GVSU art faculty and students submit work to annual exhibition

By Sidney Selvig | 4/2/17 9:49pm

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Expression through artwork, representation and interpretation are significant aspects of our human experience. At Grand Valley State University, expression through artwork is valued and encouraged, as it can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new perspectives.

GVSU art department faculty members, Beverly Seley and Renee Zettle-Sterling, along with four of their students will have their best work showcased in this year's Metals 2017 exhibition, sponsored by the Michigan Silversmith's Guild Exhibition and curated by Gretchen Otto, professor of art and Brianna Wickoff. They are joining 10 other schools in celebrating the excellent creative student production with the some of the best works in the area.

The exhibition will be on display until Tuesday, April 11, at the University Gallery in the Eastern Michigan University Student Center. The venue's location is 900 Oakwood St., Ypsilanti, Michigan, and is free to the public. Gallery hours are Monday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Metals 2017 exhibition is dedicated to facilitating the connection between faculty and students, encouraging them to get acquainted with each other and fostering relationships that can be cultivated in the future. To reiterate the importance of collaboration, faculty and student work will be showcased together.

The exhibition displays over 60 pieces from 11 regional schools from Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Instructors were invited to choose their own work as well as several pieces of their students' work. The event allows students and instructors to see what is happening at other institutions.

“This exhibition is really about the students and what they are accomplishing,” Zettle-Sterling said. "This exhibit can spark curiosity and excitement and an opportunity to make connections and exchanges.”

An invitation to participate was extended to institutions that have jewelry and metalsmithing programs. At GVSU, Zettle-Sterling and Seley chose work from Tabatha Gulino, Jillian Thompson, Betsy Vollmar and Audrey King.

Seley’s piece is a container designed to hold things that bother individuals.

“We all get frustrated and stymied by things we cannot control. This reliquary has a small sterling net to capture those things and put them safely away in the container so one can move on to the positive.” Seley said. “I think the space a person occupies offers a context for the work that is personal as well as universal. It allows the piece to come alive within a daily life. The wearer brings another layer to the piece giving it additional interpretations.”

The significance of the exhibition is to inform the public of the variety of work being made in the contemporary metalsmithing field. Pieces in this year’s show displays the broad spectrum of work from traditional to Avant Garde, because the public often believes that the pieces available in jewelry stores are the creations being made in a studio art jewelry program.

“To understand and appreciate the scope of work being done in the field including the concepts, the materials and the techniques. The work speaks to contemporary culture and issues from nature to conservation to race to memory and loss,” Seley said. 

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