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Faculty art exhibit explores looking at the past as inspiration for the future

  • Photo from exhibit.
  • Photo from exhibit.
  • Photo from exhibit

Posted on February 05, 2019

It is not an uncommon practice for artists to reflect on previous artwork, methods and practice to help inspire future ideas, direction and work.

Multiple Visual and Media Arts faculty members are illustrating this process through the “Reflect-Revive-Reshape” exhibit on display in Grand Valley’s Art Gallery through March 29. The gallery is located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts on the Allendale Campus.

The exhibit features work by Dellas Henke, Anthony Thompson, Hoon Lee and Brett Colley, who all recently completed sabbaticals, which served as a time for creative exploration in their respective fields of study.

“Each artist’s work is displayed alongside evidence of their process, opening the door to greater understanding of their work and allowing opportunity for teaching their field of study,” said Joel Zwart, curator of exhibitions.

Colley, associate professor of drawing, printmaking and foundations, is displaying a new collection of work, including 12 digital posters, 13 preparatory drawings for the posters and dozens of unframed prints. The posters celebrate humankind’s struggle against injustice.

“It’s rare that a political poster is celebratory, and when it is, it almost always focuses on a small canon of male individuals, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mandela, Ghandi, or Che Guevara,” said Colley. “Rather than present another exclusive set of heroes, I hoped to bring to life successful moments in the history of social justice with this series of images.”

Thompson, professor of photography, spent his sabbatical extending his body of work titled “Reverse Alchemy” – prints made in the polymer photogravure process, which combines photography and printmaking.

“Faculty don’t get many opportunities to show their personal artwork at their home institution; it is usually shown at others,” said Thompson. “Exhibition at home allows for more dialogue within one’s own community, and the work from the other artists in the exhibition is really amazing and inspiring.”

Lee, associate professor of ceramics, is showcasing a body of work that includes seven new ceramics pieces representing the culmination of ideas developed during a trip to India five years ago.

Henke, professor of printmaking, spent his sabbatical collaborating with professionals and Grand Valley alumni to create drawings and etchings to illustrate Franz Kafka’s book, In the Penal Colony — a story of abuse of power and authority.

For more information about the exhibit, visit the Art Gallery website.