By Brieanah Gouveia
Not often do students have the opportunity to readily see the work of their professors, which is what makes faculty art exhibitions a great treat. Olin Hall Galleries hosted its Fine Arts Faculty exhibition on Jan. 29 and will continue into this month. On display in Olin Gallery were the varying works of Professors Scott Hardwig, Elizabeth Heil, and Katherine Shortridge, as well as lecturer Jennifer Ruhland.
The installation of Hardwig,– professor of sculpture and ceramics, – features panels of ceramic dishes with the theme of “Nouns, Names, and Verbs,” inspired by the Periodic Table of Elements. Each plate features a combination of four individual elements that spell out words, and many, when read in conjunction, make simple sentences and even full jokes. The words featured on the plates range from ancient figures in Greek mythology such as “PaNdORa,” to figures of contemporary pop culture like “LaDy GaGa.” The words reach even broader in scope from “MoRaLiSm,” to “RuDaBaGa.” An interactive component of the installation features an animated shadow box that illuminates certain elements to the course of The Supremes’ song “Na Na Hey Hey.” Dozens of these dishes sold at the opening and many of the quirky creations are still left for purchase.
Representing the 2-D arts are the works of Professors Heil and Shortridge. Heil’s installation showcases computer-manipulated photographs in which a female character is placed in various dollhouse settings. A series of graphic design floor works make up the second aspect of her installation. Shortridge’s installation features abstract acrylic and pastel paintings, in which the interplay between color, line, and form make for breathtaking compositions.
In Smoyer, Ruhland’s installation, “From the Page to the Stage,” showcases actual costumes she has designed for different theater performances. The array of dresses come from plays such as Sense and Sensibility to Antigone, and display Ruhland’s great breadth. Five of the features are from Roanoke’s own theater, as she is the college’s resident costume designer. Others are from Mill Mountain Theater and the University of Virginia. In addition to the outfits and accompanying photographs of her costumes in action, an entire wall in Smoyer depicts Ruhland’s design process. Reference photographs, watercolor illustrations, and material samples enhance the feeling of her installation by giving insight into the artist’s studio.
The Fine Arts Faculty Exhibition undoubtedly reveals the diversity of talent and skill among the professors of Olin. Students, family and friends of the showcased faculty enlivened the gallery space that evening. The exhibition will be on display through Feb. 28. The Gallery is open 7 days a week, from 1 pm – 4 pm.