In close proximity

By: Gopika Nair, Copy Editor

At Ohio Wesleyan University, the chill of December doesn’t dampen art.

Seven studio arts professors from OWU’s fine arts department created works for the “In Close Proximity” exhibition, which will run from Dec. 1 through Jan. 31 at OWU’s Ross Art Museum.

An artist reception was held on Dec. 3, which was open to students and faculty members. The exhibition features a variety of artistic media such as clay, metal, photography, printmaking, sculpture, painting, drawing and computer design.

Participating faculty members include Kristina Bogdanov, Cynthia Cetlin, Frank Hobbs, James Krehbiel, Justin Kronewetter, Jeff Nilan and Jonathan Quick.

Nilan, associate professor of fine arts, said the Ross Art Museum displays faculty members’ recent works every other year to share their works and research with the community.

“It’s a fact that we are engaged with our works in our studio and I think that breeds more effective and engaged teaching,” he said. “When we’re actively involved in doing things that we teach, I think that creates a more direct connection to what we’re [teaching] our students.”

Most of Nilan’s photographs that are on display at the exhibition were taken within the last two years, he said. The photos are also part of an ongoing project concerned with soft Western Iowa.

“I usually try to touch upon that project in every faculty biennial,” he said. “This time around, it was minimal.”

Instead, his primary focus was on landscape and figuring out how to perceive it.

Each faculty member explored something different in their pieces. Cynthia Cetlin, professor of fine arts, experimented in creating forms, patterns, textures and color by working with wool and silk, she said in her artist’s statement.

“I am fascinated with the repetitive technique of covering an entire fabric with closely hand-stitched rows that are pulled board­-tight and knotted, then dyed or steamed,” she said.

In her statement, she described the process of preparing work for public view as “risky” as well as “inescapable and thrilling.”

“I am an ardent learner, always drawn to new techniques and to materials that are new to me. A constant in my life has been the desire to create body adornment and to develop knowledge and technical mastery.”

Sophomore Ellen Sizer said during the reception that the pieces that grabbed her attention were “Silver River of Nymphs­Naissos” and “Gold River of Nymphs­Naissos” by Kristina Bogdanov, an associate professor of fine arts.

Bogdanov said the pieces were inspired by her birthplace and the legend and folklore of Balkans.

Other pieces by Bogdanov include “6 Hours Difference ­ Skype Conversations” and “Surreal Letters to my Sister.”

“In general, all of my work is inspired by my family,” Bogdanov said. “They are the inspiration and motivation, the provide me the experience and understanding of life and life values. Through the exploration of shapes, color, drawing marks or simply different materials, I try to visually communicate the stories related to my family or relationships within a family.”

Jillian Maruskin, a librarian at OWU, said during the reception that it’s important for faculty to showcase their work.

“They’re the ones teaching our students, and students have to feel like they have good mentors,” Maruskin said. “[Students can also] see what it’s like to be living, working artists.”

During the academic year, the Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum to view “In Close Proximity” is free.