Art Exhibit Paints a New Picture of SU Faculty

When they’re not teaching students about art, professors from the Seattle University Art and Art History Department are creating pieces of their own—sometimes using very different methods from what their students might expect.

Starting this week, students will get a chance to see just what their art faculty has been up to outside of class.

A faculty art exhibit will open tomorrow evening at the Kinsey Gallery on campus. The show features works from the department’s professors, showcasing the artistic diversity found in Seattle U’s Visual Arts program.
The department has hosted a faculty art show every other year for the past several years as a way of giving the Seattle U community a chance to see what the art professors on campus have been working on most recently.

Because there is no curator for this year’s show, visual art professor Francisco Guerrero will assist in setting up the installations in the gallery.

“We’re all doing it together,” Guerrero said. “I’m the person who has all the tools, so I think everyone is sort of rallying around the day I show up.”

Guerrero will be one of six professors to show work at the exhibit. Though the courses he teaches focus primarily on painting and drawing, the work he has been doing on his own time takes on several different forms.

Guerrero used the inspiration of drone surveillance for his most recent work, which will be featured at the exhibit.

“It’s kind of like a science fiction version of what would happen if people we wouldn’t want to be watching us, were watching us,” Guerrero said. “I’ve been doing a lot of different things. Recently I’ve been playing around with video and sculpture.”

The exhibit will allow art students to see how their professors express themselves through their creative work. Guerrero explained that many of his students try to find his work online at the beginning of the year, but that what they discover on Google is rarely the most recent thing he’s worked on.

“As a faculty we feel it’s important for the students to get a glimpse of what we’re up to on a recent time frame,” Guerrero said. “We’re always asking them to turn in stuff, so it’s nice for them to see that we’re working, too. It’s good to show them that [our work] is not a historical practice that happened a long time ago.”

Students may be surprised to see what some of their teachers have chosen to show at the exhibit. Digital design professor Naomi Kasumi, for instance, creates her own pieces using signnifcantly different techniques from those she teaches in her design courses.

“Some of my students wonder why I teach digital. I understand the depths of digital design and the shallowness of digital design as well,” Kasumi said. “My interest is really in fine art. My work tends to be more anti-digital.”

At the time of writing, Kasumi was still unsure of what she would be showing at the exhibit, though she had narrowed her decision down to two options.

The first piece, titled “Vuoto” (the Italian word for “empty”), is a large wire installation that gives the illusion of books floating in midair.

“Only the frame of the book is drawn in air. I’m using the wire to create the frame of the books,” Kasumi said. “If I have the space, I’d like to show that piece.”

The second piece is a children’s book titled “Ok! Here We Go,” which Kasumi created and bound last year. The book describes the migratory patterns of several animals; each page focuses on a different animal. Kasumi created the pages of the book using a method of linoleum printmaking, and added the story’s text using a handset type that she pressed herself.

The purpose of the book is to encourage parents to read with their children.

“The point is that the content is very scientific, and the adult has to read and explain it to the kid. It’s a really big book, and has very colorful, playfully drawn pictures,” Kasumi said. “Both of my pieces take up quite a bit of space, but I feel more of a lean toward the children’s book.”

Kasumi believes that it is important for students to become familiar with what their professors work on aside from their teaching jobs.

“Usually the faculty is teaching what we must teach,” Kasumi said. “So faculty artwork is pretty different from what you would think. This is a great opportunity to understand how we see the world.”

The Seattle U Art Faculty Exhibition will open Thursday, Jan. 15 with a reception at 4:30 p.m. in the Kinsey Gallery. The show will be open to the public and will run through April 16.

Jenna may be reached at jramsey@su-spectator.com

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