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Faculty members bring their art to the spotlight

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"Abiopoeisis Microbiome" by Ken Rinaldo on display at Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus. Credit: Courtesy of Amy Young

“Abiopoeisis Microbiome” by Ken Rinaldo on display at Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus. Credit: Courtesy of Amy Young

Art professors are taking their talents outside the classroom and into Urban Arts Space to share their work with the community in the Department of Art 2016 faculty exhibition: “Wish You Were Here.”=

The show was organized collectively by the participating faculty members, said Rebecca Harvey, the Department of Art chair.

“The faculty are all very well-known international artists in their own right, so they had quite a bit of leeway about what they wanted to put in,” Harvey said. “And that’s what we wanted to see; what they were most excited about showing.”

Ed Valentine, a professor at OSU Lima campus who previously taught in Columbus, started the department of art at Lima and has been there for 20 years. Valentine contributed two paintings to the exhibit. He said he was excited to participate in the faculty exhibition because it is an opportunity to see what the rest of the faculty is currently working on.

“We used to do the show every year, and that was actually too routine,” Valentine said. “Then it became every other year, and then we sort of stopped and haven’t done it for a while. I miss it.”

Columbus campus professor Todd Slaughter contributed a piece called “Aryan Nation Headquarters.” The photograph, which depicts the Aryan Nations Headquarters in 2001, was not actually taken by Slaughter. Slaughter’s art is the framing of the picture.

Aryan Nations was a white supremacist paramilitary organization that had its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s. Slaughter’s frame depicts a line of trees around the headquarters and a suburban community beyond the trees. He said this represents the fact that although Aryan Nations claimed to be a place for wilderness survival training, it was located just a few steps away from a settled area.

Another piece that will be displayed is a visual and audio piece by professor Ken Rinaldo called “Abiopoiesis Microbiome.” The piece features five hanging white sculptures to represent five bacterial forms, Rinaldo said. Colorful scenes are projected on the sculptures and the surrounding walls while mixed sounds emerge from the center sculpture.

Harvey said that because the gallery is near campus and the show was not strictly curated, the artists were able to experiment with what they contributed. In some cases, they could include art that is not completely finished and see how it appeared in a gallery setting as a way to work and think through the project.

The only challenge that the faculty members faced was balancing the show with their already busy schedules, Harvey said. But despite that, they intend to keep the exhibition going.

“It will definitely be an annual or biannual thing,” Harvey said. “I think next year we may do a lecturer show because we have a lot of lecturers and graduate students who do amazing work.”

“Wish You Were Here” opens Tuesday at Urban Arts Space and will remain on display through Nov. 12. A reception will be held this Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission to the gallery and reception are free.

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