Fontbonne faculty’s talent, variety on display

‘Expulsion’ by David Newton

By Sarah Weinman

The Faculty Art Exhibition at Fontbonne University is just what you’d expect from fine arts faculty members: well-crafted, thought-provoking pieces in every medium you can think of.

Andrew Brandmeyer visualizes anxiety in a fascinating way through his oil on canvas piece titled Exposed. It is 36 by 48 inches, large enough to make viewers feel like they’re part of the scene, and depicts a red-haired woman in jeans, a tank top, and a jacket. She stands in a kitchen, almost in the corner as if avoiding something, with her back to the counter, grasping its edge. She appears to gaze out of a window at the left but her eyes seem unfocused. Everything in the painting, from the cabinets to items on shelves in front of the window, is ordinary except the woman herself. Dabs of color, exact shades of her skin, clothes and hair, fly off her as if she’s disintegrating. The title may provide a clue — perhaps she’s physically hiding from something, but she can’t hide psychologically.

Another psychologically probing piece is The Expulsion by David Newton, a 14-inch-high sand-colored terra cotta sculpture of Adam and Eve after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Adam cowers on a rocky outcropping, head bowed, his right arm covering his face. Eve kneels on the ground, her head on Adam’s thigh and her right arm around his waist. She drapes her left arm over his leg.  Adam drapes his left arm over her shoulder. The roughly sculpted figures are barely identifiable as male or female except for their different sizes and the barest difference in body types. The coarseness of the terra cotta, combined with the figures’ grief, implies they will crumble into dust, unable to bear God’s rejection.

Susan A. Reid’s Basket II can also be seen as a psychological study with regard to viewers’ expectations. She constructed the 12-inch-high piece from reeds and cane. On a wooden base perches a three-cornered basket from which grow three bulging arms woven with sporadic bands of color such as pink, green, purple and orange. The end of each arm produces a set of colored tentacles which branch out like insect legs, each set piercing a neighboring arm. The work has an organic sensibility, almost like a living organism, and requires viewers to question what makes a basket a basket. 

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The Faculty Art Exhibition is on view at the Fine Arts Gallery at Fontbonne University, 6800 Wydown Blvd., through March 20. The Fine Arts Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building at the southeastern end of campus. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.; and closed Sundays. For more information, call 314-719-3580 or visit http://www.fontbonne.edu/academics/undergraduate/departments/finearts/fine_arts_gallery/