By Terryn Kelly
The creations of art professors are on display in the Tyson Gallery at the Townsend Library through Sept. 30.
The name of the exhibit this year is Modern Art History and includes paintings, sculptures and other art forms.
Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes explained why the faculty display their works with such pride.
“Art educators are expected and desired to be both artists and teachers,” Barnes said. “They expect and want to demonstrate expertise in the discipline, and it demonstrates to our students the professional qualities and expectations needed to be a professional artist.”
He also said that “we try to present a UMHB faculty exhibition at least every two years. This year’s UMHB faculty exhibit showcases current works by our distinguished artists/teachers; art is a body of richness that contributes to the richness of our culture.”
Barnes also has art on display titled “Mixed Media Collage.” He said the inspiration for his pieces come from many places.
“I work with ideas based on paradox, and working with found collage materials seems appropriate,” Barnes said.
Concerning his motives for inspiration, he said, “I come from a background in advertising design and popular culture, so found graphic design or typographic images relate to my overall conceptual ideas and aesthetic.”
Professor Barbara Fontaine-White has taught in the art department since 1998 and has been involved in the faculty art shows.
Two of her pieces on display feature Billie Holiday and Rosa Parks and are part of “a series based on the lives of American women and their accomplishments,” she said.
“I chose Billie Holiday because she was a pioneer jazz/vocal performer who achieved great success despite many hardships, including a harsh childhood and later drug and alcohol abuse.”
Fontaine-White showed great interest in other historical icons, also.
“Rosa Parks served as an important catalyst for the modern Civil Rights Movement. The actual photo fragment I used depicts one of the Civil Rights marches supporting the 381-day Montgomery bus boycott,” she said.
Professor Helen Kwiatkowski has a colorful painting on display titled “The Heart Remembers Everything,” which is part of “The Little Helen Series.”
“Originally all the paintings in the series were done using photographs from my childhood, and the content was all memory based,” Kwiatkowski said. “Over the past 10 years, the content has evolved into a fusion of fact and fiction and addresses things I am confused about, concerned about and amused by.”
Professor Phil Dunham contributed two pieces titled “Blue Vase” and “Grey Vase.”
As for his creative process, he said, “I’ll just start and not really know what will happen until I am in the action of making.”
Professor and Department of Art Chairperson Hershall Seals said his work titled “Denny Pickett Said, I’m Home Free,” was influenced by someone close.
“He was a friend of mine who had taught here for a while as well as at Baylor. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and underwent a brain surgery to put in some electrodes, which was supposed to help him with the Parkinson’s but instead resulted in an infection.”
With sorrow in his voice, Seals remembered how his friend inspired him by going through what most cannot even imagine.
“He knew he was going to die, but he died with dignity and without fear,” he said. “I wanted to honor his courage. That is what I wanted to convey in this piece.”