The “Silence Is Not An Option” faculty art show opened Feb. 13 in Boswell Corner Gallery, featuring multiple members of the NIC faculty.
“Silence Is Not An Option” is the first themed faculty exhibition. The participants felt that the theme was socially relevant and allowed for many levels of interpretation. The theme allowed them to connect their work with each other’s while maintaining individuality.
“I’m hopeful that students will take away that you can have kind of a broad umbrella approach to a topic or a thematic work. There’s no right or wrong way to interpret the topic,” said Jessica Raetzke. “We all have a voice, even if our voice is not speaking to that thing. My voice is through photography.”
Priscilla Cooper hoped the exhibition would encourage students to feel more open about expressing their feelings and speaking up.
“I think it’s really interesting how they picked the topic because it’s something we really need to focus on right now and I think that it’s really cool. We need to make sure we’re heard,” said student Susanna Mendez.
Some faculty members had initial concerns about fitting into a theme. Donna Bain said that she struggled for the first month until she let go of the idea of a particular theme be the driving force of creation. She uses her work to communicate and that aided the creation process.
“I like how ambiguous it is and how it could be interpreted in several different ways. You can kind of see how everyone’s taken a different kind of approach,” said Jen Erickson, who teaches Life Drawing and Beginning Painting, among other courses.
Otis Bardwell called it a flexible theme and said that his work fits into the show conceptually. He made the point that the audience can take what they want from the art and its many nuances.
There were multiple interpretations of the theme. The common idea was that there is no strict message for what “Silence Is Not An Option” means. Michael Horswill explained that freedom is the key factor and to have a specific message would be restrictive.
“We felt that we’re coming to a period of time right now where the arts are threatened,” Horswill said. “One of the things we’re trying to do is reiterate the importance of that. The point is that we’re saying something.”
Megan Cherry’s collection, “Silence Contingent” focuses on being silenced and the feeling of being unable to speak.
“I think I was sort of responding to what I saw, and maybe continuing to see, as a sort of universal experience with silencing,” Cherry said. “That’s something in my work that I love about abstract, it universalizes.”
The opening reception of the art show followed a panel discussion with the artists from 5 to 7 p.m. Several students, faculty and community members were in attendance.
The show will run through March 25 in Boswell Corner Gallery. The gallery is open Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Fridays.