Faculty Art Exhibition on displays in Peeler Gallery


Walking through the doors of Peeler after a long summer without students, one may expect a somewhat empty atmosphere. However, turning the corner into the first gallery on the right will reveal hard work from the summer.
The Richard E. Peeler Art Center has had a long-standing tradition of displaying the best artwork from students, faculty and nationally- and internationally-recognized artists. This year will be no different.
For the first show, the most well-known DePauw artists, more commonly known as professors, have collaborated to create a collection of their artwork for the Faculty Art Exhibition, which opened on Aug. 22 and will stay open until Oct. 12. An opening ceremony to celebrate the hard work of part-time and full-time faculty will be held on next Wednesday, Aug. 29.
"It's been the tradition that full-time and part-time faculty are invited," said Lori Miles, a sculpture professor. "This year, everyone entered something."
The 2012 faculty exhibition will feature the work of John Berry, Meredith Brickell, Chaz Evans, Lori Miles and Kevin Mooney and will highlight recent explorations in painting, ceramics, new media, sculpture and photography.
"I particularly like getting to see the work of the part-time faculty. In general, they come in and out without recognition, and this exhibition gives them the perfect time and place to show their students and us ... their work," Miles said.
Miles has been a sculpture professor at DePauw for the past eight years and is looking forward to her fourth showcase. The Faculty Art Exhibition is held every two years and Miles explained that there has been more interest from the faculty than in the past. This year, Miles entered a sculpture piece entitled "A Machine that Bottles Imagery," inspired by the book "Birds."
"I spent a lot of time on planned work during my sabbatical [last year], but I have to show that work in the fall of 2013, so I wanted to do something that is sort of a composition of my work," Miles said. "The focus was on houses, and it is an instillation with birds and a ladder. For this show, I got to try some new things out, so I am excited about it."
Miles describes her niche in the arts with an emphasis on contemporary colors, lowbrow imagery and pedestrian skills. Additionally, she's quite interested in crafts and the way an average person might see themselves as creative, "a sort of Martha Stewart aesthetic."
While Miles has been around DePauw long enough for the faculty to recognize her work as unique, a new face will be entering the exhibition this semester. Chaz Evans entered three pieces focused on software and electronics into the exhibition before he had even taught a class at DePauw. This will be Evans' first year at DePauw after spending time in the theatre world and at UIC getting his master's.
Because of his background in theatre and performance, Evans enjoys working with multimedia. Although his artwork appears to be focused on software and multimedia, Evans considers media to be the "glue that holds it all together." Evans has three projects on display in the Exhibition. All three are interactive projects, focused on multimedia and utilizing it in a unique fashion.
"I am obsessed with history, particularly the history of technology and software. And John Baldessari is my inspiration. I wanted to do something as a tribute to a project of his I saw in Chicago," Evans said. "It's supposed to be a funny piece with a serious background."
Baldessari is an American conceptual artist that focuses on photography with a unique spin. His most recent works have incorporated text and photography on a painting canvas. Evans is inspired by the combination of artistic forms that Baldessari is known for.
Evans, Miles and Professor John Berry see the exhibition as a way to allow students to see their work and get inspired for the new year. All three professors agree that the show allows them an opportunity to get to know their students outside of the classroom on a different artistic level.
"A good professor does not taint their students with their own preferences, so I tend to not show students my work," Miles said. "I don't want them to think that's the only vehicle for them to get a good grade. It's nice to have an opportunity for them to see my work outside of the classroom."
Berry takes a different approach on the show.
"I have seen students change what classes they want to take because of the show," Berry said, "not necessarily which classes to take, but I have seen students sign up for art classes because of the show - most of them sooner rather than later."
Since students have to declare their majors sophomore year, Berry believes that it is important for the faculty to show what they can do at the beginning of the year.
"I went to the Faculty Art Exhibition when I was a sophomore and loved it," said Elizabeth Young, a senior studio art major. "It was the perfect opportunity for me to see my teachers in a different light. Instead of them focusing on me, I was able to see them as artists rather than teachers."