The artistic practices of Southern Oregon University’s employees aren’t limited to the Oregon Center for the Arts.
Over the weekend, The Center for Visual Arts opened an exhibition showcasing art from SOU staff, faculty, and administration. Appropriately titled, “I Show Work at Work” the show “seeks to provide an opportunity for non-student employees across SOU to exhibit their artistic practice, no matter what the medium,” according to CVA Galleries Facebook page.
Although one might expect the show to be proliferated with work from the Visual Arts department, the exhibition represents a variety of academic departments, such as Theatre, Emerging Media and Digital Arts, English, and Business, not to mention staff who can be found in Academic Advising, University Housing, Facilities, and Student Life. Even Kay Swader, the Stevenson Union Building Manager, shares stunningly bright macro photographs of plant life. Thomas Fuhrmark, the spouse and assistant to the University President, showcases a large, energetic oil painting of a dynamically lit jazz performance.
Mediums range from photography, to painting, to mixed media, all the way down to a detailed and fun crochet sculpture appropriately titled, Good Minion/Bad Minion by Barbara Henson, the Academic Advising Office Coordinator. The cultural references don’t stop there, as behind the two foot tall minions hangs a wall length quilt, Super Mario and Friends, which stitches together bright, pixelated icons from the original game.
Explorations in abstraction are shown beside these vibrant, illustrative textiles. Scott Malbaurn’s Two Sheets, a stark minimalist piece, explores depth and white space, alongside Deborah Rosenburg’s The End and the Beginning, a chalk pastel piece filled with patterns and imagery that draw viewers into a surreal world.
Thomas Arce’s mixed media piece, La Guerra / The War represents the struggle surrounding identity, gender, and nationality using poetic symbolism. Kenny MacLellan’s untitled (tiles) also uses poetry to convey meaning using blocks of harmonizing color and text.
There are several multi-media pieces with moving parts and unexpected objects beyond description, including a colorful disco ball that hangs below a massive print of planet Earth, A Breath of Fresh Air by Kyle Peets. James Peck’s Bocasas, is a sculptural portrait impossible to ignore, as it ejects itself into space with cool layered planes that are strangely calming alongside a pair of wild, erratic eyes.
Needless to say, the Center for Visual Arts put together a show that reflects the uniquely diverse nature of the voices, talents, and experiences of SOU faculty, administration, and staff, and is worth a quick trip to the second floor of the Stevenson Union between classes.