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Renewed focus: Gallery gives time, space to Wartburg art faculty

Renewed focus: Gallery gives time, space to Wartburg art faculty

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WAVERLY — For the first time in more than 10 years, works by Wartburg College art faculty members are being showcased in a new exhibition at the Waldemar A. Schmidt Art Gallery.

“We have student exhibitions, but I couldn’t find any faculty shows going back 10 years. I thought it was about time,” says new gallery director Johanna Kramer-Weston.

“Wartburg has a talented faculty, both on staff and as adjuncts, so I sent out an invitation for their participation. I was pleased by the response.”

Past and present faculty members are represented in the show now through Dec. 11. Among the roughly 50 pieces on display, viewers will find photography, paintings, drawings, jewelry and ceramics in a range of styles.

Barbara Fedeler, a Wartburg art professor recognized for her landscapes of northeastern Iowa, also explores vintage, mundane hand-held objects such as a vacuum cleaner and food mill through her drawings. “They are reminders of everyday tasks. The text on the objects is intriguing — labels, makers, manufacturers, household glamour, written in scripts of yesteryear that twinkle and disappear,” she writes in her artist statement.

Adjunct instructor Jennifer Bates’ boldly colored paintings, titled “Name That Dictator,” trivialize these dictators who are known violators of human rights and who have wielded absolute power. At the same time, she juxtaposes portraits of international students who have been impacted by these tyrants.

Christian Byrne’s conceptual jewelry, while lovely, also makes a statement that “just because you tell someone it’s gold, doesn’t make it anything more than brass.” Her “Liar” series reflects on false perceptions about social status.

Rick Knivsland’s ceramics transform Iowa’s rural structures — barns, sheds, granaries, silos — into clay architectural treasures. Thomas Payne’s photography represents images of Iowa or Io-Wa, “something kind of like Iowa, with images taken in Iowa, but rearranged according to the photographers. Because that is what photographers do,” reads his artist’s statement.

Other featured artists are David Herwaldt, who taught photography and graphic design at Wartburg, Brittany Deal and Kramer-Weston, who is displaying several of her encaustic pieces in the collection.

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