West Virginia University faculty will get a chance to share their work as scholars and artists at an upcoming conference. WVU’s School of Art & Design will co-sponsor the 2015 Southeastern College Art Conference, “Confluence,” in Pittsburgh Oct. 21-24.
The Southeastern College Art Conference, or SECAC, is “one of the largest organizations devoted to faculty who teach studio art and art history,” said Kristina Olson, associate director of the School of Art & Design.
“It’s grown beyond its name to become a truly national and even international organization,” Olson added. “The Pittsburgh event will be the first time SECAC has been held outside of the southeastern United States.”
Olson anticipates that some 800 university scholars will gather for the event. Representatives of the School of Art and Design will lead or participate in roughly a dozen academic sessions covering everything from 19th century architecture to the history of graphic design.
“WVU’s School of Art & Design has a big presence,” Olson said. “We’ve been working on the event for three years.”
Part of that preparation has included arranging a WVU faculty exhibition at Artists Image Resource (AIR) at 518 Foreland Street in Pittsburgh. WVU and AIR have been partners for some time, with AIR offering printmaking internships to students.
More recently, WVU faculty have been working with AIR experts to produce the original works that will be included in the exhibition, called “Conjunction.” That title speaks to the creative intersection between a variety of media, including sculpture and ceramics, with traditional and experimental printmaking processes.
“When we were conceiving ‘Conjunction,’ we didn’t just want to collect existing faculty work,” said Olson. “We wanted to make new work to a purpose that really highlights the fact that this is scholarly research for our faculty.”
Faculty in WVU’s non-printmaking disciplines – photography and digital media, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and graphic design – have challenged themselves to engage their aesthetics with the processes of printmaking. The experimentation has “resulted in wildly different pieces,” according to Olson.
The work with AIR was made possible by funds from the Colonel Eugene E. Myers Foundation. “It makes me proud to be able to support our talented faculty and share with them the superb expertise provided by the printmakers at AIR,” said Alison Helm, director of the School of Art and Design. “It’s a win-win for the School and for AIR.”
The show at AIR will be part of the evening gallery crawl Friday, Oct. 23, from 5:30-9:00 pm. The exhibition will remain at AIR through Oct. 29, and it will be mounted in the Paul and Laura Mesaros Galleries in WVU’s Creative Arts Center Jan. 25-Feb. 26, 2016.
The overall sense of “Confluence” for Olson is “all of these natural connections. We’re chairing sessions vetted by leaders of art colleges across the region, presenting peer-reviewed papers, the panels feature graduates of our program, our current students are volunteering? It feels awfully good to see these opportunities for the School of Art & Design.”
One graduate student in art history, Sally Deskins, will experience some professional milestones at SECAC. She’s chairing a panel on feminism and curatorial strategy with three professional curators and art historians.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity to present this topic and have this discussion which I think is so important, but also to learn and glean some of the panelists’ and audience’s expertise and insight, as this is a main part of my thesis research for my graduate work at WVU,” Deskins said.
Deskins will also have her work included in the SECAC members show. Her piece, “Motherhood (Privilege),” is a body print with penciled text excerpts of famous artists on the experience of being both mother and artist.
“I’m so honored to have my work in the show that’s curated by one of the Andy Warhol Museum curators,” she said. “Though I’m an art history graduate student, I’m a practicing artist as well and admire the curating of the Warhol, so that was quite thrilling to get accepted. I can’t wait to see the other work in the show and hopefully meet that curator.”
The School of Art & Design will co-sponsor the conference with Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. WVU previously co-sponsored SECAC in 2007 with Marshall University.
CONTACT: David Welsh, WVU College of Creative Arts
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.