The University of Montana’s School of Art kicks off the semester by featuring the work of its faculty and Master of Fine Arts students in separate exhibits.
The MFA candidates’ work is on display in the student gallery, which is open for its second year on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building. Multiple mediums are represented in pieces from each of the 13 graduate students.
“The key word is diverse,” said Scott Miller, the student gallery manager and third-year MFA student. “We did not go into this with a theme. Rather, ours is just a representative show of what each of us is doing right now.”
Miller said their work reflects the students’ research as part of the program. First year graduate student, Tressa Jones’ piece combines her previous academic discipline with her current one.
“I’m interested in agriculture and botany, and a lot of my work represents the natural world in that way,” Jones said.
Jones received her undergraduate degree in exercise science at the University of Massachusetts. Her gallery piece titled “Plant Escapes,” is comprised of an etching plate and three wood block prints and mixes traditional symbols of nature with more abstract elements.
The annual faculty exhibition aims at introducing new students to the work of their professors, said gallery director Cathryn Mallory. This year’s body of work falls under a common topic.
“The theme of the show is accumulation/transformation,” Mallory said. “Basically, the faculty was challenged to think about the things they collect.”
Mallory said the theme allows gallery visitors to consider the process of taking an idea and working it into a tangible piece of art. While some of the pieces revolve around a collection of physical items, she said some professors defined accumulation in more abstract terms.
As a collection of work, the exhibit allows viewers to get a glimpse of the artists’ personalities.
“I think it will be surprising to see the other human side of them,” Mallory said. “Not the academic teacher, but the sentimental side of them.”
Mallory’s own collection of used, antique bristle brushes is part of the exhibit, accompanied by another piece of her work.
“I often play with materials and textures just to see what they can do,” she said. “I’ve chosen to highlight my own creative process.”
The school’s art historians will also demonstrate their work with two lectures serving as bookends to the nearly month-long exhibit. The first will be held Thursday, when faculty art historian, Valerie Hedquist, will give her lecture “Miss Linwood’s Picture Gallery in Leicester Square.”
The student exhibit runs through Sept. 19, and the faculty gallery will display until Sept. 25. Opening receptions will be held Thursday.