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Triennial exhibit features work by studio art and electronic media faculty

"Cell Phone Landscape #1. Rain Drops, Aberdeen, South Dakota," by Roddy MacInnes, is part of the Faculty Triennial opening Thursday in the Myhren Gallery.

Students in DU’s School of Art and Art History see their work exhibited regularly on the walls of the Myhren Gallery, but it’s only once every three years that the faculty gets the same treatment. The latest faculty triennial, running Jan. 19–March 11, features work by 16 DU faculty and adjunct artists working in everything from photography and sculpture to painting and video.

“This is the time when we pull out all the stops and try to include every single member of our studio art and electronic media faculty,” says Gallery Director and Curator Dan Jacobs. “And all but two of our current adjuncts are also included. Often we tap people from the local arts community as adjunct faculty, so it provides a nice sampling of some of the work that’s going on not just on the campus but more broadly throughout the Denver area. We have some really great work in both categories.”

Among those works are a series of pattern pieces by photography Professor Roddy MacInnes, interrelated sculpture and video by Associate Professor Sarah Gjertson and an electronic installation by adjunct Kevin Curry in which the giant neon word “and” only lights up when two people are standing on special pads on either side of it.

“I think it’s interesting the level of ambition and the scale of some of these projects. They’re significantly more complex in some ways than what we saw at the last triennial,” Jacobs says. “One of the things that’s neat about the academic environment for practicing artists is that there really is a research focus, and so they often tend to think longer term and carry on projects that parallel academic research in the degree of intensity and persistence.”

The triennial also features recent work by Lawrence Argent, the sculpture professor best known for public artworks like the big blue bear at the Colorado Convention Center. For the DU show Argent is bringing new sculptures inspired by organic forms, including a 4-foot-tall polished stainless steel piece that looks like a snow-covered Swiss Alp.

“These are not the kind of things you do back in your garage,” Jacobs says. “It’s really cool to see our faculty taking the big gamble on something like that and get such great results.

“What’s fun is that they come in assuming I’m going to limit them on space, and wherever possible I try to get their most ambitious piece and somehow shoehorn it in here,” he continues. “Lawrence said, ‘I have three monolithic sculptures in steel and stone, but you couldn’t possibly want all that.’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what I want.’ That worked out beautifully.”

The DU Faculty Triennial runs Jan. 19–March 11, with an opening reception from 5–8 p.m. Jan. 19. The Myhren Gallery is in the Shwayder Art Building, 2121 E. Asbury Ave. It is open from noon-4 p.m. daily.


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