A number of new faculty members featured their work at the Art and Design Faculty Creative Research Triennial.
Jeff Van Kleeck, University Art Gallery coordinator, said that while most people don’t think about art as research, it is an important part of faculty development. It can also take a good deal of time, which is why the show only happens once every three years.
The show had a variety of mediums including glass sculptures of sea creatures, photos, paintings, aroma art and a variety of multimedia pieces. Art and design faculty chair Sky Bergman said the diversity of mediums reflects the diversity of the faculty. Bergman said this year’s show was particularly interesting because of the number of new faculty who had work on display. While many of the faculty members do show their work locally, it can be hard to see everyone’s work, Bergman said. It’s nice to have a venue on campus to show their work, she added.
One of the new department members who showed their work is full-time lecturer Brian Priest, who has two multimedia sculptures.
One of his pieces titled “LAX Shaman” was a video display split in half with two men sitting next to each other on one side of the screen and a static, lit-up Ferris wheel on the other. Priest said he edited the video together while he was on a day trip from Indiana to California in order to get a grain of sand. The two men were meditating together in the Los Angeles Airport terminal.
“They were sitting next to each other as if they were on the ride,” he said.
Priest said the Ferris wheel’s lights had a spiritual element to them and that the motion of the wheel was very similar to meditation.
Priest shot the video near to closing time when the wheel had stopped spinning but the lights were still on.
He said he likes for his viewers to have an immediate response to his works. His philosophy can be seen in his other piece at the exhibit, an audio clip of him reciting every entry in a Dollar Store Webster’s dictionary.
“I liked that you could buy the English language for a dollar,” he said.
Bergman said the show is a good way for students to get to know the faculty members better.
“It’s important for students to know that we are working artists,” she said.
Seeing the actual pieces of art is important, because the physicality of the work is much different from seeing them on the computer, she added.
Michael Miller, a professor of studio art who has been at Cal Poly for more than 12 years, said that the faculty research show is a way for faculty members to evolve their work and show off the new directions they are exploring.
Miller showed two watercolors done on vellum, a very thin material. He played around with his pieces and painted on both sides of the material in order to capture light in different ways. He is now working with a similar technique by painting the wall behind the vellum and letting the color show through
Within Cal Poly, the art department might not seem as important as some of the larger programs, but Cal Poly has a great reputation in the design world, Bergman said. This exhibit is just one of many that allows the department to showcase their talent to students, fellow faculty and the university as a whole.