campus news and events

2013 Fall Faculty Exhibition Opens at the Marian Graves Mugar Art Gallery

Colby-Sawyer College's Fine and Performing Arts faculty will showcase ceramics, drawing, graphic design, mixed media sculpture, painting, photography and printmaking in its annual exhibition. The exhibition opens at the Marian Graves Mugar Art Gallery in the Sawyer Fine and Performing Arts Center on Thursday, September 19 and runs through Saturday, October 19. An opening reception will be held on September 19 from 5-7 p.m. Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public.

The fall exhibition features multiple art forms produced by faculty including: sculpture by Professor Loretta S.W. Barnett as well as a suite of 96 small drawings done in collaboration between Barnett and Colby-Sawyer alumna Diane Stendahl '80; oil paintings by Adjunct Professor Lucy Covello-Mink; works in clay by Associate Professor David Ernster; photography by Assistant Professor Nicholas Gaffney; figurative imagery by Adjunct Professor Douglas Harp; ceramics by Joyce J. Kolligian Distinguished Professor and Chair of Fine and Performing Arts Jon Keenan; sculpture and woodcut prints by Assistant Professor Mary Mead; paintings and mixed media by Adjunct Professor Julie Püttgen: diverse media designs by Assistant Professor Hilary Walrod; and drawings and paintings by Associate Professor Bert Yarborough.

Professor Loretta Barnett's mixed-media sculpture “Laws of Chance: Gallery of Conception,” explores the elements of chance that take place during human conception. Like all of Barnett's work, the sculpture is based on her thoughts about nature. “Nature is the core of what I think about— Human nature, as well as the environment of the natural world,” explains Professor Barnett. “Each of my pieces describes a place, a mood, a time or situation. I have always been interested in objects that are concept-based and join the intellectual and physical aspects of nature and man—Laws of Nature, Laws of Chance and the Rule of Law are interesting jumping off places for my inquiries.”

Returning to the gallery for the fall exhibition is a popular display from this summer's faculty art show, a collaborative suite of drawings created by Professor Barnett and alumna Diane Stendahl '80. The artists began with stacks of blank paper and spent 18 months exchanging work through mail, analyzing and reacting to each other's marks, compositions, colors and shapes, and each time adding their own marks and conceptual vision to the works in progress. The resulting 96 drawings are examples of how back-and-forth of mark making and conceptual directions allowed each artist's individuality to rise to the surface.

Adjunct art professor Lucy Covello-Mink will showcase her oil paintings at the exhibition. “I am consumed by combinations of color and form as a visual, abstract diary of my life, where time does not belong to me, but to others,” says Professor Covello-Mink. “I frequently organize their things while they dance.”

Associate Professor David Ernster will exhibit a variety of forms, many of which will have engraved surfaces resembling hieroglyphics. “In my less functional and more sculptural work I have been interested in pursuing a sense of timelessness, often using map-like “drawing” and marks reminiscent of hieroglyphs or calligraphy,” says Professor Ernster.

In his “Falconiformes” series, photography and digital media Professor Nicholas Gaffney sought to show what plumages and talons and wingspans look like when caged and confined by featuring rescued birds living in captivity at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) in Quechee, Vermont. “As a photographer, I've always been interested in the intersections that spring up between man-made and natural worlds. So it made sense to use my camera to describe these magnificent creatures – hawks and owls, falcons and eagles, vultures and ravens – caught within an environment that, however necessary and well-intentioned, could never hope to replicate the limitless trees and skies they would normally inhabit,” Professor Gaffney says. “I didn't intend for these photos to be sad, for these birds wouldn't be here without a place like VINS. Yet there's a sorrow here that's hard to escape. Nevertheless, I hope that the birds' beauty can also be seen.”

Adjunct graphic design professor Douglas Harp's mixed media display is derived from figurative imagery that he sees in everyday situations. “I have been fascinated with faces. They appear in the little watercolor test blotches, and I have enormous fun drawing them out, as it were, with the tip of a pen. I see a proto-face in a little plastic yellow tag and have to complete it with a second eye, a nose and a splash of red to suggest lips,” says Professor Harp. “Or the Converse box, which, fortunately for me, some genius package designer had the idea to add sneaker air holes to…the face is right there—like Michelangelo's Pieta was there in that big block of marble—just waiting for me to tear it out.”

Distinguished Professor Jon Keenan will show several ceramic pieces that he says represent an extended and distilled engagement in wood-fired ceramics and concentrate on anagama wood-fired natural ash glazed ceramics. “I prepare my own clays and glazes with natural materials containing the subtle hues of nature,” Professor Keenan explains. “My firings take several days to achieve my desired effects and directly influence the patina and character of the work; the results can be exhilarating and rewarding,” Keenan adds.

Professor Mary Mead will display woodcut prints and sculpture at the exhibition. For her print work, Professor Mead turned to a process adapted from traditional intaglio that she refers to as “woodcut intaglio”— a process which produces incised lines and leaves raised ink on the surface of the print.

In addition to her print work, Professor Mead's sculpture “Since” will also be on display. Sculpture has always been a form of storytelling for Professor Mead and this endures with “Since.” “The chairs and their location and color, the interior vials and light, the frosted plexi and the image itself are somewhat disparate objects,” says Professor Mead, “but they combine to tell a story that, though personal to me, is non-specific to the viewer.”

Adjunct Professor Julie Püttgen will show her recent encaustic partings and mixed-media work at the fall exhibition. Professor Püttgen's characterizes her art as a response to “consumer culture's daily avalanche of bland, mass-produced things” and blends the unique approach of “befriending and praising the material world in paintings, books and mixed media works.”

Graphic design and digital media faculty member Hilary Walrod will exhibit textile designs, watercolors and product design samples, as well as her New Hampshire seasonal calendar and Farmers Market postcards. Professors Walrod's work in diverse media, though varied in process, form and material, finds a shared voice in sense of place. “My design practice takes on various forms and intentions as I work in a range of media on both client-based and self-directed projects,” she says. “Despite this breadth in my practice, there is a core common thread: sense of place. Sense of place is a compelling force for me. It drives my commitment to projects that relate humans and natural systems in meaningful and sustainable ways. It also inspires me to respond to the world around me, translating my observations and perceptions into visual works.”

Professor Walrod will have copies of the N.H. seasonal calendar for sale during the opening. Calendars may also be purchased by contacting the art office at (603) 526-3669.

Professor Bert Yarborough will exhibit drawings from his 1997 series “First Figures” that represent a period in his work during which the human figure emerged as a dominant force. The drawings, a merging of the mark and the figure, were influenced by time Yarborough spent in Nigeria, West Africa in the mid 1980s. Professor Yarborough says, “I wanted to approach the image directly using the language I had developed over the past two decades, working abstractly and iconographically.”

In addition to the drawings, Professor Yarborough will show paintings reflecting his effort to compose the architecture of the figure.

For more information about the exhibition, contact Loretta Barnett at (603) 526-3668 or For more information about the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Colby-Sawyer College, visit

Kellie M. Spinney, College Communications

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000