September 30, 2020

Biennial exhibit showcases faculty art

By Eric Preisler
Production Manager

From Wednesday, Sept. 6 to Oct. 15, the College’s art faculty will showcase their works at the TCNJ Biennial Faculty Exhibition in the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building.

This year’s theme of the exhibition is Community and Practice, and Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, the College’s art director, explained. “We wanted something that connected the campus learning theme, which is ‘who we are,’” she said.

She commended the faculty and staff who participated in the exhibit for being both practicing artists and phenomenal educators.

“This is the research work or the scholarship that the faculty members are participating in and this is what they are bringing to the larger community of the College,” Pezalla-Granlund said.

During the panel discussion on Wednesday at 4 p.m., the art faculty explained their projects and their values as artists.

Eddie Villanueva, one of the presenters, expressed how he enjoyed using a variety of materials and processes for sculptures, such as an arcade game in one of his pieces.

Students observe a variety of creative pieces. (Randell Carrido / Staff Photographer)

When describing his reason for working with various mediums in his work, Villanueva explained, “It’s because I just have a lot of interests in different kinds of materials and a lot of interests in learning new processes.”

Faculty member Liselot van der Heijden enjoys using people and actors in her works, including in her latest video loop titled, “Just Looking, Part III.” In the video, two actors face each other in the busy streets of Chelsea, standing still for a period of time as pedestrians navigate around them. The staged actors create an obstacle, which passersby must work around.

“It creates a juxtaposition between stage, actors and the uncontrolled reality or events taking place,” Heijden said of her piece. She receives a lot of feedback from people who interact with her live action works.

“That shows something not just about ourselves, but about our culture,” she said. It’s about “how we interact and how we share a common space.”

Art professor Elizabeth Mackie focused her work around the Ortler glaciers in the Alps, which relates to the school’s theme of “who we are,” as she believes that glaciers are an important part of the environment in which we live.

“Without the environment around us we are nothing,” she said.  Mackie wants students to learn how to create their own medium.

“I also hope that they gained the idea of the interaction of science and art,” she said of the impression left on her students.

Marchelo Vera, an art professor at the College, explains how he uses a variety of mediums in his work including hand drawings, digital drawing techniques, and photography.

“Abstractly, I’m really interested in culture and identity and the way that technology and art kind of run parallel,” he said. “The way we’re incorporating technology in art today and the convergence of all the different medium coming together, I think it’s very representative of the twenty first century and global identity.”

When addressing the benefits of the converging mediums, Vera adds, “I think it’s great, different mediums coming together, because they all offer different perspectives.”

Professor Kenneth Kaplowitz, whose work focuses on photographing bird droppings, explains his motivation for his project.

“I’m exploring the things that are right in front of us,” he said. “I’m trying to make art wherever I go.”

Kaplowitz also offered advice to those in the midst of their own artwork or photography — “carry your camera wherever you go. It will train you to look at the world.”

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