Faculty displays pieces

Faculty displays pieces

Faculty displays pieces

As a resource to the students and faculty of Missouri Southern, the art department is displaying faculty artwork in the Spiva Art Gallery through the rest of today.

“There’s such a variety,” said Val Christensen, associate professor of art. “I think there’s a little bit for everybody.

Lined with paintings, photographs and other forms of artwork, the gallery serves as a quiet place to see the faculty’s talent.

“The gallery is a resource for our students,” Christensen said. “And it causes the students to ask questions, and causes them to talk about the work, as well as the whole idea of art, which is why they’re here, no matter which direction they’re going.”

Normally, anyone may display his or her artwork in the gallery, but this exhibit focused on Southern’s faculty. With nine participants, Christensen said he was happy with the turnout.

“It’s been several years since we had a faculty art show,” he said. “Last year, we had such a large number of new faculty we asked them to exhibit in the gallery.

“Actually, this show does duplicate a lot of that.”

Christensen said there are twice as many participants in this year’s display. Several of the art exhibits are priced, some costing up to $1,100. But the prices were not meant for customers.

“It’s a part of the educational process to give the students some idea in terms of artwork and pricing,” Christensen said. “A lot of the questions I get from students in the gallery are about pricing, which is surprising. And, there are a lot of comments in that regard.”

Donna Pooley, senior studio art major, said the artwork is something to admire.

“I think it’s great to see the instructors’ work,” she said. “I enjoy seeing their perspective and it gives students a goal to strive for.

“It shows us what professional work is like.”

Some pieces of artwork were contributed from retired University art professor Jim Bray. His charcoal drawings brought back memories to Christensen.

“He would take his drawing classes down to the train depot, because of the very interesting architecture, and while he was there, he would draw as well to demonstrate to students,” Christensen said. “The train depot is by the post office [in Joplin], it’s abandoned now, but really a jewel in architecture.

“He still likes to participate and he stays on top of what’s going on in the department and different activities that we have.”

Nicholas Kyle, associate professor of art, brought some color to the gallery with acrylics and his mixed-media pieces which use nails as part of the art.

“I think putting my artwork on display lets other people look at it, to see if it actually works or functions as a piece of art or communication tool,” Kyle said.

Another participating faculty member, Peggy Beckham, instructor of art, displayed a necklace she had made, draped over a glass vase. Christensen’s artwork on display includes unknown photographs he finds in flea markets and “mysterious” objects he finds in the parking lot.

“Occasionally, there’s names on the back [of a photograph], but they totally don’t mean anything,” Christensen said. “In my work, what motivates me is the non-functionality of the images.”

The displays of the Spiva Art Gallery are maintained as a service to the student body and other departments as well. Instructors, and not only those in the art department, have utilized the gallery for assignments and activities. The English department has used it as a setting, with assignments to write papers on different perspectives and observations they find in the gallery. The theatre department has used the gallery for observation practices.

“It’s for the whole campus,” Christensen said. “People are always welcome here. It’s usually quiet, and they can stay as long as they want.”