Spring Art Exhibition
BSU Faculty Show Their Works
Professor Lang with one of his leather artworks on display.
By Bekah Oester
The Bowie State University Department of Fine & Performing Arts presented an exhibition of faculty artwork in the Amos White Gallery of Art from Feb. 12 to March 11.
The exhibit featured various types of artwork from professors Phaedra Byrd, Valerie Chisholm, Gina Lewis, Clayton Lang, Tewodross Melchisua, E. Clark Mester, Myron Smith, George Tuggle, and Robert Ward.
Along with the open gallery hours, a gallery talk and artists reception was held Feb. 26. Lang said that the artists' talk "added a lot to the event" and "heightened everyone's appreciation" for the art. Lang also noted that there was a good turnout, featuring notable guests such as Provost Roosevelt Newson, Vice President for Administration and Finance Karl Brockenbrough, Dean of Arts and Sciences George Acquaah, representatives from Morgan State University, and representatives from the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. Also present were BSU alumni and families of the artists.
Lang, who teaches art history, had multiple collage-style pieces featured which he constructed using leather and various other natural materials such as mushrooms and dried plants. He said he liked leather because in the past he had painted and sculpted; he liked the color paint offered and the form sculpture offered, and leather allowed him to combine the two elements. Some of his pieces still involved his abstract expression-style paintings as a backdrop for his collages, which had different inspirations. For example, his piece, "Change Agents" alludes to Barack Obama and the steps we must take to "become instruments of change" such as education.
Lewis' piece, "Conversation Among Blues Women," features the cast faces of eight African-American women who live and work in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Different colors of fabric under each face demonstrate the uniqueness of each woman. Lewis noted that blues women serve as iconic types for women in the community, who each serve different functions.
Also present to discuss his work at the gallery was Melchisua, who has a background in animation as well as an interest in merging animation with digital video and other mixed media. He considers himself a "visual DJ," saying he likes to make his work "as interactive as possible" by making his audience "a part of the work." A lot of his work mimics collages, layering texture, video, light, and sometimes music; however, a more traditional painting which Melchisua created for his son was also on display.
Ward only had one piece on display, but it was very distinctive from the others. It was crafted with various pieces of Styrofoam, an empty prescription bottle, and a flashing red light. According to Ward, the piece describes what he was feeling when he experienced a heart attack in November 2008. "To make a long story short, it was a very traumatic event, he said. The flashing red light represents his heart because, "it reminded me of an alarm going off." In regards to the use of Styrofoam, Ward said he likes to play with it as well as other discarded materials because "their shapes are so interesting." He also said improvisation with such materials is a part of the creative process, although there could also be an ecological element of recycling the items in artwork.
Many other art forms were on display to enjoy including sculptures and photographs. Today is the last day to observe the faculty artwork in the gallery which is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.