Art faculty exhibition showcases talent

Featured Image: Left to right: Professors John Rudel, Phil Guilfoyle and Joyce Howell stand in the Neil Britton Gallery. Carley Tantlinger | Marlin Chronicle

The 2023 Art Faculty Exhibition opened in the Neil Britton Gallery, located in Hofheimer Library, is running from March 3 through May. It features pieces from Art Department Professors Phil Guilfoyle, Joyce Howell, John Rudel and Sharon Swift.

Guilfoyle contributed a wide array of ceramics to the display, most of which are for sale. He said that he was not selling the pieces he liked the best because he wants his children to have some of his best work. 

“Not everything’s for sale in life,” Guilfoyle said. “Some things I like living with and that’s one of them.”

He talked about his process for firing pottery. Most of it was wood fired, which he said gave it a more ancient look, as it was not as uniform as modern firing methods. 

“The experience of the image is
up to the viewer. What do you see?”
Professor John Rudel

“This buildup of ash on the pot makes it look a thousand years old and it was just brought to life,” Guilfoyle said. 

To woodfire the pots, they actually have to be driven three hours away to a kiln in North Carolina. Then, a team of about a dozen people have to fire it around the clock for 36 hours. According to Guilfoyle, the effort is more than worth it for the unique result it gives. 

Rudel, who contributed mostly abstract art pieces, said that one thing he worked for in abstract art was the idea of multiple interpretations. 

“You’re looking at some suggestion of life, but they can be seen in a couple different ways,” Rudel said. 

Professor Sharon Swift poses with her piece, “Russian Sage, Carmelite Monastery, Santa Fe.”

Regarding his main piece, which looked somewhat like microorganisms or a galaxy, according to Rudel, he said that he had made it before COVID-19. He said that it could be seen as a micro or a macro view, depending on people’s viewpoints. 

“I was really just thinking about life and flat versus three dimensional space, so just color and light is what I’m thinking about,” Rudel said.

“The experience of the image is up to the viewer,” Rudel said. “What do you see?”  

Rising Tides, Rising Tensions exhibit is currently on display. Several VWU art students from the course Artist and Society, taught by Professors Howell and Shedd, have contributed pieces. The main artist was Renée Calway, but she had support from many people, including Kelly Jackson, who led the research. 

Professors group together in the Neil Britton Gallery.

The display is meant to show the race differences between areas most affected by flooding in Hampton Roads. 

“As the tides rise,  our community is seeing through a scope of truth which reveals socio-economic inequalities that lead to disparity in the neighborhoods most affected by flooding,” according to the authors website. 

The exhibit takes up the space of a small classroom, and is meant to be walked through. Newspaper clippings, artwork, and photographs of race relations, cover every inch of the walls as the viewer slowly proceeds through the exhibit.

By Victoria Haneline