Biennial exhibition fosters artistic connection
It’s hard to imagine a setting where Scott Parsons’ life-size mosaics, Anna Reich’s visceral photos of war and Lindsay Twa’s prints featuring the country of India could combine into one cohesive art exhibit.
But that blending of style and form is exactly what attendees will experience at Augustana’s Eide/Dalrymple Gallery today through Dec. 15.
The Faculty Biennial Exhibition takes place in the gallery every two years, featuring current work from art department faculty. In addition to Twa, Parsons and Reich, the exhibit showcases pieces by professors Gerry Punt and Tom Shields, along with the work of gallery coordinator John Peters and alumni artist-in-residence Chad Nelson. Carl Grupp and Steve Thomas are also involved as emeritus professors.
Twa, who serves as the gallery’s director, said though the pieces in the exhibit are as diverse as the artists themselves, the main thrust of the Biennial Exhibition is about perspective.
“We’re not just teacher-scholars,” Twa said. “We’re also scholar-artists. Overseeing classrooms isn’t solely what we do—our teaching informs our pieces and vice versa.”
On Sunday night a team of senior art majors helped to set up and design the exhibit. Then worked through the week to arrange the pieces, install lighting and label each item in the gallery. Noah Fisher and Carl Norquist were two of those seniors.
Norquist said all graduating art majors are required to set up the galleries each semester in order to prepare them for their senior show in the spring.
“It’s been a good learning experience,” Norquist said. “It’s similar to what we’ll have to do for the senior show, taking all these different pieces and making sure they work together in one show.”
Twa said featuring so many artists with vastly different talents is the most challenging part of her job.
“Profiling one artist is challenging in itself, but when you put nine different artists’ work into one exhibit it gets hard to accommodate everything,” she said. “They could each fill this space on their own, but we want to do our best to make the show what it should be.”
For Reich, the exhibit is an opportunity to spur community-building through art.
A photography professor in her second year at Augustana, Reich’s work centers on war and its aftereffects. They are portraits of bravery and agony, victory and defeat captured on film that Reich said she hopes give viewers insight into both the lives of war veterans and survivors of horrors like the Holocaust.
The viewer of these pieces becomes immediately engaged in another person’s life—a connection is formed. And even though his work is a world away from Reich’s, Parsons agreed that art at the basic level is about connection.
Connecting to Parson’s sculpture and mosaic work doesn’t just occur in the Eide/Dalrymple gallery, in fact, it probably happens every day. Parsons designed and created the mosaic in the Humanities atrium, along with the Froiland Science Center’s new pendulum. While most of Parsons’ work is installed in permanent locations, it will be on display through photos and a video at the gallery.
Essentially, the Biennial Faculty Exhibition is a celebration—connecting the private and public realms of an artist’s work one sculpture, photo or ceramic vase at a time.
“This isn’t just a gallery,” Parsons said. “It’s a celebration of years of work. We use this setting as a way to talk about what we do. It’s all about making connections.”