Art faculty present solo exhibitions

SYDNEY HAUER, Executive Editor

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Solo exhibitions by two professors in the art department are currently on view in the UNI Gallery of Art.

“Drop Shadow” by Aaron Wilson, printmaking professor, and “Visions” by Noah Doely, assistant photography professor, will be on view until Sept. 29.

According to Wilson, he thought his work would show well with Doely’s.

“I thought our work would show well together and I didn’t have enough work to fill this whole gallery space, so I thought, why not have this be a two person show?” Wilson said.

He asked gallery director Darrell Taylor about doing a show in the future, and there turned out to be an opening for the fall.

“I had been wanting to have an exhibition at UNI for a while, and I’ve also been wanting to see all of these bodies of work together,” said Doely. “I basically ended up having the exhibition because Aaron Wilson was showing his work and he asked me if I would do it as well.”

All of the artwork in Doely’s show has been made since he started teaching at UNI six years ago.   

“Perception is a theme that connects most of my work,” Doely said. “Thinking about the assumptions a viewer might have when they come to the work and how those assumptions can be destabilized in some way through the process of viewing the work or reading about it.”

An example of Doely’s work is a series titled “Above and Below,” which are photographs of cave-like structures built out of rocks inside of large, water-filled glass tanks, shot by a pinhole camera illuminated by a single light source with an exposure of anywhere from 24 hours to several days. 

The exhibition includes photography, sculpture, video and found objects as mediums.

“I’m interested in origins, especially origins that relate to science, art and myth in some way. Nature is frequently the subject of my work, but I am more interested in the way that nature is interpreted, measured and mediated. It’s all depictions of nature, but I am interested in the way that photography mediates perception.”

Doely explained that much of his work is about the relationship between seeing and believing, as well as authenticity.

“I called it ‘Visions’ because it is about the act of seeing,” Doely said. “How much can one discern from a visual experience? What do you actually know when you see something? Photography is very limited in the amount of information that it is providing to a viewer. Photography is kind of paradoxical in the sense that it is a tool to establish veracity.”

Doely will be giving an artist lecture titled “Degrees of Certainty” at 6 p.m. on Sept. 25 in Kamerick Art Building Room 111.

Aaron Wilson simultaneously holds two art-making careers. Aside from his solo work, he primarily works together with professor Tim Dooley on collaborative printmaking work. He explained that “Drop Shadow” is much different from their work together, and is mostly drawing based.

“It is work that I’ve been creating for 10 years, kind of off and on between working with Tim,” Wilson said. “I was just kind of moving stuff around in storage, and I thought, I think I probably have a show here.”

Wilson came to the title of the exhibition, “Drop Shadow” after thinking about potential titles for a while.

“Over time I thought about the black and white, and sort of the dark, noir quality of the work and I liked this idea of drop shadow; it’s a shadow of whatever the thing is,” Wilson explained. “The idea that you’re going to make something highlighted by putting darkness around it.”

Wilson felt as though the exhibition kind of served as an opportunity to put a cap on the specific body of work in the show.

“I just thought, there is sort of a mood to this work, and I also sensed artistically I am probably coming out of that desire to make that type of work.”

One of his favorite pieces in the show is titled Mensch, a charcoal drawing and screenprint of a mannequin head on a circular panel.

“The pieces that I’m still most intrigued with are the pieces that I have had to struggle over the most,” Wilson said. “That is the piece in the show that I’ve worked on the longest… It all stemmed from a photo I saw on eBay of somebody trying to sell a reproduction army helmet. They stuck it on the mannequin, took a flash photo right in its face, and I really liked that photograph.”

He ordered different mannequin heads and went through a process of trying to recreate the photograph, but couldn’t get it exactly right. He went through a multi-step process to finally get the piece to where he was happy with it.

“If it comes down to this specific exhibition, I would say if you’re thoughtful about what you see here, you’re going to find maybe some themes that have to do with history and repetition, and to some degree superstition too,” Wilson said.  “I am interested in realism and hierarchy as well.”

The UNI Gallery of Art is located in Kamerick Art Building and is free and open to the public. The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday or by appointment.

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