by NATHANIEL NELSON
The faculty in Winona State University’s (WSU) art and design department are presenting their biennial faculty exhibition at the Paul Watkins Art Gallery this month, giving students and the public a chance to see what the professors do in their own home studios.
Five full-time faculty members and three adjunct professors will display select work through December 14, varying from photography, to pottery, to paintings and even digital pastiche work.
“It’s a window into what our art and design faculty are doing,” explained Roger Boulay, art and design professor and art gallery coordinator. “They’re often interested in what teachers are making and it gives them the chance to have dialogue about what that is.”
Boulay explained that the faculty exhibition is one of many shows placed in the gallery each year. Watkins typically hosts five or six different visiting artists a year, which sometimes feature a single artist and sometimes three or more. It also showcases senior exhibitions in the spring, along with a juried student showcase and smaller projects.
“We want to find a balance between bringing people with interesting takes from outside of campus to campus and featuring artists on campus and locally,” Boulay said, adding that the exhibits are curated to both fit in with and work against students’ curriculums.
“The faculty show fits into that in an interesting way,” Boulay explained. “It shows artist at different points in their career, some more commercial in their formats, and it brings different creative models to students.”
Each of the eight featured artists show a wildly different approach to their craft. Boulay himself is showcasing two photographs shot at old military bases, while design professor ChunLok Mah is displaying a fractured traditional painting. Professor Seho Park has several of his abstract paintings on display, and Deborah Eve Lombard chose a surrealist drawing featuring mylar and other mixed-media in its materials. Assistant professor Daniel Bojic’s work is an installation work, combining projections with lettering, and the wall is lined with three-dimensional pop art of assistant professor Alessandra Sulpy.
Boulay explained that as a student himself, he always wondered about what kind of works his professors produced. For example, what if he hated their work but loved them as a teacher?
“This show is meant to fulfill that itch,” Boulay said.
But for the teachers themselves, the exhibition works on another level entirely –– it gives them a chance to get away from their work responsibilities for a moment and focus on the art itself.
“It’s easy to get caught up in all the aspects of the job, and this is a good way to facilitate your own studio practice for a time,” Boulay explained.
The WSU faculty exhibition will be on display through December 14 at Watkins Hall,175 West Mark Street, Winona, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, contact Roger Boulay at 507-457-5532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.