Faculty art displays hard work

Jamie O'Toole, Columnist

Faculty art of various styles covered the walls of the Art Museum during a public reception of the NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Biennial Exhibition held Thursday.

The reception allowed students to view professors’ work and attendees to bid on the artwork.

Paintings, photographs and textile designs welcomed visitors. The work of Stephanie Sailer, displayed in the back of the exhibit, stood out. Sailer, instructor and School of Art and Design adviser, had an interesting take on sculpting displayed on two blank white cubes reading “Do Not Touch.”

Sailer’s piece, labeled “Activation,” combines media captivatingly and cohesively. Sailer wanted to create a physical metaphor for the way in which humans constantly reinvent themselves, according to the explanation provided next to her work. Some pieces of ourselves seem to get lost and are replaced, representing self rediscovery.

Her sculpture is intended to represent something beautiful that captures the strangeness of life.

In the center of the room, instructors Justin Bitner and Angela Johnson collaborated to create “Idiosyncratic Juxtaposition: A Precious Circle,” a multimedia installation of objects left to them by family and friends.

Objects were arranged particularly to tell a story. A wooden ironing board, a glowing picture of two people just married, photographs with captions written on the back and other aesthetically pleasing objects compose the piece.

The installation elicits feelings of nostalgia without using standard art materials such as paints and canvases.

Bitner and Johnson wanted to use objects worn by the touch of human beings, according to the explanation provided next to their work.

Genetics, physical and emotional traits and memories may all be abstract, but the instructors’ installation was intended to make such concepts concrete, the explanation states. 

In the North Gallery of the exhibit, an auction took place. The highest price on art pieces was $300. An anonymous supporter decided to auction pieces from their collection so the NIU Art museum could benefit from funds raised. A few staff members included a few of their pieces in this section of the exhibit as well. All proceeds will go to the Art Museum. Bidding on pieces is from Jan. 23 until 2 p.m. Feb. 21.

Visitors will have the chance to dissect and interpret the works at the faculty art exhibit until March 18.

Editors Note: The Northern Star initially reported faculty had auctioned off their work and bidding takes place until 1 p.m. Feb 1.

The story should have read “the auction was mostly pieces from an anonymous donor and a few staff members included their pieces. Only works in the North Gallery of the exhibit are being actioned. The auction is open Jan. 23 to Feb. 21. Bidding will close at 2 p.m.”