GV art professors display sabbatical work in public exhibit

Courtesy / gvsu.edu

Courtesy / gvsu.edu

Arie Nienhuis

The Grand Valley State University art program is led by skilled and knowledgeable faculty, all with their own unique artistic vision and approach to the creative process. A number of these professors took a work sabbatical to develop new pieces of art, and these works are on display in an exhibition titled “Reflect – Revive – Reshape.”

“Reflect – Revive – Reshape” displays work from ceramics professor Hoon Lee, printmaking professor Dellas Henke, photography professor Anthony Thompson and Brett Colley, professor of drawing, printmaking and foundations. Each professor’s respective collection of work represents their recent exploration of art and expression and, as the exhibit’s title suggests, displays a revival and reshaping of their individual bodies of work.

Lee, both a GVSU professor and accomplished ceramic artist, reflected on a number of experiences from his travels around the world, particularly Asia. Specifically, Lee sought to create pieces that built upon the framework of the traditional “guardian dog” seen in a number of cultures in the region. 

“When I made a trip to India many years ago, my interest (in guardian dogs) started,” Lee said. “I studied a little more about these guardian dogs. I’m from Korea originally, and we call it haetae, and you will see them when you enter a palace or even some fancy Chinese restaurants. I tracked them all way from India to China, and made my own. I also did research in celadon and image transfer techniques.”

Colley, an artist who has often found inspiration in social and political issues around the world, used his sabbatical as an opportunity to depart from his former range of subject matter. The works that Colley has chosen to present are a number of prints that, in his words, “commemorate the social movements that challenge and undermine oppression, and celebrate the courageous leaders who organize them.”

“I went about (this collection) by paying attention to actions that I thought were largely under-reported by mainstream media,” Colley said. “I was paying attention to individual narratives that may get lost and I was looking for inspirational stories that could be examples of how we can teach history from below.”

Both Lee and Colley see “Reflect – Revive – Reshape” as an excellent way for GVSU students to explore the scholarship and work of their professors. Visual media and art students will be able to see the ways their teachers can pass experience on to them, and those outside of the art school can see how valuable the department is to the culture on campus.

 “Please come and enjoy the show,” Lee said. “This show will last until the end of March, and there are always new shows appearing in the gallery. Check them out!”

“Reflect – Revive – Reshape” will be available to view in the Haas Center for Performing Arts Gallery from now until March 29. Admission is free and open to the public.