Every two years, the Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw Gallery hosts the Biennial Faculty Exhibit in conjunction with Weber State University’s department of visual arts.
The event is an opportunity for WSU faculty to display artwork and installations for the students, faculty and public. This year, the exhibit will open on Sept. 7, with a gala hosted by the DOVA and Shaw Gallery at 7 p.m. The gala and exhibit are both free.
“I think a lot of students are always interested in seeing what the faculty has been up to,” said Matthew Choberka, associate professor and chair of the DOVA. “The faculty will present their work to their students in the course of a semester and give a sense of where they’re coming from, but something we always talk about with students is that there is always a big difference between reproductions or photos or slideshows and the actual work.”
The exhibit will feature pieces from seasoned and new faculty members and is an opportunity for students to see the professional work their professors and instructors are creating.
“While we make quite a point of the faculty being professionals and showing their work in the studio area they’re involved in anyway, those venues might be in Salt Lake City, they might be fairly close, but they might also be in Los Angeles or New York or Canada or any number of other places around the country or beyond,” Choberka said. “For that work to come back to this really beautiful gallery space that other traveling artists shows are in or students’ shows are in is pretty exciting.”
The exhibit differs slightly from other exhibits hosted by the Shaw Gallery in that the gallery manager, Katie Lee, is not sure what to expect. Pieces are submitted from many different sources and can come at different times. Coordinating this exhibit isn’t as easy to plan, according to Lee.
“It’s kind of an interesting show to plan for in the sense that you don’t know what you’re getting into, so you just have to work with what you have, which is a little different than most exhibitions,” Lee said. “But any juried exhibition is kind of a similar situation where jurors might consider the work as a whole when they’re looking at objects or just at individual objects, and then you have to kind of make sense of how to display those objects so that it’s respectful to each of those kinds of works. It’s kind of an interesting show in the way that it comes together. It’s a big surprise.”
The faculty exhibit will feature a variety of media. Each professor has an individual artistic style. It is estimated that these professors teach more than 300 art majors and more than 3,500 students annually.
“The work is very high quality; it’s a very diverse body of work,” Choberka said. “You’re going to see pretty amazing examples from all of our studio areas. You’re going to have sculpture, drawing, painting, digital art, photography, sculptural installation. I think it’s probably a surprise to some in the community and student body, the quality of art that is done by this faculty.”
The Shaw Gallery is located in the Kimball Visual Arts Center. Its hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m.. The faculty exhibit will run from Sept. 7 through Nov. 23. For more information, interested parties can call 801-626-6420 or go to www.weber.edu/dova.
“I think it’s a rare opportunity for professors in other disciplines,” Lee said. “You don’t necessarily get to see their research. This is their research. This is what they do. So I think it’s a great opportunity for majors and non-majors, and I think for students who may be even marginally interested in the art and what we offer at Weber.”