Fort Lewis College has opened its gallery for the first exhibition of the academic year, the 2020 Faculty Biennial. The exhibition includes work by Paul Booth, Anthony Carton, David Cahoon, Chad Colby, Jay Dougan, Tony Holmquist, Julia Klema, Cory Pillen, Melissa Sclafani and Amy K. Wendland. Located in Art Hall on Fort Lewis campus, the show provides a taste of what faculty members have achieved during the past few months in quarantine, as well as past works that highlight their unique skills.
Social and political commentary are depicted in a variety of mediums, all of which come together in a unifying message to inspire action and activism amongst the student population. The exhibit includes a Zen garden made by Jay Dougan and Paul Booth centered in the space; a multi-metaphorical piece that ties in themes of isolation, social distancing, and escape from an anxiety filled year. Anthony Carton incorporates a clear message to any viewer about the importance of voting in his multilingual typographic piece entitled Vote. The theme of 2020 continues with Dougan’s Caution, a series of traffic cones made with a 3D printer that can serve to remind the community of the many cautionary measures to take in the coming months. Melissa Sclafani displays another remark on society and politics through mixed media using cactus needles to create a strong message to viewers. Her piece is accompanied by a video to demonstrate her artistic process and reinforce her view on power dynamics within human culture.
Abstract works by Chad Colby, Julia Klema, and David Cahoon bring liveliness into the gallery through their brilliant colors. Fort Lewis’s location near the La Plata mountains and many wilderness areas has inspired faculty members and students alike to draw from natural elements in their work. Colby’s bold oil and mixed media series demonstrate his technique in abstract painting, forming depth and movement through his layering of elements. A similar style can be noticed in Klema’s prints and drawings. Cahoon’s graphic representation using flower petals as his medium touches on the significance of the Native American population on campus by incorporating native symbolism through natural elements. Also highly influenced by nature, Amy K. Wendland includes four mixed media pieces to show how humanity is influenced by nature, and vice versa. Each of the four pieces carries its own visual story highlighting the important role nature plays in human history.
The Fort Lewis Department of Art & Design is not limited to the visual arts; the gallery presents examples of musical and literary talents as well. Tony Holmquist plays the fiddle in the bluegrass band, Six Dollar String Band. Two of his albums can be seen on display next to his print depicting childhood, memory, and impermanence. Cory Pillen also explores her multifaceted talents in her new book, WPA Posters in an Aesthetic, Social, and Political Context: A New Deal for Design, on display in the exhibition.