Professors get creative with gallery



Pictured: Artwork featured in the faculty art gallery, August 29 2016. Photos by Lila Miller.

The 2016 Faculty Art Exhibit offers work by 10 of Armstrong’s Visual and Creative Arts faculty. The exhibit runs through Sept. 9, 2016 and includes traditional media as well as experimental.


The interaction between traditional and modern methods is of particular concern to a few of the artists. Art department head and professor Dr. Tom Cato is one of these.His series “Reflections of Mondrian,” is an example of how one can tie influential artists to modern techniques.

Dr. Cato saw something of Piet Mondrian’s geometrical paintings in an arrangement of greenhouse windows during a trip to Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island. Dr. Cato’s digital manipulations are so subtle that they appear to be masterfully rendered watercolors.

Gallery director and professor of art Pang-Chieu Hsu has spent several years on a portrait drawing series. His method is an attempt to capture the mystery of the figure in profile with raw, seemingly furious strokes. He attempts to eliminate any contrived revisions by working with a model for a set period of time, and then setting the drawing aside when that period ends.

By calling the work finished at this point, Professor Hsu’s portraits are rendered with a sense of effortlessness that is difficult for many less experienced artists.

Two new art professors have joined Armstrong’s faculty: Professors Alicia Perez and Bridget Conn’s talents have become immediately apparent in their exhibits.

Professor Conn’s passion is photography but she has recently begun experimenting with the tools of her trade in different ways. While it takes a great eye and a sharp sense of the moment to snap a beautiful photo, Conn skips the point and shoot step, letting her creative mind roam free in the darkroom.

Her Chemigram series uses the tools of photo developing to apply chemically-induced textures on photo paper. The result is like something you might see under a microscope: organic waves of liquid frozen mid-flow. One of her pieces is a vignette of different effects achieved with her process, each slice a subtle variation in technique. Conn says she enjoys pushing the boundaries of what a photograph can be but emphasizes that students of any art form can learn something essential from studying the fundamentals of photography.

Professor Alicia Perez is a widely traveled student of the 2-D visual arts. Her artistic influences come from many cultures such as Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. Perez mixes her own acrylic pigments to get the texture and body of oil paint, while still maintaining the

short dry time of acrylics. Her pieces in the Faculty Art Exhibit are colorful realism paintings, depicting scenes from her travels. However, not all of her influence comes from abroad. Perez recalls watching her father, a self-taught artist, practice drawing and painting when she was very young. She claims this is where she learned how art can help us see the world in a different way.

The Faculty art exhibit is located in the gallery of the Fine Arts building and will remain open through Sept. 9, 2016.