Faculty unveils different expressions of family in new exhibit

Freshman Chemistry major David Leon (above) admires a piece from the Art Department’s latest exhibit.  (Tim Lee / Photo Editor)
Freshman chemistry major David Leon admires Ruane Miller’s ‘Desert Messenger.’ (Tim Lee / Photo Editor)

The Art Department debuted its first gallery exhibit of the year entitled, “Family,” Wednesday Sept. 9 in Holman Hall. It will run through Oct. 14.

Professors of the department contributed their personal works from various mediums including photography, video and painting.

Only a few of the pieces actually featured faculty members’ families, such as professor of photography Justin James Reed’s digital prints of his wife and child,  entitled “Michele.”

Many pieces relied on different interpretations of family, delving into unconventional ideas of relation. For example, professor of digital and fine arts Ruane Miller’s digital painting entitled “Desert Messenger,” drew on nature for inspiration to demonstrate its connection with humanity.

Drawing professor Kenneth Kaplowitz, a 29-year member of the Art Department, produced four digital prints depicting various ideas of family, including the biblical picture of dysfunction, “Cain and Abel” and “The Shower,” centered on the Holocaust. Each of the prints took three to four weeks to complete and were his first and only drafts, Kaplowitz said.

A series of photographs entitled, “Doppelgangers” by professor of digital arts Stefan Abrams depicted four pairs of friends to suggest that family doesn’t necessarily refer to blood relation.

In addition to introducing new perspectives of family, the exhibit provided a chance for students to see their professors’ specialties beyond the classroom.

“It’s good to see a final project,” said senior biology major Kim O’Keefe. “I had Miller when ‘Desert Messenger’ was just a work in progress.”

Not every work contributed was a faculty produced long-term project. Art Department chair Anita Allyn created “Inheritance” specifically for the exhibit.

Using various materials, including a series of vases from her home that she painted white, Allyn created the background for a pop-art-style projection.

“It’s about the passing cycle of letting go,” Allyn explained. “I believe it’s very important that the students see what inspires the faculty. An exhibit like this shows another layer of these tremendous, outstanding artists.”

The exhibit is a part of this year’s campus-wide theme of family. Every year the College picks a theme, which each department expresses differently. The art gallery is one of the first venues of the year.

“It’s fun to be the kickoff of this type of cross-campus dialogue,” gallery director Sarah Cunningham said. “This is our way of reaching out to the other departments. Here we can create discussion on how to improve the idea of family and possibly even enable others to look beyond what we take for granted on a daily basis.”

“Family” is the first of many exhibits from the Art Department this year. Coming soon will be an exhibit featuring Mexican art.