Professors showcase skills at faculty art show

Throughout March, students can see their professor’s art at Hamline’s Soeffker Gallery.

Sabrina Merritt, Senior Reporter

Craving art but snowed in? Disregard the Walker and walk yourself over to the faculty art exhibition in Drew Fine Arts’ Soeffker Gallery. Displaying art by a number of Hamline professors, the show features works in multiple media including paintings, sculptures and prints.

Coordinated by printmaking professor and Soeffker Gallery Director John-Mark Schlink, faculty of the studio and digital media arts departments are invited to submit recent art to the semi-annual exhibit.

“It gives students in the university a chance to see what [arts faculty] are working on,” Schlink said. “We had almost everyone participate.”

Entering the gallery, it is hard to ignore the large sculptures done by assistant professor of sculpture Allison Baker. “Towards Something Else” is a large purple arch in the corner of the room. One of the three sculptures on show by Baker, the arch, which appears to be made of melting goo, is actually concrete, wood and fabric. This is a deviation from her typical steel fabrication and metal casting. Being several feet tall, Baker acknowledges the risks she takes with her art.       

“I tend to work on a larger scale. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming and it’s a really big commitment if you don’t know if you’re going to like it or not,” Baker said.

Because transporting her art is sometimes difficult, there is a huge draw for a show so close to the space where she works.

“I really like the faculty shows. It’s an opportunity for me to make a really large sculpture that’s impossible to ship and haul around. But this [sculpture] I can just take from my studio,” Baker said.

Also on display are sketches Baker uses to teach color theory to her 2D design classes. Next to these, exhibit viewers will see Michele Signorino’s whimsical take on traditional European coats of arms. Signorino, who is taking over for Baker’s classes while she is away this semester, uses the side profile of animals to represent the silliness of importance placed on a royal family’s lineage, legacy and crest.

“I was just making fun of the fact people have to have their own coat of arms. Making them animals, it’s easier to see how silly some people can be,” Signorino said.

In total there are eight animal crests, with three on display in the show.   

While the days of old Europe may seem far away, photography professor Steven Stenzel is presenting something a little more familiar at the show. Stenzel’s “4:00 am” series features photographs of places around the Twin Cities all taken between 4 and 5 a.m. From the mural on the side of the Snelling Cafe to the view of the Minneapolis skyline from a pedestrian footbridge, Stenzel feels something special at this hour.      

“It feels like the city is mine, no one is out. It’s too late for the people up late partying and it’s too early for the people who jog or go to work,” Stenzel said.

Besides these faculty pieces, students can also view the Soeffker Gallery’s permanent collection. This includes works by famous artists including Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Francisco Goya and Andy Warhol. The faculty art show runs through Mar. 29 and is free and open to the public.