New School Year, New Faculty Work

Huntington Beach by Barry Underwood

It’s one of the unofficial markers of the start of the new academic year: the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Faculty Exhibition. The 2019 show opens Thursday, August 29, and remains on view in Reinberger Gallery through October 6.

“It’s equal parts a welcome-to-CIA tradition and an extraordinary overview of recent work by our current faculty,” said Nikki Woods, director of Reinberger Gallery. “An essential part of our mission is to support the curriculum of our faculty through thought-provoking exhibitions, and the faculty show does just that.”

Here are a few artists whose work will be on view.

Associate Professor, Photography + Video

What most interests you in your studio practice? For the past seventeen years, my creative practice has focused on the American landscape and the ways humans manage the land, use it and abuse it. Curiosity about the ecological and social history of specific places drives the ideas behind my work. I want to reveal the beauty and complex layers of an ordinary landscape in the same way a cinematographer or set designer turns an everyday scene into a memorable, visual experience.

What are you working on now? A series titled Linear Constructions, which began to take form while I was an artist in residence at The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in summer of 2018. The series consists of geometric shapes constructed in site-specific environments. These constructions, made specifically for the camera, play a visual push-and-pull with the two-dimensional picture plane and three-dimensional landscape images.

What are the main joys and challenges of being an artist who teaches? I view my teaching as a complement to my studio practice. In the classroom, I have the privilege of interacting with the emerging generation of artists, challenging them to make work that is culturally aware and capable of impacting local and global communities.

Assistant professor, Illustration

What most interests you in your studio practice? I love exploring new materials and working with collage. The endless possibilities of mark making inspire my curiosity.

Any notable recent achievements? I finished working on a cover, interior map and promotional material for author Konnie Peroune and the middle-grade fiction series, The Escapentures of Esperanza Mae Windborne: I Want a Dog!, released in July.

What are the main joys and challenges of being an artist who teaches? I love the collaborative process and mentorship role that teaching provides. We are fortunate to have such dedicated students. In many cases, I have had the opportunity to teach them as high school students in the pre-college program and then, years later, witness them walk across the stage at commencement as professional artists.

Professor, Foundation

What most interests you in your studio practice? The visual event or condition that is activated by a combination of material quality, color, pattern and disruption. The resulting artwork could end up being lively or minimal. I try to be responsive as I work, and what the work is about is something I usually discover in the making process.

What are you working on now? I’m on a black-and-gold binge and am working on a large quilt using very small fabric fragments with this palette. I’m also sewing pages for fabric books that will eventually form a library of “spare parts.”

What are the main joys and challenges of being an artist who teaches? I really appreciate being able to share my skills and experience with such enthusiastic and serious students! And of course, I learn just as much from them because the dialogue goes both ways and is always ongoing.

Lecturer, Photography + Video

What most interests you in your studio practice? In the past, I have used my camera to reveal things invisible to the landscape. While I am still interested in revealing the unseen pasts and tumultuous futures of landscape and culture, I am currently most interested in using my projects as catalysts for creating communities by creating budgets for production assistants and collaborative artists and musicians. The days of an individual studio practice with a direct line to gallery sales are over for most working artists, and it is the responsibility of the contemporary artist to include the voices of those stifled by art markets and other longstanding systems in this country.

What are you working on now? In collaboration with artists, musicians and activists in the Cherokee Nation, I (along with my film partner Michael McDermit) am currently working on a feature-length experimental documentary that examines the possibility of language extinction.

What are the main joys and challenges of being an artist who teaches? I appreciate my time in the classroom so much. It is a privilege to work with, teach and learn from my students. This part of my career keeps me on my toes and excited to research, which helps not only in lessons but in my own practice.

Lecturer, Glass

What most interests you in your studio practice, in terms of concepts, techniques or materials? The material itself is what always keeps me engaged. Glass is around us so much in our daily lives. It is both fun and challenging to use this material to express my ideas.

What are you working on now? Several pieces that are about the agricultural landscape in the Midwest, and in particular exploring honeycomb patterns in conjunction with their landscape.

What are the main joys and challenges of being an artist who teaches? The main joy of being a teacher is watching students develop their own language with a material and grow and mature as contributing professional artists. The only challenge is finding enough time to do everything in both teaching and personal art-making practice.


Cleveland Institute of Art

11610 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44106