JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald
Even art teachers, when given the opportunity to show their own work in their own exhibit, can’t help but diffuse some knowledge in the process. But for “The Raw and the Cooked” at Fort Lewis College, that’s exactly what they were asked to do. This is a case of “Do as I say and as I do.”
The exhibit is the first for the 2012-13 academic year and gallery director Elizabeth Gand wanted this show to set a good example. She invoked the “Wizard of Oz” magic-behind-the-curtain analogy by introducing the show to about 50 onlookers at Thursday’s opening.
“This show is about artistic research,” Gand said. “I wanted to show not just a pristine finished product, but the creative process behind it. Does it work to include a $10 thrift store desk in here? I think so – it creates a sense of the studio in the gallery without losing the aesthetic of the gallery.”
The desk to which she referred was part of professor Amy Wendland’s investigation into The Pilgrim’s Progress. Wendland has completely deconstructed John Bunyan’s 17th-century religious allegory, and her extensive research is plastered all over the wall. Her finished product, which is taking on opus proportions, is a long way off, but there are enough drawings and bas-relief woodcuts to hint at an artistic and academic masterpiece to come.
There are 11 instructor/teacher/professors represented, and each display shows why each is on the FLC art faculty. Their talent as artists is apparent, and this show allows them the rare opportunity to show it off outside the classroom. Some of the more interactive displays include notebooks, sketchbooks and equipment such as paints and brushes.
Assistant Professor Jay Dougan teaches three-dimensional techniques such as sculpture and ceramics, and examples of each are on display. His finished ceramic vessels and models of playground equipment, all precision high-quality products, are accompanied by his original sketches.
“I’m a big believer in graph paper – I love graph paper,” Dougan said.
The most hands-on display is Art Department Chairwoman Susan Moss’ sewing corner. Her embroidered tapestries hang on the walls and viewers are invited to sit in a big comfy chair and try their hand at it themselves: There’s an array of needles, threads and all the necessary books to help even a beginner get the idea.
“When Elizabeth came up with the idea for ‘The Raw and the Cooked,’ I said, ‘what a great idea’; then I realized it would involve me,” Moss joked during the opening festivities.
Also generating several looks from Friday’s crowd was Associate Professor Paul Booth’s colorful display of bicycle prints. The avid cyclist spent some time in downtown Durango and asked cyclists a simple question: “Why do you ride?” Each answer, which ranged from the simplistic – “Because I lost my license” – to the esoteric – “I ride because with graceful complicity, they take me anywhere my heart leads me” – was printed on a card with an image of a bicycle, color-coded by mountain bike, road bike, cruiser, etc.
“I love cycling, so the question was easy, and the inspiration for how to show it came from the old Tour de France posters, which were very small in the early years,” Booth said.
There are 11 faculty members exhibiting in “The Raw and the Cooked” covering just about every artistic medium imaginable (in such a limited space, anyway).
The others are Associate Professor Chad Colby (painting/collage); Adjunct Instructor Lindsay Ellis (digital prints); visiting instructor Barbara Tobin Klema (drawings and watercolors); Assistant Professor Anthony Holmquist (intaglio prints); visiting instructor Andrea Martens (printmaking, many on flower petals – very cool); visiting instructor Lorna Meaden (soda-fired porcelain); visiting instructor and Durango Herald columnist and cartoonist Judith Reynolds (political cartoons).