It is rare that students ever get to see their teachers’ work in the subject they are teaching, but for the visual arts students at UNCG, this is a reality. This past week introduced the UNCG Faculty Biennial Collection. This collection features various art forms all created by visual art faculty at UNCG. On Friday both faculty and students alike went to see the work their teachers and colleagues have done.
The first piece that struck me when seeing this collection was an oil on canvas by Mariam Aziza Stephan, who is a painting professor. This particular work is entitled “Explosions & Falls,” and is done all in black and gray tones, making it appear shadowy and ominous. The focus point of the painting is a wrecked boat on what must be the ocean. The painting has many sharp images of wood and splinters coming from the boat. The splinters of wood extend out past the boat, making it look like it may have collided with another boat. This painting achieves a sense of discomfort, but it is also very intriguing to look at because one immediately wants to know what happened in the painting.
Another piece I found appealing was one by Michael Ananian entitled “Communitas.” Ananian is also a painting professor at UNCG. This painting features the casual setting of a man sitting on a stool playing the banjo. This features multiple mundane objects like Coke and liquor bottles. Along with the banjo the man is playing, there are three other banjos leaning against a stool on the opposite side of the room. This painting uses the effect of shadows and multiple layers of paint to give it a three-dimensional look. When admiring it, one can see the paint jump off the canvas. One can also see the detail of the artist’s swift strokes. These features give the painting a rough texture along with a sort of fuzzy look to it.
One of the faculty members, Lee Walton, who is a professor of New Media and Design, printmaking and drawing, was featured in this collection. His drawing is entitled “Just Passing Through.” This piece is simple, making it draw attention to its clean black lines. It is not a framed piece of artwork, but instead it looks as if it was pasted onto the wall. This drawing takes on the features of a map. It has the outline of a building and then a line going through the building. On one side of the line it says “One Place,” and on the other side of the line it says “Another.” At the bottom of the drawing it says “For the duration of this exhibition, when going from one place to another, and whenever possible, I will pass through The Weatherspoon Art Museum rather than walk around it.” This piece is very profound and makes one think about ways they can go through places instead of avoiding them by just going around.
The interesting thing about all the pieces in this collection is that they were done either this year or the past year, making these pieces the most recent projects by the professors. The collection features many artists of many different specialties. It is inspiring to see professors who work so hard to teach and lead students, and to have a chance to display their own work and be recognized not only as professors, but as artists.
This collection will be at the Weatherspoon Art Museum on the bottom floor until Dec. 3, so there is plenty of time to see these intriguing pieces of art.