The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, presents “SMFA Faculty Exhibition”
Celebrating the works of a diverse group of 22 SMFA faculty, all practicing artists
Boston, MA (February 6, 2014)—The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA) provides an education for artists, by artists. Their diverse faculty inspires and motivates students through open dialogue, individual teaching philosophies, and personal experiences. February 6–March 15, 2014, SMFA is pleased to present the “SMFA Faculty Exhibition” celebrating 22 faculty members who have recently taken sabbaticals, featuring a range of works and disciplines, including video, painting, performance, printmaking, photography, and graphic arts.
Erica H. Adams’ photography series Maya at the Crossroads: Chiapas, México explores the religious diversity and coexistence of the Maya people in Chiapas, México, recording the changes and syncretic responses of this indigenous culture at a crossroads with modern, industrial life.
Marilyn Arsem has been creating live events since 1975, ranging from solo performances to large-scale interactive works incorporating installation and performance. In the last decade, Arsem has focused on creating works in response to specific sites, engaging with the immediate landscape and materiality of the location, its history, use, or politics.
Susan Jane Belton’s portraits of take out coffee cups consider the ancient and modern layered, social ritual of coffee drinking and the contemporary Western practice of carrying logo emblazoned disposable cups as an identity signifier.
Gerry Bergstein’sHospital Gurney began as a paint palette in 1981 and has evolved almost unconsciously over a long period of time; a process which has taught Bergstein much in his evolution as a painter and how painting relates to his tragicomic world view.
Laura Blacklow’sartist book, “Vanishing Flora, Disappearing Jungle/Las Plantas Muriendo, La Selva Desapareciendo,” beautifully preserves select traditional healing plants of the Maya Biosphere Reserve/Petén rain forest, currently under threat from the Guatemalan government.
Bonnie Donohue’s photographs are excerpted from an installation about a racially driven 1953 murder of a local bar owner in Vieques, Puerto Rico, at the hands of white seamen, enraged when a young prostitute rebuffed them for Puerto Rican marines.
Jim Dow’s photography ventures involve taco trucks, Sears Flat Pack houses, and barbeque joints across the United States, tacquerias in Mexico, carritos in Argentina and Uruguay, private social clubs in New York City, and soccer stadiums everywhere.
Jesseca Ferguson’s “Fragment, In Praise of the Book” is a three-dimensional spherical book of cyanotypes, which transforms the text of Meena Alexander’s poem of the same title. Text is the tissue or fabric of a literary work, woven of words. Alexander’s words have been disrupted and reordered, forming a new sequence as book is unspooled.
Part historical documentary and part experimental narrative,Jane Gillooly’s film “Suitcase of Love and Shame” is reconstructed from audiotape discovered in a suitcase purchased on eBay chronicling the details of an adulterous affair.
Julie Graham is drawn to vernacular architecture—that which is unplanned and built with humble materials. With unexpected collisions of forms, materials, and colors, her current work explores juxtapositions that are “perfectly imperfect.”
A visit to Walter Reed Army Hospital and conversations with surgeons and wounded warriors there inspired Ken Hruby’s current body of work. Hruby’s cast paper helmets and grenades, made from pulp beaten from his old combat fatigues, are a take on “swords to ploughshares,” a concept where military weapons or technologies are converted for peaceful civilian applications.
Joseph Landry’s mixed media, 3-dimensional portraits of buildings are inspired by the writings of French philosopher Gaston Bachelard on the poetics of buildings, the memory paintings of Italian artist Franco Magnani, and by his own childhood memories.
During her sabbatical residency at Sanskriti Foundation, outside of New Delhi, India, Marilyn Levin became inspired by a large banyan tree on the grounds. Working from a tradition of painterly abstraction, with watercolor and ink, the tree’s intricate patterns and sensual forms became the focus of her paintings.
Michelle Samour’s work has its roots in scientific illustration and collection. The aggregation of related forms resides between the psychological inkblot, mirrored behaviors, and the bilateral symmetry inherent in nature—from the simplest single-celled protozoa, to the complexity of the human body.
Peter Scott’s current drawings are an impossible and somewhat hopeless homage to one of the all-time great drawing virtuosi, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. While working from Tiepolo’s etchings, Scott approaches his drawing like a musician covering someone else’s songs: keeping to the score note for note, line for line, and improvising at his own risk.
During his sabbatical, Robert Siegelman spent time in Vermont and Berlin, Germany, and experimented with new image making techniques and approaches for his work which centers on photography, drawing, and installation.
Jeannie Simms’ video “That is the impression we receive” stems from research into an early-20th century actress Sadayakko Kawakami, who with her husband and their troupe created theatrical productions in Japan, North America, and Europe. Students from the Tsubai Elementary School (Nara, Japan) and the Provincetown Schools (Massachusetts) recreate the history of this troupe, challenging representations of culture, trade, and nation.
Prior to the death of her mother, Sandra Stark’s pets started bringing her dead animals, as if to say it is okay to look closely at death. The resulting photo series “Nature Versus Not Sure,” investigates traditional still life and contemporizes it with humor and drama.
Paul Stopforthexplores how arrangements of shapes, colors and brushstrokes add up to the meaning we assign to them. What is the space within which painting embodies meaning? Does meaning lie in a space where words cannot adequately describe what arises in the body of the work itself? Is it possible to empty oneself out when looking at any work of art, especially one’s own? Perhaps, and probably not.
Mary Ellen Strom’sworks unearth submerged narratives in the environment, history, and in cultural discourse. Working primarily in video, Strom uses the language(s) of drawing, painting, sculpture and dance. These media are used to generate an embodied understanding of place by utilizing movement, signs, and metaphors.
Heidi Whitman’s paper constructions are mental maps that refer to time and memory as uncharted territory. Maps of ancient ruins and contemporary city grids are part of a layered network that conflates the concrete world with the invisible mind. Connections, empty space, and shadows evoke absence, presence, and the transitory quality of consciousness.
Chantal Zakari and Mike Mandel’s “The Shelter in Plates Collection” is a series of commemorative plates recognizing the unprecedented lockdown of thousands of Watertown, Massachusetts residents, including the artists, who were ordered to shelter in place during the April 19, 2013 manhunt for the last Boston Marathon bomber.
About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:
Founded in 1876 and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA), is one of only three art schools in the country affiliated with a major museum—the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Our mission is to provide an education in the fine arts—for undergraduate and graduate artists—that is interdisciplinary and self-directed. This education values cultural, artistic and intellectual diversity; it embraces a wide range of media; it stresses the development of individual vision and its relation to culture in general; it values equally the knowledge gained by thinking and doing; it is deeply engaged with the world as a whole. If the mission is constant, its practice is always transforming. For more information about our programs and partnerships, visitwww.smfa.edu.