayerweather Gallery, located on Rugby Road, was originally a gymnasium. At the time, the actual gallery room was a bowling alley. With the opening of Memorial Gymnasium, however, the space became a library for the old Architecture School.

When the Architecture School moved to Campbell Hall in 1971, the basement was used as a sculpture studio until the Fayerweather Gallery was established in 1980. Since its opening almost 20 years ago, the gallery has hosted the faculty's work.

Art enthusiasts can view the exhibitions Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year, the show features 29 pieces by 13 faculty members. Work submitted by faculty members runs the gamut from oil paintings to inkjet prints to even more unconventional mediums such as automatic transmission fluid and motor oil.

The artists typically choose the pieces they will display in the show from their most recent work.

"We let the faculty submit whatever they want, and usually they all contribute something," Gallery Administrative Asst. Sylvia Strawn said.

"I usually put my most recent stuff in the show to share with my colleagues," Hagan said.

Hagan submitted three inkjet prints to this year's exhibition. His pieces "Tree I" and "Tree II" were made with a digital camera, so that the trees in the pictures actually are a composite of five different trees.

"It's actually like you're at a tree and moving your head, looking it up and down," Hagan said of his work.

"I always put new work in the show," Dass said. "In this case projects that have been a part of our printmaking studio and my students working in that studio -- it's a bit insiderish in that respect."

Dass displayed two pieces this year. One is entitled "Lamentation" and is a work of pencil, gouache (opaque watercolor) and collage. "Lamentation" features a light pencil drawing of a naked woman with some applications of a neutral colored paint. He said it was inspired by a poem by George Trakl and suggested to him by Bayly Art Museum curator Steve Margulies. His other piece, "Blind Monkey After Bruegel," is a pencil, gouache, mica pigment and chine-collé etching. This piece also features a light pencil drawing of a monkey over top a light sparkle material. Dass said it was inspired by a Bruegel show at the Bayly last spring.

In both works Dass said he sees himself as having a conversation with his students and colleagues.

"I try to make connections when I decide what to put in the show," he said. "Our work is important for" the students.

The timeliness of the work is especially crucial so students can see that faculty members are active professional artists, he added.

Choosing where the work will be displayed in the Gallery was a task that fell to Dass and two fifth-year post-baccalaureate students, Brian Kauppi and Ben Kulo.

"The Gallery is a very unusual space so we have to think what can hang where, what will fit and what looks balanced, all very pragmatic considerations," Dass said.

There was no question as to where to place Art Prof. Holly Wright's "The Last Supper," a silver gelatin print on canvas. The piece, the largest in the show, is hung on the only wall that could accommodate the work.

It took the three about half a day to hang the entire show, with visiting art instructor Rosemarie Fiore assisting with the hanging of her "Subaru Rear Windshield Wiper Painting #5."

The piece, a windshield wiper oil stain made of automatic transmission fluid and motor oil on paper, was pinned unobtrusively to the wall. Only upon closer inspection can one discern that the piece actually is mounted on the wall.

"That piece," Dass said, "is a kind of installation, notice the oil dripping down the wall."

The Gallery held a First Friday reception Sept. 3 to celebrate the beginning of the school year and the exhibition.

"The opening attracted a lot of people. The faculty show usually sees about 30 to 50 people come out to view the work," Strawn said.

While this number does not seem particularly large, she said it was a good turnout for a Fayerweather show.

"You have to remember that [the Gallery] doesn't have any parking, which means that the people who come to see the work are quite dedicated," she added.