Southest Missouri State University art faculty display talents in River Campus exhibit

Thursday, October 23, 2008

For the next several weeks, Southeast Missouri State University art faculty will prove that they can do as well as teach.

Works by 10 members of the art faculty will be on display until Nov. 19 at the River Campus Art Gallery. The exhibit opens with a 5 to 7 p.m. reception Friday.

Benjie Heu, Southeast associate professor of art/ceramics, said the art faculty exhibition is important because it highlights the faculty and shows their caliber of work.

"For students it proves the artists practice what they preach in the classroom," he said. "It's the equivalent of someone in the music department having a recital."

One of his ceramic pieces, "Princess Pinata Party" will be displayed in the exhibition.

"I took six weeks to create the piece," Heu said. "The process included creating the wet work, allowing the clay to dry slowly, bisque firing it, glazing it and firing it again."

He hopes viewers will learn something about him and themselves from his artwork. "My work is a form of personal narrative. I'm a dad with two kids. My life revolves around the battle of raising two kids — a battle for time," he said.

Pat Reagan, Southeast art department chairwoman, said the participants are experts in their field of media and own creative research.

She said her art has no limitations. "I'm a sculptor. I think about material and structuring objects, not illusion. I think about how to build it."

Professor Katherine E. Smith, Southeast foundations coordinator, took a drawing from more than a decade ago and redid it. She partitioned the drawing with paint, pastel, oil crayons and pencil and tore it into four pieces, using two of those pieces.

"These are hybrid pieces," she said. "I take animal and plant characteristics and use them as a metaphor for humans. I always allude to the human figure. I've always felt people are more important than anything else on earth."

The show can be seen at the gallery from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and until 7 p.m. Nov. 7. The gallery will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for Southeast's homecoming weekend. For more information, contact gallery coordinator Emily Booth at

Photos by CHUCK WU

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