Celebrating work, successes of faculty

Faculty art exhibition celebrates 10-year anniversary of gallery

Emma Corry

Director of Kenneth P. McCutchan Art Center and Palmina F. and Stephen S. Pace Galleries
Brett Anderson displayed his work at the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries in the lower level of the Liberal Arts building.

Anderson, an assistant professor of art, uses his interest in art history, popular visual culture, comic books, mythology and graphic novels to make it feel like multiple things are happening at the same time in his art. His displayed art includes both finished pieces and artist’s proofs. Anderson plans on making some of the proofs into full-color pieces.

“Seeing the black and white proof is interesting both for myself, but also for my students to know that not everything has to be as heavily developed as color images,” Anderson said.

Anderson is one of many faculty artists displaying their work in the USI Art and Design Faculty Exhibition in the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries.

The exhibition features 16 pieces from different full-time and adjunct art professors. Anderson has worked at USI for six years, but this is his first academic year as the director of the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries. He is taking over the position of director from former director, Interim Chair of Art and Design Katie Waters, who is retiring at the end of the year.

“There are a lot of moving parts in the gallery and you need to know to navigate the space well. We work with special events, we work with entities on campus that might want to use the space for meetings, we work with procurement in order to set up the receptions,” Anderson said. “And figuring out how to do all that is like taking on any new job and having somebody who came and took me through it has been great.”

Faculty members submitted their pieces over a period of time during winter break last semester. Most of the faculty had access to the gallery and could drop off their work.

Anderson installed the works for the show with help from his assistant, student teacher Tonya Lance, who staged the show, and student gallery workers who helped hang the show. The faculty usually has a show biannually, but this academic year represents the 10th anniversary of the gallery being on campus.

“I think that within that time frame celebrating the work that the faculty does in an important component of celebrating the ten year anniversary,” Anderson said. “I think our students are keenly aware of us as artists and art makers and not just teachers. And I think they’re really interested in how active and how enthusiastic we out about our work.”

Anderson said it’s good for the department to occasionally take time to celebrate the scholastic research the faculty does.

“I think it’s a way for the university community, the students, the faculty outside the area and the larger community to see the work that the faculty produces and how that influences both what they teach and the media areas they teach,” he said.

Rob Millard-Mendez, a professor of art, displays a sculpture titled, “Blood Vessel.” This red sculpture portrays a “War of the Worlds” inspired monster attached to the bottom of a conquistador ship.

“It’s this giant imperialist creature hiding under what seems like a tiny little boat,” Millard-Mendez said.

He said it’s good for students to see the work of faculty so students can recognize faculty as artists as well as teachers.

“If you ever feel like this isn’t 100 percent of what I’m doing, that’s because it is not 100 percent of what I’m doing,” Millard-Mendez said. “It’s good for students to see that we have our own ideas, and we’re going through some of the same problems and questions and issues that they have and we’re not just like, coming in and not practicing what we preach.”

Anderson said the faculty show, if not a safe space, is an opportunity for faculty to display more recent work that they may have been hesitant about showing in a larger venue.

“The show allows the faculty to experiment with what they’ve been working with,” Anderson said. “I want (students) to understand the time and dedication work involved that the faculty that they work with put in. I know I did it as an undergraduate, and even sometimes with my colleagues, I get so caught up with thinking about the ends of the educational environment I kind of forget that the reason I’m studying with them is because they’re experts in their fields and they’re passionate about what they’re doing.”