Every two years, the Western Gallery shows the work of the faculty of the Department of Art & Art History and Department of Design. This is an opportunity to see what these highly respected mentors of upcoming artists have been pursuing in their own studios over the previous couple of years.
The 2017 faculty biennial features new visions of artists working in a variety of media—painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, kinetic work, mixed-media, book art, and video. If anything connects the 18 artists in the show, it is their “abiding love for the well-made object,” as one of the artists put it, and their deep concern with cultural and political issues. The works range widely, from explorations of the medium and processes of art making to the probing of social and existential issues, such as the complexities of queer and trans gender identities; and from evocations of the mysteries of natural forces to studies of ecosystems and global warming. Here the faculty does not deliver lectures but presents thinking though making.
The exhibition presents a cross section of the present faculty, introduces newcomers, and honors a retiring faculty, Professor Elsi Vassdal-Ellis, with a small overview exhibition of her limited edition and unique book works.
A series of noon talks are presented in conjunction with the exhibition.
“Western societal mores come with expectations such as gender roles, heteronormativity, masculinity in boys, and femininity in girls. The way we think about gender has a long list of deeply embedded microaggressions: “don’t be a girl”, “man up”, “she’s a bitch”, “that’s gay”. The list goes on, including less obvious phrases and actions. What exactly do they mean? And upon reflection, how do they confuse an adolescent trying to define their gender or sexuality?”
Joshua McDevitt received MFA from The University of Iowa.