Sophomore Claire Howell enjoys the numerous ceramic pieces on display at the Arts Faculty Show. Photo: Kathryn Hood

A walk down the hall at the back of the theater in the Pace Fine Arts Center elicits looks of amazement and admiration at the new art exhibit. It’s a typical art show, but with a twist. The paintings, photographs and ceramics are all made by Pace Academy’s very own art faculty. The Art Faculty Show opened Feb. 13, showcasing works by lower school art teacher Susan Edwards, middle school art teachers Katy Cowles and Anna Murphy and upper school art teachers Donice Bloodworth, France Dorman and Mark Knott. 

The Art Faculty Show gives students a chance to appreciate and draw inspiration from their teachers’ artwork. It also offers a chance for teachers to continue their practice of art alongside students. “It makes us better teachers because we are engaged and learning art and not just teaching it,” said photography teacher Mr. Dorman. “It’s important for students to see the work of the teachers and to know that they can do work of that quality even at this level.”

Ms. Edwards is exhibiting a series inspired by Barbie furniture and old walls of Barbie Dream Houses. Her three pieces are based on old retro Barbie pictures, using wood panels and water color, glitter and colored pencil, each taking her three weeks to make. These pieces are a diversion from her usual loose oil painting, as she aims for a more perfectionistic and graphic design look. “I’m really excited about my series because it’s kind of a new direction for me and a new medium that I’m working with,” said Ms. Edwards.

Ms. Cowles used her art to experiment with new ideas. Her paintings reflect her time spent at an art camp where she learned Japanese painting styles and techniques. In her paintings, she used minerals and crushed oyster shells to make shiny paint and used “fancy Japanese paper” as well as an interesting binding glue.

Ms. Cowles is inspired mainly by people around her, so she enjoys the art show and sees it as a benefit for students. “Every teacher at Pace has such a different style and you can get attracted to different teachers’ artworks,” she said. “Then, you might want to take their classes after seeing their art.”

Mrs. Murphy uses nature to inspire her art. In past years she has always done something related to nature and will continue this theme throughout 2019. She is displaying four small watercolor pieces from a series she did last year and a landscape of Atlanta in acrylics.

Mr. Bloodworth, who teaches drawing and painting, is displaying a continuation of his series “Naturally.” The paintings on canvas focus on the celebration of natural hair on people of color. “It’s a conversation I’m trying to have with my audience about being a natural person and not trying to appeal to standards set by other people,” he explained. Though many students know his series of paintings from past years, this year he is focusing more on who the person is, causing more parts of the face to be showing.

He sees inspiration everywhere, from artists on social media to ordinary life around him. Mr. Bloodworth enjoys the fact that the art show allows students to be able to see their teachers working in their respective fields. He hopes it will provide inspiration for them in the future.

Mr. Dorman is exhibiting sculptures. “I call them ‘New Realities’ because they’ve never consisted like that in the history of the world,” he said. Mr. Dorman used a Japanese technique, an “anagama kiln,” to fire the pieces, which took him many tries to perfect. To create these pieces, he sometimes makes models, but most of the time he lets his work unfold as he creates them.

Taking inspiration from a professor at the University of Florida, Mr. Dorman is also showing interpretive photographs that display “visual metaphors.” “I like to take ideas and juxtapose them into meaningful relationships and connections that become visually pleasurable and intellectually challenging,” said Mr. Dorman. He likes his art to be abstract and non objective, and hopes this will encourage students to interpret art more.  

Ceramics teacher Mark Knott also experimented with new ideas in the pieces he has on display. For him, the Art Faculty Show offers a chance to take risks in his art. “The pieces that I try to make for small shows typically aren’t the type of work I make for show regularly,” said Mr. Knott. “You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, and ideally as an artist you just keep trying new things.”

This year Mr. Knott continues his tradition of creating a piece of collaborative artwork with a student. He made a piece a few years ago that a group of students used graffiti to design. Mr. Knott enjoys creating art with little narrative or metaphor and tries to create many different pieces that work well together.

Although the art show displays many beautiful works of art, many teachers expressed concerns over turnout levels. “I unfortunately don’t think many people come to it,” said Ms. Cowles. “However, I love having it nonetheless.” The exhibit is up until March 7 in the FAC.

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