Collage of Photos from School of Fine and Performing Arts

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The Artist's Influence: Faculty Art Reveals the Creative Process

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NEW PALTZ -- NEW PALTZ - The faculty of the Art Department at SUNY New Paltz are featured in an exhibition at the new Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Faculty Art includes works from all disciplines in the Department of Art at SUNY New Paltz. Viewers will be exposed to the broad artistic interests of the department including sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, and installations. Over 30 artists have contributed pieces, filling the Chandler Gallery of the museum. The exhibition is on view from January 30 to February 24, 2002.

Although the works in Faculty Art come from diverse disciplines, the exhibition aims at understanding something common to them all. Alongside the works on display are a variety of objects, all submitted with the artwork. These are source objects-the inspiration or motivating object for the piece. The exhibition offers viewers the unique opportunity to look beyond the artwork to the creative source, providing a glimpse into the artistic process.

Perhaps because the department represents many diverse approaches and artistic theories, source materials vary greatly from one work to the next. Professor Kristin Rauch provides six pieces, comprising two distinct, but related projects. The artistic process behind the two final 20 by 24 inch photographs is evident through the source objects hanging next to them. On one side, a twined bag made from hand-spun and dyed pandanus, called a dilly bag, hangs above a picture of an aboriginal painting depicting a mythical woman with 15 dilly bags. The final work, "Granite Intrusion," is the next logical step in this series of abstractions, moving from the "real" handbag, to its mythical representation, to the photo of natural stone that merely resembles the texture and color of its creative source.

Painting Professor Amy Cheng's work is literally a product of its sources. In a work titled "Time (The Revelator)," Cheng applied wax over an image called "How to Read the Lines of the Hand." The image, medium and technique were all gathered from Cheng's students' work. "I believe that once you use it," says Cheng of artistic processes and methods, "you make it your own." Cheng's cites her constant contact with students as one of the creative sources in her work.

While some of the works on display closely resemble their source objects, and the creative inspiration is clear, others require reflection, stimulating the viewer to consider the artistic process underlying the work.

A five-panel work reminiscent of technical sketching exercises hangs in one corner of the room, placed next to a small plate displaying a page from Lu Bro's drawing handbook, Figure and Form. Below the page, artist Robin Arnold includes a statement explaining the source for her contribution: "A quirk of my vision makes me tend to reverse-read positive and negative shapes when I first encounter them," she writes. "I see what is not there before I realize what is actually there (usually something much more mundane than I'd imagined)." Alongside the source material, the final work clearly conveys this positive-negative reversal, forcing the viewer to look both at what is and what is not there-space and form.

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Friday, 12-4pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4pm. There is no admission charge. For further information please call the SDMA at 845/257-3844 or visit them online at

Participating Artists Felipe Ariza Robin Arnold Joan Barker Jamie Bennett Melissa K. Braggins Amy Cheng Jeff Crane Francois Deschamps Cynthia Dill Ed Felton James Fossett Kathy Goodell E. K. Jeong Jeff Johnson George Laws Carmen Lizardo Clifton Meador Aura Messé Susan Miller Myra Mimlitsch-Gray Wayne Montecalvo Itty Neuhaus Joe Ramos Kristin Rauch Mary Roehm Thomas Sarrantonio Lisa Stinson Suzanne Stokes Suzy Surek Pamela Wallace Ruth Wetzel Alice Wexler John Williams - 30 -