Friday night was the opening reception for the Faculty Exhibition in the Lord Hall Gallery, where work from about half of the art department faculty was put on display.
With the gallery constantly changing, the opening night is always a great way to get the artists and the public together for an evening to talk and learn more about each piece.
Laurie Hicks, professor of art and the gallery’s curator, said each new exhibition has a similar opening, but that it’s not the best time to examine the work.
“Each exhibition has an opening of some kind to mark the occasion, [but] it is a difficult time to look at the artwork,” Hicks said, adding that “most people come back” and take a look at each piece in more detail. Opening nights are great but can also be busy and distracting to the viewers.
Upon entering the gallery, your eyes immediately catch a large wooden structure in the back of the room. It is a large work of art comprised of split wood formed into artful piles held together and sturdy by slate.
Greg Ondo, assistant professor of art, talked about his piece providing observers a “feeling of good — good energy and good emotion.” Ondo’s goal was to create a piece of art with positive energy.
“Being in Maine, it’s a material easy to relate to,” Ondo said about the wooden structure. With winter right around the corner, seeing split wood artistically formed for the eye rather than in a pile for burning is a comforting alternative.
Just right of the large, strong work of art made from wood hangs a more delicate piece made from synthetic hair. Associate professor of art Andy Maury works mostly with hair, including human hair, animal hair and other synthetic hair.
Maury had two pieces of work on display: one tied into a noose and one tied into a money braid. Both pieces were displayed with scissors, which nearly suggests someone has just rid themselves of the heavy burden of so much hair. Using hair, Maury said, “portray[ed] physically and morally reinventing yourself.” She said it also deals with aging, and how women generally hold onto their hair as a safety blanket, an image of beauty that fairytales have provided girls since their youth.
Hicks suggests that most of the faculty created their art while “pushing something new in their research.” This was seen in Constant Alberston’s various works of ceramics that were strategically scattered throughout the gallery. Alberston is a professor of art and art education.
Her largest ceramic piece portrayed the head of St. Ursula, a fourth-century princess and British Christian Saint. After coming upon the story of St. Ursula, which involved a pilgrimage with 11,000 virgins who were killed by the Huns during their voyage, Albertson found that her art took after her research as she continued to become more intrigued by the story.
She referred to her ceramics that complement the bust of St. Ursula as relics: some were diaries, bones and birds. She had a theme of dead birds all around the gallery because, she explained, birds are symbolized as messengers in mythology. Then she asked, “but what if they’re all dead?”
The faculty exhibition will be on display until Nov. 21. A new exhibition will be on display shortly after. Exhibitions include graduate student work, senior art projects, outside artists and general student art shows.