"Tin House" is among the many creations on display at the Faculty Art Exhibit.

"Tin House" is among the many creations on display at the Faculty Art Exhibit, available through Feb. 11, 2010.

Nutting Gallery at West Liberty University presents the annual Art Faculty Exhibition through Feb. 11, 2010. Art faculty members participating in this year’s exhibition are Brian Fencl, Paula Lucas, James Haizlett, Moonjung Kang, Paul Padgett, Nancy Tirone, Lambros Tsuhlares, Nancy Tirone, Robert Villamagna and Neal Warren.

“Each year the Art Faculty Exhibition features a theme, and this year, the art faculty voted to follow the theme of ‘buildings,’” Gallery Director Robert Villamagna said. “The theme idea does two things. It brings a freshness to the annual exhibition, and it shows students how ten individual artists each approach a single problem or idea, each in their own unique way and in a variety of media.”

As Jim Haizlett considered the word “buildings” for the faculty show, he was drawn to the concept of simplified buildings, or the types of shelter that might be found in third-world countries. For one of his pieces, he has constructed a full-scale tin shack in the Nutting Gallery, similar to an actual structure that might provide shelter for a family of seven or eight people. He scrounged the tin and boards from the side of the road and from a rusty old shack on his family’s farm. His goal was to build the shack for less than $3.00, and to make it structurally sound enough to withstand the elements. After the show he will reassemble it at his home and use it to store equipment. “I admire people who can make something out of nothing,” Haizlett said. “I can’t imagine the conditions that some people live under, and yet, you see people finding bits and pieces of refuse and making a home out of it. I think everyone wants to have a building that they can call their own.” Haizlett, Associate Professor of Art, teaches graphic design courses at West Liberty.

“The repetition and rhythms of windows have always intrigued me,” said Paul Padgett, Professor of Art. “My work, View from Eternity, is a series of silk screened panels that can be arranged in multiple variations to produce the effect of rows of windows in a building. The blue to white gradients create a feeling of deep atmosphere. The viewer may be looking out or in at the same time.”

Another work by Padgett is titled Frank Gehry’s Cocktail. “This digital collage was inspired by the Architect Frank Gehry’s Disney Center in Los Angeles,” states Padgett. “Here it is transformed into a whimsical concept for the interior of his kitchen, complete with a counter top for a summer cocktail.

Photographer Neal Warren is an adjunct faculty member. One of his photographs is titled Forgotten, and that title also becomes an underlying theme of Warren’s work. “My work will focus on aspects of buildings/architecture that typically go unnoticed, or may be looked at in a new way,” says Warren. “In much of my personal fine art photography, I try to challenge viewers to see the world just a bit differently. Still photography is uniquely suited to this end because it forces us to stop and examine a scene or moment in time in detail. This is something we tend not to do in the hustle of everyday life.”

“The theme started me thinking about architecture,” said Brian Fencl, Associate Professor of Art, “and architecture is the ‘Science of Building.’ This started me thinking about the history of buildings, the tools needed, the teamwork involved and the toys we first build with. What has been enjoyable for me with this group of paintings is that I was able to use the theme to expand what I normally do. Often times we repeat ourselves as artists, and using a theme is a way of injecting new ideas into our work,” Fencl said.

“I don’t always like the theme we come up with, but I do like the theme concept itself,” Assistant Professor of Art Villamagna said. “A theme causes me to narrow my focus by setting limits, and in turn, forces me to be more creative.” One of Villamagna’s pieces is an assemblage of a winged house on wheels titled The House Isn’t There Anymore. “I was thinking about houses that have been torn down to make way for public works projects. These are houses that were once filled with energy, people, and pets; where families grew, friends were entertained, and holidays were celebrated. This piece is a kind of shrine to those houses that no longer exist, and the people who lived in them.”

All exhibitions at the Nutting Gallery are free and open to the public. The Nutting Gallery is open 8:30 a. m. to 2:30 p. m. weekdays; evenings and weekends are by arrangement. For additional information contact Villamagna at 304-336-8370 or at [email protected]