September 2, 2008

The Akus Gallery builds consensus

This week the biennial faculty exhibition opens at Eastern Connecticut State University, where I've been a full-time faculty member for the past eight years. This year's theme, appropriate for any scrappy art department, is "building consensus." My colleagues include Imna Arroyo, June Bisantz, Lula Mae Blocton, Terry Lennox, Andy Jones, Qimin Liu, Claudia Widdiss, Rebecca Moran Brine, Alexis Callender, Ted Efremoff, Brad Guarino, Patrick Hammie, Tom Hebert, Rolandas Kiaulevicius, Muriel Miller, Jay Nilsen, Afarin Rahmanifar, Jane Rainwater, and Beverly Roy.

"To form, increase, found, construct or strengthen, to create and establish as firm--these are a few of the many definition of the verb 'building,' new Akus Gallery Director Elizabeth Peterson writes in the catalogue's introduction. "But what does it truly mean to build consensus? For a collection of art professors working with individual vision, the notion of “building consensus" may seem an improbable and even undesirable task. They may, and often do, differ greatly in opinion and in methodology, and they draw inspiration from a multitude of disparate sources. What then draws them together? If it is neither style nor movement, neither method nor media, then it is surely a fundamental commitment to the men and women who study in this institution of higher learning. They are building consensus in order to achieve a collective goal of excellence in the visual arts.” The show, as always, reflects the diverse interests of my colleagues, and includes painting, printmaking, graphic design, illustration, animation, sculpture, and video.

Images: I have a couple drawings and one painting in the show. These drawings are part of a series of early studies for the tower paintings from 2007.
The one at the top is a tower in Labac, Austria. At left, the tower from the Air & Space Museum in DC. Ultimately the paintings became more abstract, less representative of specific towers. Pencil on Rives BFK, 7" x 10".

"Building Consensus," organized by Elizabeth Peterson. The Julian Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT. Through October 9. Catalogue available with an introduction by Elizabeth Peterson, essay by Anne Dawson.

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