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Thursday October 5, 2000

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UA art profs put talents on display

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By Shaun Clayton

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Faculty exhibit now showing at UA Museum of Art

UA art professors can talk the talk, and they can walk the walk.

The faculty exhibition at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, running through Oct. 29, features paintings, sculptures, animation and other creative forms of media to emphasize the fact that art professors possess artistic skill and craftsmanship.

Featured in the exhibit are works by art professor Chuck Hitner, who has actually managed to "walk the talk" with "Equal Shots," a series of paintings based upon conversations he had around Tucson.

"It's our daily lives at work," Hitner said. "In other words, things that happen to us everyday...those things matter a lot and they change our lives. They get us to face our own philosophy."

His paintings, which are in acrylic on huge sheets of fiberglass screen, are about things that happened in his everyday life. His set of three paintings, "Waiting Room," are about his experience of being in the waiting room of his doctor's office waiting to have a physical.

"A woman was sitting in there who was huge - big ankles," Hitner said. "She was a diabetic, and she was deaf as a post, so she yelled everything. She had to stay for an hour, and I had to wait for an hour to see my guy.

"We heard her describe that her diabetes left her in very bad shape, and then she cuts from that in the conversation and she starts telling her sister, 'last week I made four gallons of cookies for George!' Four gallons of cookies!" Hitner added.

Hitner interpreted that the woman was a diabetic because she loved to bake - that her desires were contributing her sickness - and found a connection there with his own life.

"I like to do things myself that I know are hurting me," he said. "But I pay no attention to it to get it fixed. So she is me."

Also in the series of paintings, Hitner shows himself watching the woman, who does not appear in the frames of the paintings all at once, but rather a piece at a time. What pieces do show appear resemble sugar - Hitner had scraped away some of the acrylic to reveal the fiberglass mesh underneath.

Hitner is not the only faculty member exhibiting work, though.

Art department head Andrew Polk's "Betty Looking" is a series of four televisions that display a computer-generated animation of a scary-looking, red-haired woman that moves ever so slightly as she stares back at the viewer.

Associate art professor Keith McElroy has on display a sample of his illustrated version of the Book of Revelation from the Bible. Images are used with each passage to give new perspective on the ancient text.

"The Flasher," by art professor Michael Croft, takes a small sculpture of a flasher and makes it interactive - turning a crank brings the small trenchcoated man to life.