Photos by Laura VonKampen
Assistant Professor of Art Seth Boggs speaks about his pieces at the opening for the biennial Concordia Faculty Art Exhibit on Jan. 13.
by April Bayer
Concordia’s latest faculty art show recently opened in the Marxhausen Gallery of Art and features work from five art professors, showcasing works in a variety of media and styles.
The faculty show is a biennial event and gives students an opportunity to learn about the creative processes behind their professors’ work. This year’s show features photography, ceramics, multimedia prints, woodcuts, oil paintings, collages and collaborative mixed media pieces.
“As a student, it’s really good to get advice and instruction on our pieces formally and on the technical side of things,” senior Micah Symmank said. “When our professors are talking to us about that, then we start to see a little bit of what they’re interested in conceptually. So this art show is a really good way to see that conceptual side (of their work) represented.”
On Sunday, Jan. 13, students and community members gathered in the Marxhausen Gallery to listen to the artists discuss their work.
Assistant Professor Aaron Nix began by discussing his series of black-and-white portraits, titled “Truth.” He used natural light and minimal editing to capture the profiles and facial expressions of several models, many of whom could be recognized as students and staff from around campus.
“If I go back in time and think about that project, a lot of the things I was reading about (and) thinking about had to do with faith and the observance of truth in our lives and moments in our lives where truth comes in and we’re forced to have a reaction to it,” Nix said. “Some of the portraits I took, I had an idea that inspired my casting choice, (and) sometimes my casting choice inspired my idea. I tried to be fluid with how I took the photographs, not really coming in with an idea set in stone.”
Assistant Professor of Art Justin Groth continued the discussion by explaining his process as a maker of art and the inspiration behind his series of ceramics, a group of curved sculptures encased in stained glass and painted wood, which is meant to influence how the viewer perceives the form of the clay itself.
“(I was thinking about) these juxtapositions that I observe, that I put in my mind—clay and conflict, the natural, the man-made, how these things play out in our lives, how these things come together in art, just those sort of tensions,” Groth said.
Assistant Professor of Art Seth Boggs spoke about his series of colorful prints featuring letters and images of Baroque statues titled “Enunciation, Intonation, Articulation, Modulation.” He created the pieces using a series of digital prints, screen prints, relief prints and spray paint. He also displayed the woodcuts of letters of the alphabet he carved and used in the project.
“It’s mixing sort of traditional printing media with technology, and I’m really trying to create a bridge between my interests in graphic design and my interest in studio art,” Boggs said.
Professor of Art Don Robson, chairman of the art department, and alumna Laura Sattler talked about the collaboration process for their series of mixed media pieces. Sattler completed a series of charcoal landscape drawings and mailed them to Robson, who would add colorful letters and various abstract shapes, each piece representing a different letter of the alphabet. The pair began the project while Sattler was still a student at Concordia and continued the project over the next two years, even while Sattler was living in Wisconsin after graduation.
Robson said the collaboration was challenging but rewarding for him.
“Probably, for me, the most important thing about these pieces is getting to work with Laura,” Robson said. “Artists can do that anywhere, but I would say one of the things that I really love about (Concordia) is because we are small and because we are Christ-centered, I think it’s maybe easier to have that kind of working relationship not only with your colleagues but with students.”
Professor of Art James Bockelman, director of the Marxhausen Gallery of Art, concluded the art talks with a discussion of his oil paintings and collages, which were meant to be studies of color.
“My interest in color is that I don’t want it to be a decorative element that I put on at the end. I want it to be at the very beginning. That’s part of my interest,” Bockelman said. “Why abstraction? I think there are things I’ve experienced in my life that I want to get ahold of somehow.”
The faculty show will be on display in the Marxhausen Gallery until Feb. 8. To learn more about the exhibit, visit Concordia’s website.