By Jessica Broverman, Editor
On Wednesday Sept. 2, West Liberty’s Nutting Gallery held its first exhibition of this semester simply entitled, “Betty Rivard and Robert Schramm Exhibition.” The Gallery opening began at 5:30 p.m. that Wednesday evening with a large turnout from students, faculty, and staff.
Photographer Betty Rivard shared some of her thoughts on Schramm’s photography from the first time she had seen it, to the exhibition which they are now both a part of. “I fell in love with Dr. Schramm’s photographs when I first saw them at a friend’s gallery in Charleston years ago. I was particularly captivated by a view, which I think was of Venice, with the most incredible detail I had ever seen in a photograph. This piece was not in the current exhibit, but the others I kept returning to include a still life with pears and two scenes of Paris, one of the Petit Point bridge and the other of rooftops. His technical skills in using alternative processes produced amazing results,” said Rivard.
One thing that many took notice of was the flow of the photographs and how they complimented each other, rather than having the two artists separate their work in an abrupt way. “Bob Villamagna invited me to select photographs from my own portfolio and he chose the other photographs from the collection of Dr. Schramm’s widow. I was impressed at how well they all worked together. Dr. Schramm’s photographs combined a mastery of techniques with his fine eye for composition and detail. My photographs were geared more toward my mission of showing the beauty and individuality of everyday scenes in our state,” stated Rivard.
Photographer Robert Schramm passed away last year at the age of 81 at his West Liberty home. Though he is no longer with us, he lives on through his photography. Schramm graduated from West Liberty State College, now West Liberty University. His and Rivard’s photos exemplify the beauty that is West Virginia. Whether you reside in the friendly state or are just passing through, you cannot deny the gorgeous country roads and fresh air that through these photos seem to be present in the room.
Rivard went on to say why she believes West Liberty students should pay a visit to the Nutting Gallery this September for this photography exhibition. “With the use of smartphones and devices, and digital cameras, photography has become highly accessible to almost everyone. It is also a shorthand way of communicating what is going on in our lives and things that interest us. My fine art landscape photography is still done with film cameras, but I love capturing an image with my iPhone and zapping it off to someone. So my guess is that many students are using photography every day as they go about their lives,” said Rivard.
She continued to say, “Beyond this, I suggest that photography is particularly valuable in two ways. First, it gives us a direct window into the past, which, in turn, gives us insight into other people’s lives and our own history and how things have changed. Second, it allows us to share our own views of the world. I have seen some spectacular photographs from students of all ages that show me things that I would never even think to put together or look at. This is very helpful in communicating across generations and cultures, and among our peers, since each of us is different and has something unique to offer that others can learn from.”
The Nutting Gallery provides the students, staff, faculty, alumni, and residents of West Liberty with thought provoking and quality artwork. There are a total of eight exhibitions during the academic year on the hilltop. To learn more, please call 304-336-8370. To see Betty Rivard and Robert Schramm’s photographs, be sure to pay a visit to the Nutting Gallery located in the Fine Arts building at WLU.