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Professors’ personal work helps DSU students’ education

January 30, 2017

Professors in Dakota State University’s art department have been busy, not only with classes, but creating their own personal art.

Instructor Angela Behrends said that exhibiting her own art is important as an educator.

“It’s important to us to look at [art] from all sides of the process,” so having personal experience exhibiting artwork helps them to be able to guide the students through that same process.

Art, after all, “is all about communication,” she said, and having people see the artwork is necessary to complete that communication, which she described using basic art terminology. “Communication is a circle, not a line.”

Zhe Ren, assistant professor of Digital Arts and Design, has artwork featured in the book “New Media Art 2017: Back to Nature,” published by the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA) Museum in South Korea. His field is graphic art in digital design, focusing on the relationship between humans and nature.

ARTWORK OF Dakota State University assistant professor Zhe Ren has been featured in a book titled “New Media Art 2017: Back to Nature.”  His artwork focuses on the relationship between humans and nature.

“I like people to be more engaged with what I’m creating in the world.”

One work featured in the book is what appears to be a mountain, but a closer look proves that the mountain is a pile of plastic. “I like to overturn someone’s understanding about reality,” he said, “a relationship between what you see and what you want to believe.”

He was very happy to see photos of his work chosen by juried process for inclusion in the book. His work will also be featured in shows this spring at Stanford University, Oklahoma University, and in conjunction with an art conference in Kentucky.

These professional successes allow him to engage with his students about opportunities for them to reach out with their professional work, to represent themselves. “It’s good for students to see the many opportunities to relate what they do,” he said, “It’s encouraging for them.”

Dr. Alan Montgomery’s work, an exhibition titled, “Bog Cycles,” is currently being featured at the Jeschke Fine Art Gallery on the campus of the University of Sioux Falls. The gallery is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

WORK STATION – Dr. Alan Montgomery, art professor at Dakota State University, poses by his desk where he completes much of his artwork. Some of his pieces are being featured in three exhibits in the state, at the Jeschke Fine Art Gallery in Sioux Falls, at the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, and at the South Dakota Arts Council banquet next month in Pierre.

Montgomery’s 28 framed pieces, done in watercolors or ink, are on display through the month of March. An opening reception for the artist will be held at the gallery on Thursday, February 9th, from 4 to 6 p.m.

“Bog Cycles” was inspired by Irish poet Seamus Heaney. Montgomery lived in Ireland in the early 1970’s, during the time of civil unrest known as “The Troubles.” Heaney’s bog poems “revealed a certain truth,” for Montgomery, he said, and as an artist, it is his job “to poke around and examine those truths,” he said. 

He sees his show as a teaching tool, to leverage students’ skill sets to push them forward.

Students first need to learn the skills, Montgomery said, the facility of the craft. When those are under control, there comes a point when the artist needs to go beyond facility and start to make art, “weaving things together so the craft is more than just a craft. It becomes a part of you.”

Dr. Thomas Jones agreed that a professors’ personal work can provide a learning experience for students.

MOMENT IN TIME – Dr. Thomas Jones, DSU professor of arts and sciences, poses alongside some of his photography featured in a show at the Madison Area Arts Council Monday. Jones’ work and four other local artists will be featured at the Governor’s Awards in Arts banquet in February.

He said he initially teaches the rules of photography, things such as composition, but when students learn those skills they can move forward and learn when it’s appropriate to break those rules. 

He uses his own photography in his advanced classes to demonstrate that concept. He had encouraged his classes to come to the Madison Area Art Council show on Jan. 23, “to see what a professional exhibit looks like.”

The MAAC show featured works by Jones, Montgomery and three other local artists. These five will be featured February 15 at the Governor’s Awards in the Arts banquet a Pierre, a show called “50/50/50,” which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the South Dakota Arts Council. It will feature the special collection of 50 diverse artists from across the state.

Jones will have several photos in the exhibit. “I like the moments in time that you can capture and then are gone.”

“It’s always an honor to have your artwork featured,” he added, and it’s particularly “nice to be chosen to show your work in the state you live in, and to represent Madison.”

The other local artists featured are retired DSU art professor Allan Fisher of Madison, Madison High School senior Rachel Black, and Madison Middle School art teacher Ginny Freitag.

Montgomery’s artwork, along with those of art instructors Jeff Ballard and Behrend, are among those featured in the South Dakota Governor’s 7th biennial art exhibition at the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings.

A collaborative piece Behrends worked on with Tiospa Zina Tribal School students is also going on display at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Museum in Pierre next week. It will be on display from Feb. 7 through March 26.

 

Professors’ art displays

Zhe Ren: New Media Art 2017: Back to Nature

Thomas Jones: Governor’s Awards in the Arts banquet in Pierre, celebrating 50 years of the South Dakota Arts Council

Angela Behrends: S.D. Governor’s 7th Biennial Art Exhibition, South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, now thru April 16; “Walk Softly,” an art project done in collaboration with Tiospa Zina Tribal School students at South Dakota Cultural Heritage Museum, Feb. 7 – March 26

Alan Montgomery: Governor’s Awards in the Arts banquet in Pierre, celebrating 50 years of the South Dakota Arts Council; S.D. Governor’s 7th Biennial Art Exhibition, South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, now thru April 16; “Bog Cycles,” Jeschke Fine Arts Center, USF, through end of March

Jeff Ballard: S.D. Governor’s 7th Biennial Art Exhibition, South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, now thru April 16

Allan Fisher (retired professor): Governor’s Awards in the Arts banquet in Pierre, celebrating 50 years of the South Dakota Arts Council