Arts Faculty Showcase Their Work in Gallery Exhibition

Arts Faculty Showcase Their Work in Gallery Exhibition

The work of Westover's performing arts and visual arts faculty was the subject of an exhibition in the School's Schumacher Gallery from November 30 through December 16. The exhibition, curated by photography instructor Caleb Portfolio and visual arts and humanities instructor Ali Hildebrand, featured "the personal pursuits of our performing and visual arts faculty. From subjects ranging from the sovereign farmer to bundled landscapes, from pets to performance art, our faculty demonstrate a diversity of interests and insights," as noted in an exhibition flyer.

As part of the exhibition, a reception for faculty, staff, and students was held on December 15, which included performances by faculty members Ian Diedrich and by Bob and Bonnie Havery. Ian performed a song from the musical, The Last Five Years, with piano accompaniment by Bob Havery. Later the Haverys performed two piano duets – one a piano setting of excerpts from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker and Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride. Bob is the Chair of the Arts Department and Music Director of the School; Bonnie is a piano instructor and the director of its Handbell Ensemble program.

The faculty whose works were featured throughout the exhibition in the gallery included:

• Jill Verzino '12, instructor in Visual Arts – Paintings. "[The paintings featured are part of a larger show entitled 'Sovereignty,' which] refers not only to the depiction of the farmers as important political leaders, but also to their efforts to achieve food sovereignty by rejecting industrialized and conventional farming in favor of an ethical and local food system."

• Leeah Joo, instructor in Visual Arts – Paintings. "My current series of undulating fabric forming waves or mountains, the gullible tiger, the loyal crane of Korean folktales is reincarnated to tell a modern tale. Tigers are rescued from demanding tiger moms by heavenly creatures. Children of North and South Korea communicate through tin-can phones over DMZ. Borrowing from traditions of illuminated Buddhist manuscripts and Japanese printmakers, the paintings bridge the aesthetics of eastern and western art history. In these paintings of wrapped and bundled landscapes, the old and new eclipse to tell stories of family, folklore, and history."

• Sara Poskas, Associate Chair of the Arts Department and instructor in Visual Arts – Various Media. "Representing animals, even those we love and live with, always requires acts of translation and, like any other subject, is usually an act of self-representation. In drawing, painting, sculpting, carving, and scratching portraits of Mr. Smee [Sara's Boston terrier], I'm also, of course, demonstrating my own loyalty, care, and soft-heartedness for animals, the way I let them get under my skin and impact my heart, mind, and hands."

• Lee Juvan, instructor in Needle Arts, Knitted Yarn Pieces. "When I design a piece for myself and work through the satisfying – and sometimes challenging – process of translating an idea into a pattern, I begin my relationship with the piece, one that continues during the many steps in its creation: planning, sketching, choosing materials, sometimes spinning the yarn itself, sampling stitch patterns, and then knitting. Even the final blocking (washing and shaping) of the finished piece is a meditation on its aspects: how the fabric behaves when wet and then dry again, how well the yarn or stitch pattern expresses the original intent. The piece becomes a tangible reminder of the impulse to create it, and it gradually absorbs the memories from the making and the many wearings."

• Marla Truini, director of the Theatre Program, Stage Design Model. "This 1/4-inch scale model represents initial design work for my production of Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus, produced at Westover in November 2015. The image that resonated for me in brainstorming the design was 'theatre as altar.' The play is as much a highly fictional biopic of the world's greatest composer as it is a spiritual investigation of sacrifice and faith and the nature of God. The grandeur of Baroque theatre overlaid with the mysticism of a cathedral altar space provides a visual connection between the spiritual and earthly plane. The altar is the perfect environment for the characters whose tragic fates are as inexplicable as the sacramental mysteries."

• Meghan Buchanan, director of Dance, Choreography. "Kiva Dance Collective was founded in 1998 with six members and has since grown to 14, ranging in age from 20 to 60. The members of Kiva combine their diverse artistic backgrounds – modern, African, folk, ballet, and jazz dance forms – and, as a collective, share the role of choreographer. Each member has an opportunity to create dances for the group. Kiva is a native American term meaning 'the sacred meeting place in the center of the village.' Kiva Dance Collective shares their artistic vision with the community in an annual concert performance, inviting the audience to witness their 'sacred place.'"

• Caleb Portfolio, instructor in Photography, Photographs. "There are innumerable challenges facing artists when trying to maintain their art practice, the worst of which may be a lack of inspiration. One method that artists use to get through periods when the work just isn't coming on its own is to place arbitrary limitations on themselves. These limitations can serve as a way to narrow one's focus, with the hopes that creativity will flourish when the possibilities don't seem so endless. The work in this exhibition is the result of a series of limiting challenges that I gave to myself as a way to take more risks with my art making and chip away at the ever-looming artist's block."