Faculty exhibits laudable art

Keri Hayes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

If you have any inkling of interest in fine arts, you will want to view the "1994 Art Faculty Exhibition," as it is a tangible example of the wealth of talent and knowledge leading the UA Art Department. Faculty is the real determinant of the quality of an education. Judging from the pieces displayed at the University of Arizona Museum of Art, quality is not a problem.

Barbara Rogers, a four-year faculty member, is the featured artist in this year's exhibition. Her work centers around nature and its ties to humanity and change. The pieces she chose for the exhibition are especially interesting because they reflect a remarkable transition in her career.

Some of Rogers' early pieces centered on appearance first as a reality, mixing flowers with women's hands and feet to produce unique themes of the sensual ties between flowers and the feminine. Others combined illusion with reality; men and women standing dreamily in exotic vegetation, or seemingly normal views of nature with architectural fragments from Europe or the Far East enmeshed in the foliage. Most of these pieces were airbrushed, creating very well-defined, almost photographic images.

Rogers experienced a Hawaiian hurricane in 1983, an event which altered her perception of nature noticeably. "Hurricane, 1987," an oil painting on canvas, really denotes Rogers' expanded view of nature; the piece brings everything together, yet Rogers focuses on particular objects within the mess of debris. This technique contrasts to her earlier paintings which presented a much broader overview of natural scenes.

This trend of focusing on individual plants or parts of foliage continues throughout much of Rogers' later work. In 1990, Rogers began a project to study and create art from women's gardens; this seems to have given her an expanded understanding of the link between nature and female energy. One of her pieces, "Dream Pond #5," 1994, explores the femininity inherent in flowers and natural landscapes. Rogers also works with some different mediums in her latest pieces, such as a gelatin silver print on linen.

Recent work by 28 other faculty members is also on display. "Tar Sifters," by Chuck Hitner is an interesting imagery of bizarre scenes murkily imposed on two large fiberglass screens. Most of the screen consists of a resemblance of a multi-colored sunset, while the small images speak of life after destruction. Prose like "defense system designer," "require enemies," and "prisons before schools?" are interspersed among the artwork, creating what could be viewed as an interpretation of societal collapse.

A mixed media sculpture by Moira Marti Geoffrion entitled "Tenant Farm #489; Birthing Cliff" is probably the most amazing piece on display. The lifelike sculpture of a pregnant woman exemplifies the power and strength endowed in females as life-givers. The woman's hands, gestures and facial expression protect her unborn child along with branches reaching down from the cave that shelters her to cradle her full, rounded stomach and nourishing breasts. The piece speaks of women who accept and embrace their relationship with nature, and the complementing shelter and strength it gives in return.

A mixed media piece by Ken Shorr, "Precious Little," combines two photographs with enamel, 13 laminated fragments, and text to create a disturbing conglomoration of messages about popular culture, family life, homosexuality, dominance, religion and suicide. The piece explores how all of these coincide and influence everyday life for an individual who no longer relates to reality. The piece is extraordinary in its implications concerning modern society, and must be viewed and read numerous times to be appreciated.

Tim McNearney combines two pieces to create "Venus and Psyche Under the Patrirchal Gaze," an examination of Eve's first moment of sin, and how it has been held over women's heads to keep them in servitude throughout time.

Cinthea Fiss creates an interesting multi-media experience in her piece, "Pump." A 28 minute video, an audio inventory of all the machinery checked on the equipment rounds at San Francisco's DeYoung Museum and a series of corresponding photographs create a satirical view of the handyman's machismo and his egotistical relationship with his penis.

Harmony Hammond breaks some boundaries with her "Braid of Blood" and "Bleed," both painted with menstrual blood. Hammond should be commended for bringing out of the bathroom a perfectly natural and very important female experience that society asks women to disguise as much as possible.

On the lighter side, David Christiana displays a children's book he wrote and illustrated, "A Tooth Fairy's Tale," which would entice a child of any age with its beautiful watercolors and imaginative story (I read it twice!).

Alfred Quiroz presents a wildly colorful and comical mixed media piece entitled, "George Washington Inspects the Hemp Crop," in which two pipe-toting, wide-grinning characters acompany Washington in an examination of the prized plants. Quiroz also displays an equally colorful, but much less comical piece, "Columbus Introduces Eurocentric Philosophy to America."

Also included in the exhibition, and definitely deserving of mention, are works by Jeanine Goreski, Robert Tobias, Paulus Musters, Robert Colescott, Joyan Saunders, Barbara Pina, Andrew Polk, Sheila Pitt, Nina Borgia-Aberle, Harold Jones, Jackson Boelts, Ellen Mc Mahon, Jon Meyer, Luis Jimenez, Jerold Bishop, Keith McElroy, Joseph Labate, Lori Wolverton, Rosemarie Bernardi, Bailey Doogan, Bruce McGrew and Mary Tuma.

The "1994 Art Faculty Exhibition" will run through Sept. 21. The UA Museum of Art is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is located on the southeast corner of Speedway and Park, on the east side of the UA fine arts complex. Admission is free. For more information, call 621-7567.

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