Glowing Review Gelb Gallery Faculty Exhibition

Though widely varied in style and medium, every one of the different pieces in the Faculty Art Show can be described as intrinsically organic and natural. Each piece showcased in the Gelb Gallery contains a unique connection to nature. Therese Zemlin’s lattice-like structures are evocative of a forgotten snakeskin or even a spider’s web. The lush meadow scene painted by Gail Boyajain showcase hundreds of carefully rendered flora and fauna. Thayer Zaeder’s wide vases are organic in form and carefully textured. Etchings by Emily Trespas show meticulously rendered combinations of rabbits, foxes, and other animals in Rorschach-like ink blots. Finally the photography of Stephen Wicks focuses on elements of our environment that are commonly overlooked. Aptly titled “Culture and Nature,” the series includes images of a lone rock in a parking lot and lily pads floating on a glassy surface of a man-made canal. The multifarious works of art by talented faculty artists reveal diverse meanings and sources inspiration. Boyajain’s expansive painting has a quality reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch with a stunningly peaceful waterscape in the background and a foreground lush with animals, people and ruins nestled into the hilly terrain. Boyajain said, “I really wanted it to send a message of peace. That’s really the overarching theme.” Boyajain said that her inspiration for Peaceable Kingdom came from three outlets: Fresh Pond in Cambridge, MA, ancient ruins she saw in her travels through Turkey and the depiction of a peaceable kingdom by Edward Hicks, an early American painter. Boyajain said, “When I thought of the painting, I saw in the foreground Fresh Pond, where I walk everyday, and then in the distance the mysterious and beautiful ruins of Turkey.” Boyajain’s care to detail is impressive, depicting plants native to Fresh Pond. She also explained that the birds in the foreground are an element apparent in most of her paintings. Zaeder is equally attentive to detail in his terracotta pots. In an email Zaeder wrote to the Phillipian, “I am inspired by lots of different things, mostly the forms of nature, seed pods, marine life, the shapes and forms that are all around us.” Some of his pots are large and unadorned, unique in their simplicity and natural shape, while others have strips of detailed texture. For example, the piece “Tuxedo Pot” has a spine-like form down the front, covered with small, precise, dots. Zaeder said, “I suppose my style is a very precise attention to the contours, silhouette and juxtapositions within a form. My work tends to be obsessive and meticulous, hopefully with all the good connotations that those words convey.” Trespas, whose artwork combines ink blots withdetailed images of woodland creatures, was inspired by the story, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The ink blots are symmetrical, yet still irregular in comparison to the realistic and precise animals. She said, “I visually alter and combine the heads and bodies of different animals to form new ones.” Trespas explained that she hoped to show the duplicity of nature with the contrasting cream background and dark prints, as well as the “humorous and horrific coupling between animals and ink blots.”