Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Faculty (No) Show - postscript post

Clockwise from left: Wendy Croskrey (sculpture): Penny Wakefield (fiber arts):
Baggs McKelvey (drawing): Jim Brashear (ceramics)
Alas, I had to miss out on the reception for the semesterly faculty exhibition in the UAF Art Department (went home and drew instead). But it brought up an interesting point to ponder in retrospect: what would be the options for folks who couldn't make the gig, or were at least interested in viewing some of the creator's works on-line?  
So of the eighteen faculty members with works in this show, only six have their work represented on their own* dedicated websites:

Charles Mason - photography 
David Mollett - painting (some samples here)
Mike Nakoneczny - painting
Akanit Nakoneczny - foundations (some samples here) 
Todd Sherman - painting + printmaking
Jessie Hedden - painting (some samples here)
Igor Pasternak - painting
Miho Aoki - computer art
Da-ka-xeen Mehner - Native Arts
Jack Finch - metalsmithing
Teresa Shannon - ceramics
Annie Duffy - foundations
Wendy Croskrey - sculpture
Penny Wakefield - fiber arts
Baggs McKelvey - drawing
Laura Hewitt - drawing
Jim Brashear - ceramics
Faculty not appearing in this exhibit:
Mareca Guthrie foundations / Nancy Boyer - foundations / Heather Neal Kasvinsky printmaking / Erica Lord - foundations / Mary Goodwin - Art History

The question here is, is this a crucial asset for a professional, contemporary artist, regardless of their respective medium? Not only is the answer yes, art teachers should arguably be held to higher standards, and be examples of the potential marketing opportunities on the internet, at the very least maintaining a viable, visible and relevant presence on-line. 
There's a stage in my own relationship with many art students, particularly at the advanced level, and peers within the community, when critiquing isn't so much about their individual craftsmanship and personal production or disciplined work ethic (it's assumed both of these areas are a given): the issue instead becomes what are you doing with your work? Where is it? Where can it be seen? I frequently default to a functional definition of visual art, in that it should be seen, above and beyond satisfying curiosity about the person behind the pieces, be it process, philosophy or trivia.

This isn't to say artists cannot produce exemplary works within their own fields and not be in the series of tubes, and by no means does it diminish the quality or value of their work just because it doesn't exist outside of a limited, physical gallery space within a tightly restricted time-frame. In fact, the UAF Art Department boasts of some of the most amazing talent ever assembled in Fairbanks, let alone Alaska. That said, one would think especially within academia, ignoring the potential of the on-line arena isn't much of an option anymore. 
Lastly, some invaluable input and sage advice from a cohort pointed up yet another important aspect of this question:

"WHY students/artists should take advantage of the Internet:
presentation and control of their own work beyond institutions, being
available to a large audience, sending prospective galleries or
commission inquiries to a "resume" site thus avoiding having to answer
(waste time) a lot of stupid questions, the isolation of Alaskan
On the other hand, public displays (such as on some blogs) could very well serve as a red flag to avoid certain artists at all costs, on the street, in the gallery or in the classroom.

*Isolated and scattered examples of specific pieces were not counted. 
A cursory Google search with each artist's name was browsed for at least three pages-worth of results, then additionally refined with terms such as "art," "artwork," plus further qualifying terms (ex: "ceramics," "painting" etc.). 
If any were inadvertently missed I'll update this post with corrections, post-haste...


  1. "...and just generally keeping the voice of art alive in a world where it is quickly becoming...um....uh..." Excellent job, Jamie!

  2. Thanks - just glad that pull-switch wasn't yanked off your piece (like dangling a string in front of a room full of cats).
    "um... yeah.. whatever... I like it!"
    (paraphrasing but pretty close to an actual quote)

  3. Well it wouldn't have been the first time a room full of cats tried to yank my chain. But then, you illustrated so very well how to...um...deal with cats.

  4. "potential marketing opportunities"... Spoken like a true commercial artist. If i didn't have Google Alerts i would not even have known i was being dissed by the master-blogger. Money is good, art is better, but it can so easily be contaminated when one puts the art before the whores, i mean cart before the horse.

  5. No personal slight intended in a departmental critique: I suppose if I was represented half as well as some other folks I'd slack off on some of the other aspects. And blog more.
    Having none of those laurels, or steady employment for that matter, underscores and justifies my perspective on the "marketing."
    All depends on the pimp I guess, or in my case, if you're hitched to a damn moose.
    Now THAT'S contamination.