SF State art class to host Art Faculty Exhibition from ground up

SF State

Centa Schumacher and grad student Sarah Kimmerle hang a print, "Untitled (Curtain)," by Matt Lipps, assistant professor, for the Art Faculty Exhibition in the Fine Arts Gallery. Photo by Deborah Svoboda.

The half-empty room is itself a blank canvas. The white walls wait as they are slowly transformed into a broader work of art with the political, surrealist, contemporary and abstract works of others.

Still waiting lay the more curious pieces ready to be plugged in, assembled or inflated.

Art Faculty Exhibition 

When: Sept. 25 to Oct. 18; Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Fine Arts Gallery

Cost: Free to SF State students and the public

Opening night will feature an original dance performance and short film screenings.

Adorning the walls of the Fine Arts Gallery are works created by faculty members. The art majors and grad students of SF State are in the process of preparing for the Art Faculty Exhibition of 2012. The event is organized, set up and managed by students of the exhibition and design class.

The class of 30 students has been tasked with putting on a professional-grade fine art exhibition in less than one month’s time and will open Sept. 25. Classes meet every Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and with only two more six-hour periods left until the reception, the students are getting a crash course in what professors affectionately call hands-on experience.

“We teach art but come at it from a variety of perspectives,” said Mark Johnson, who has taught the exhibition and design class for 18 years.

Johnson hopes the exhibition will accurately represent the art department’s vision and communicate what the faculty hope to teach their students.

“It’s about passioned expression and developing skills,” Johnson said.

The exhibition will consist of 25 pieces created by 12 tenured and tenure-track faculty members. Despite the seemingly manageable number of works, the pieces themselves are extremely eclectic in style and represent different mediums including paintings, textiles, photography, ceramics, printmaking, multimedia installation and one 26-foot inflatable Buddha.

“Time is not intimidating,” Edgar Micua, an art history major enrolled in the upper-division course, said.It’s a great working experience and we want to succeed.”

The diversity of the works adds an extra challenge to installation. Students have to hang paintings, install speakers and allocate room for sculptures and carvings, all the while making sure that the correct lighting complements each piece.

“We’re working with real artwork with real value,” Sarah Kimmerle, a grad student pursuing a master of art’s degree in museum studies, said. “We want to respect the objects and respect the jobs we’ve been given.”

Kimmerle, along with some of the other grad students in the class, already have professional experience in the art world and with art installation. Kimmerle noticed an important difference between the professional world and her time as a grad student.

“It’s a learning environment,” she said. “This class is teaching us to be more flexible and you feel like you can ask more questions.”

Kimmerle is also the operational manager of installation for the exhibition, and she says the experience has been demanding and rewarding.

“There’s an organized chaos,” she said. “Here (we are) constantly sharing ideas, and everything is going really smoothly.”

The department’s faculty artists and art historians will give talks throughout the exhibition. Each talk will encompass the artist’s work and the art historian’s particular area of expertise and knowledge.

Perhaps the most crucial goal of the students and faculty is to get the word out around campus and the community that SF State has a thriving art community.

“We are doing all this because we want students to know we have multiple art galleries on campus,” Monika Jones, another grad student and operations manager of the exhibition, said. “All you see from the outside are buildings, and we’re trying to bring people in.”

The opening reception on Sept. 25 will also feature a dance performance with original choreography by Ray Tadio and Cathleen McCarthy. Cinema faculty short films will be screened, and will include works by Jennifer Hammett, Britta Sjogren, Martha Gorzycki and others.

The exhibition will run through Oct. 18 and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free to SF State students and the public.

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