The University of Redlands Art Faculty Show returned in person, showcasing Together Again after being online in Spring 2021. The Peppers Art Gallery's first opening since the COVID-19 lockdown, the faculty group exhibition consisted of sculptures, digital art, and paintings.
The pieces reflected the theme from the show’s name and focused on re-establishing the connection between students and Art Department professors.
"We have faculty shows to open the gallery season so people, especially students, can see what their teachers do," says Professor Emeritus Raúl Acero. "I think it’s really important to feel you can walk into your class, teach, and say a lot of things, but I think it's really important for students to know that you also make art, which means that you're all in the same boat."
Professor and Art Department Chair Penny McElroy enjoys the faculty art shows, as they connect students and art professors their perspective as artists. "We feel it's important for art students to understand that the people they're working with are producing, active professional artists as well as teachers," says McElroy. "So [I ask myself] and I think most faculty [do], too, ‘What [out] of my new work is going to be the most interesting to the students?’"
Both Acero and McElroy displayed pieces of work in Together Again from their individual areas of expertise.
Acero displayed sculpted clay heads, also called "Almitas," representing Indigenous Mexican and Latin American people.
"The work I'm doing now is focused on a lot on these clay heads that I'm making, like in the exhibit here at the gallery, I surrounded each one of these three heads with a halo that comes from antiquity, says Acero. “The center [blue] head is fractured, like humanity and the planet. To the left and right, you have two brown heads, and I wanted to elevate images of Black and Brown people and highlight the human aspects of who we are and bring this forward and up."
McElroy's exhibit included graphic pieces consisting of composited images layered over video. "I'm pretty proud of them because when I first started working on that, I didn't know for sure if they were going to work at all,” she says.
While the in person Together Again show is now over (but still available digitally), both professors hope students will always feel welcome at the Peppers Art Gallery.
"If people are interested in the ideas, or the techniques or whatever, it's really a pleasure to talk about it,” says McElroy. “So our wish, honestly, is that nobody feels intimidated entering the gallery. I hope that who haven't felt invited would take seriously that it's a real open invitation."
The next Peppers Art Gallery show will be an exhibition created by two alumni within of the Art Program, Jim Callans '96 and Justin Prough '95. The exhibit, titled Reverie, will open on Tuesday, October 19, with an opening reception Wednesday the 20th from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. There will also be a special reception during Homecoming and Family Weekend, which will feature an artist’s talk on Saturday, October 23. All students, faculty, and alumni are welcome to attend.
Learn more about studying studio art at the University of Redlands.