The Visual Arts Scene at SLU: Fall Roundup

Art students, culture enthusiasts and the entire SLU community will find various opportunities to experience visual arts this semester at the University’s galleries and museums.

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Over the course of the 12-week summer break, Amy Bautz, associate professor of studio art, challenged herself to create this painting along with 19 others, mirroring a task she assigns her Computer Art I and II students. The exercise is meant to emphasize that continual practice and exploration are the best ways to improve as an artist. Image by Amy Bautz

At the McNamee Gallery in Samuel Cupples House

The annual faculty exhibition, featuring works by 13 faculty members, will open Wednesday, Aug. 31, in McNamee Gallery, which is in the lower level of Samuel Cupples House. The show will be on view from noon to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays, as well as from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays. There will be a closing reception on Friday, Sept. 23.

McNamee Gallery serves as the space designated for the annual faculty show, as well as three student shows every year: the 2000 Show in the fall, which features the art work of students produced in any 2000-level Studio Art course; the Annual Student Exhibit in mid-spring; and a Senior Exhibit, which coincides with May graduation. Studio art faculty additionally host an invitational exhibit in which they invite artists whose work is intended to inspire students.

“SLU’s McNamee pedagogical gallery has exhibit programming integrated with the studio art curriculum,” said Amy Bautz, associate professor of studio art, Studio Art Program coordinator and Visual Communication Certificate Program coordinator. “Process-oriented and definitively hands-on, Studio Art, a program inside the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, teaches SLU students to make art, and provides a venue to display this art.”

Artist-educators will offer samples of their own works. Megan Singleton will show fiber arts; Theodore Wood, painting; Margaret Fetter, jewelry; Martin Brief, drawing; Sharron Pollack, printmaking; David Johnson, photography; Terri Shay, painting; Deborah Douglas, collage; Daniel Stumeier, drawing; Jim Burwinkel, sculpture; Richard Dunn, ceramics; Ilene Berman, installation art; and Bautz, conceptual art.

“We do a cycle of events that starts with the faculty show,” Wood said. “It is an opportunity for students to identify faculty with their art – basically to see how we do things.”

“This exhibit is not just for our students,” Brief said. “It is for the campus community – they can see our work all in one place.”

“The University offers courses in a variety of artistic media, and just as it is important for the students to see themselves make and display art, it is necessary for students to see the art work made by those who guide and support their art education,” Bautz said. “All of our studio art professors and our studio technician are practicing artists. We model professional art practice and provide connections to the art world in St. Louis and beyond. 

“To my mind, the fine and performing arts department is a vital part of our university,” Bautz continued. “Our department includes music, theatre, art history and studio art. Course in these disciplines teach students to be creators, using, uniquely to fine and performing arts, both their minds and bodies. It is this coordination of intellectual and physical existence that I find so compelling about making and teaching art.”

At the Saint Louis University Museum of Art

Featuring more than 180 photographs from the Saint Louis University Museum of Art’s permanent collection, Explorations in Reality: Photographs from the Permanent Collection explores the medium itself and its subjects.

The exhibition’s photographic images, which were created between the 1860s and the present, includes works by Peter Bergheim, Felix Bonfils, Francis Frith, Frank Mason Good, Jean Pascal Sebah, Giacomo Brogi, Edward Curtis, Robert Doisneau. Arnold Newman, Andy Warhol, Bonnie Shiffmann, Phyllis Galembo, Lew Portnoy, Robert von Sternberg and others. Each offers an examination of relationships between reality and its photographic representations.

The exhibition will be on display in the Judith and Adam Aronson Gallery at SLUMA from now through Dec. 30.

“This exhibition reflects the democratization of photography, which was made possible by technological advances,” said Petruta Lipan, Ph.D., MFA, director of University Museums and Galleries. “The vast collection reflects the ever-increasing appeal of photography as a medium. The exhibit offers the viewer a greater appreciation of photography and its history.”

SLUMA is located on the University’s campus, at 3663 Lindell Boulevard. Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

At the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art

Saint Louis University’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) presents Sudarios, a body of work by Colombian artist Erika Diettes.

The title Sudarios means “shrouds” in Spanish and is meant to call to mind the image of Jesus miraculously imprinted on his burial cloth. Described as an “accumulation of suspended pain,” Diettes’ art has been exhibited in sacred sites around the world. In MOCRA, the works will be suspended from the high ceiling of the museum’s spacious former chapel.

Diettes interviewed and photographed women who were forced to witness the torture and murder of their loved ones during Colombia’s long-running armed conflict between government forces and members of the FARC rebel group, which resulted in the deaths of 260,000 people and the displacement of millions more.

In the face of so much violence, Diettes says, “I have decided to bear witness to that violence, and to give the victims — both those murdered and disappeared and their survivors — voice through my art.”

Diettes’ moving black-and-white portraits, which freeze in time instants of deep sadness, are printed on large panels of fine silk. She draws upon her training as both an artist and an anthropologist by bringing forth work originating in the direct testimonies of the families of victims of violence, as well as in objects belonging to them.

The exhibition opens Sunday, Sept. 25, with a lecture by the artist at 1:30 p.m. and a reception following. The works will remain on display at MOCRA through Dec. 4.

Regular museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free, though there is a suggested donation of $5, or $1 for students and children.