Those who can, do teach

Published 2:29 pm Thursday, September 9, 2010

The faculty exhibit is underway at Malone Gallery.

Those who give any credence to the old cliché that “those who can do, those who can’t teach,” just haven’t been to the Troy University Faculty Exhibition at Malone Gallery.

Each year, the university’s art department presents either an alumni exhibition or a faculty show. Since it had been several years, since a faculty show, Duane Paxson, gallery director, said a faculty exhibition was in order.

“Those who haven’t had the opportunity to visit the gallery are encouraged to do so,” Paxson said. “It’s an outstanding exhibit that features the varied works of our faculty.”

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The exhibition is a sampling of the artwork done by faculty members. There is no theme to the exhibition, therefore, it is open to the particular interest of the artists and includes sculptures in wood, clay and fiberglass and paintings, furniture, and installations.

Faculty artists are Greg Skaggs, Pam Allen, Larry Percy, Sara Dismukes, Russell Everett, Bob Joslin, Calab Dawson, Beverly West Leach and Paxson.

Much of Skaggs’ imagery in the exhibition comes from his childhood experiences.

“As a child, I loved to play war with the neighborhood children,” Skaggs said. “My Dad was a Marine in the Vietnam War as well as many of my friends and most of us played with the same kit that our fathers brought home from the war. The romantic ideals of Americans defeating the Nazis and cowboys taming the Indians were often re-enacted on the neighborhood battlefields. These childhood memories are happy ones.”
Skaggs said that the images are visual juxtapositions between the innocence of a child and the violence that is created by our modern society.

“In turn, violent tendencies of children are often acted out through play,” he said. “Though not a blatant attempt at pointing out the inconsistencies with our modern culture, these pieces contain conceptual clues that the viewer will be able to recognize and make connections.”
Allen’s “Sense of Place” series started while on sabbatical in 2005, formulating then what she calls a seasonal journey.

“Wanting the paintings to suggest nostalgia, I developed a strong need to visit the past and address the present simultaneously,” Allen said. “I began with four artworks that depict the seasons. Each painting became an exploration of nature and natural occurrences and events associated with the subject.

“They chart memories of places and significant ‘things’ that have strong meaning or absolutely no significance except that I had a compulsory need in include them within the composition.”
Allen said that, categorically landscapes, her works provide the viewer with a true sense of place without depicting representational scenes by traditional means.

For Percy, the faculty exhibition is an opportunity to share his journeys, both physical and philosophical. In essence, his work demonstrates a “sense of place.”

“The four new pieces in the exhibit continue my exploration of the Kerygma Series which I began in 1993,” he said. “Formally, my hope is that the pieces draw the viewer into the same kind of visual and emotional stimuli I encounter on my journeys to the Sangre de Christo Mountains and the Desert Southwest.

“On a much deeper level, each vessel is an exploration into finding that delicate balance we are forced to reconcile between the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our lives. Each form is meant to physically resonate a strong ‘sense of place.’ The colors, textures and voids speak of sacred space, evoking a deep spirit of being. I never tire of this idea of journey and transformation, renewal and redemption.”

Paxson said the Troy University Faculty Exhibition is interesting, exciting, awe inspiring and even a little whimsical.

“On one side of the gallery are Bob Joslin’s outstanding photographs from his African safari and on the other side, you have Sara Dismukes’ vintage photographs of humans with dog heads. It’s an amazing exhibit.”