School of Art honors alumni

Kasey Fahey

The “Centennial Alumni Exhibition II: Nexts” is on display for current students to look at past students’s work in the School of Art Gallery.

The show, which will run until Feb. 11, is the second half of the September exhibition, “Centennial Alumni Exhibition: Firsts.” Both exhibitions, curated by Dan Tranberg, are meant to open Kent State’s second hundred years.

“Both shows have been very interesting,” said Anderson Turner, director of the School of Art Galleries. “We had a few hundred entries and picked about a third of them, then broke it down to mid 80s students and beyond. This whole year is about alumni.”

The “Firsts” exhibition featured work from alumni graduating in 1980 and before, while the “Nexts” exhibition showcases work from graduates of 1980 and after. The meaning of the “Nexts” exhibit is to show what is next from graduates.

“The idea was to call out for entries,” Turner said. “We sent about 6,000 letters to all the alumni of the past 50 years.”

The application was the same process as a traditional show, and the artists had to enter work to be chosen. It was not medium specific. The exhibit has been in the works for two years, the length of time it takes to do a “thoughtful job,” Turner said.

“We curated from the body of work, not the piece,” Turner said. “It was more like curating their whole career.”

There was an “enormous range of submissions¬ – from jewelry, pottery, glass and sculpture to paintings, photographs and graphic design,” according to Tranberg’s curator statement on the wall of the exhibit. Tranberg could not be reached for comment.

“If a theme exists at all here, it’s excellence in each artist’s chosen medium and format,” Tranberg said in his curator statement.

Ryan Burdzinski, a 2006 fine arts graduate, was one alumnus in the show. He is a graphic designer and uses Photoshop to distort images and make them 3-D.

“I call it surrealism,” Burdzinski said. “I’m pretty straightforward with my art. It’s mainly decorative; I just want people to enjoy it.”

Burdzinski said he participated in the show to send some of his art back to Kent State.

Burdzinski currently has work displayed at the Cana Wine and Martini Bar in the Medina Square until Feb. 21.

“What’s cool is reaching back out to these folks,” Turner said. “We connect with them and bring them back to future shows.”

The show features adjunct professors and alumni who live locally and around the country.

“The crossover artists in both shows tie them together,” Turner said, in regards to the artists in both the “Nexts” show and the “Moving On” exhibition at the Downtown Gallery.

One assistant professor featured in both is Tim Callaghan, a 2005 graduate with a master’s in fine arts and concentration in painting. Callaghan teaches painting, drawing and color theory at Kent State.

“Most of my painting is done through observation,” Callaghan said. “I really liked the people I went to school with. It was an enriching experience, and it’s nice to give back.”

There are about 45 pieces in the show. Viewers can buy the art, but it’s not the focus of the show.

“This is about research,” Turner said. “We’re a research institution.”

“My hope is that the works here provide a compelling glimpse at the extraordinary accomplishments of Kent State University’s School of Art and its legacy,” Tranberg said in his curator’s statement.

Contact Kasey Fahey at [email protected].