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Visual arts faculty show Proof of Concept opens in Rozsa gallery

HOUGHTON — The Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Rozsa Center are excited to announce the fall gallery exhibition, Proof of Concept, a visual art faculty show. The exhibit runs Thursday, Oct. 10 through Saturday, Nov. 9 in A-Space, the Rozsa professional gallery. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 1-8 p.m. An opening reception will be held Friday, Oct. 11 from 5-6:30 p.m.

The exhibit showcases recent works of art by five faculty members from Michigan Tech’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts: Anne Beffel, Susanne Q. Kilpela, Terri Jo Frew, Lisa Gordillo, and Jess Portfleet. It includes painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and social practice art. A companion exhibit of Susanne Q. Kilpela’s drawings will take place in Michigan Tech’s Van Pelt and Opie Library, on the first floor. Visitors are encouraged to visit both the library and the Rozsa gallery to view the show.

The five artists are working in diverse media, and for many different reasons. Susanne Q. Kilpela, who teaches a variety of courses at Michigan Tech in ceramics, drawing, and art history, works in clay for “its delicacy and its strength.” She likes to discover beauty in unusual places and her work is inspired by nature’s forms. Jess Portfleet’s sculptures include ceramic forms, yet she focuses on reinterpreting objects and their use by staging objects in unusual ways. She says her work “explores complex human moments,” and to do that she makes use of scaffolding, props, and alternative methods of support.

Artist Anne Beffel teaches courses that focus on developing creativity, and runs a public art space in Wadsworth Hall known as The Studio Here Now.

Beffel finds that her work “underscores the role art can play in creating attentiveness, which is the foundation for empathy, inclusion, and fair access to resources.”

Her research emphasizes her vision for a “peaceful society in which individuals have equal access to resources and opportunities.”

Terri Jo Frew’s favorite materials are drawing and embroidery. She is interested in breaking down the boundaries people create between “art” and “craft.” She frequently combines these more traditional forms with conceptual ideas, and says that she hopes to challenge those “antiquated ideas about arts hierarchies” with her work.

Painter and sculptor Lisa Gordillo is focusing her current work on landscapes and borders. Gordillo is also the Rozsa Gallery Director, and is excited that the gallery has a chance to present works of art from the arts faculty.

“It will be wonderful for us to have a chance to share our work and our inspirations with students and the community, and to showcase the diverse kinds of art we make,” she says. Gordillo also notes that the faculty artists are often inspired by their students. Susie Kilpela also expresses this idea.

“People often ask me if my students have become inspiration for my work. What inspires me is their energy and their enthusiasm for life ahead,” she said.

Proof of Concept runs Oct. 10 – Nov. 9 in A-Space, the Rozsa Professional Gallery, and is free and open to the public.