Five Houghton College faculty artists will present a collaborative exhibit from January 11 through February 8, 2019, in the college’s Ortlip Gallery. The gallery, located in the Center for the Arts, is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. An opening reception on Friday, January 11 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. will launch the exhibit. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public.
This faculty invitational exhibit represents select works of five faculty from the Art and Communication Departments: Ryann Cooley, associate professor of digital media and photography; Aaron Harrison, instructor of art; Ted Murphy, professor of art; John Rhett, professor of art and chair of the department; and Alicia Taylor-Austin, assistant professor of art and printmaking.
In describing his inspiration for Alterare in Costruzione, a cotton fiber, digital pigment print (2018), Professor Cooley says, “During recent travels, I walked the streets of Athens, Venice, Florence and Rome capturing quiet moments of a near timeless setting. These images carry an undertone of times gone by yet assert a concreteness of the present—the now.” Cooley’s work in fine and applied arts, photography, video, sculpture, and installation has garnered him several awards. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Brooks Institute of Photography and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Aaron Harrison says of his contribution, “My work focuses on form, function and a blend of mediums to create vessels that are both utilitarian objects and sculptural forms. Timeless materials like clay, wood and metals are joined with an attention to fine details: handles, knobs and points of connection. Sometimes, the surface of a piece is covered with hundreds of repetitive forms to create an alternate surface experience and elevate what would be a mundane form to one that is sculptural.” Harrison earned a Bachelor of Arts from Houghton in 2001 and an Master of Fine Arts from Marywood University in 2006. Harrison is also an instructor in the Binghamton Community Clay Program and owns and operates Aaharison Ceramics in Binghamton, N.Y.
Ted Murphy’s pastel on paper—October Light (2018)—is a response, he says, to French painter and printer Pierre Bonnard’s works, specifically Landscape in Normandy (1920) and A Path in the Forest (1919). “My interest is in the play of shapes and light,” says Murphy. “Most of the works in the show reflect paintings in watercolor, pastel, or mixed watercolor and pastel. Subject matter is from my travels to North Carolina, the shore of Lake Erie, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, West Virginia, London and around Allegany County. My paintings are not intended to copy what I see but more how images are seen in what (William) Wordsworth called ‘elevated thoughts; a sense sublime, of something far more deeply interfused.’” He says his 13 paintings in the show are a “very select sampling of my studio output. I make about 150 paintings a year.” Professor Murphy has taught at Houghton since 1986. He has exhibited his works widely in galleries, museums, and private and public collections. He has received several academic awards and, at Houghton, is the Mabel Barnum Davidson Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts.
Alicia Taylor-Austin earned a Bachelor of Science in Studio Art with a concentration in printmaking from Roberts Wesleyan College and an Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies with a certificate in Arts Management from the Visual Studies Workshop in association with the SUNY at Brockport. She teaches in the area of print media and fiber studies. One of her pieces, With the Tides cotton, thread, ink (2018), reflects her studio and research practice. She says she is compelled by a desire to transform material by hand with a process that often involves printmaking, bookmaking, sewing, painting, drawing, design, photography, and video and sculpture. Her work in this exhibition will feature the most recent results of her explorations into these methods and materials. “My practice is built on a desire to observe and respond to the elements of the earth and what they have to teach us,” she says. “I'm interested in the cyclic patterns in motion on the earth and inside of the human body. I am a student of the natural world: looking, listening and feeling my way through life, attempting to build a framework for productive interaction with my surroundings.”
John Rhett believes the goal of art is “to provide perspective on the human condition. The arts are a language, different in kind but no less important than the verbal language we use every day.” He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and an Master of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. His oil paintings and watercolors are widely exhibited, and he lectures on topics in Western art that bridges Asian and Western art and participated in a seminar on British and American landscape painting at Yale University last year.