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Colby-Sawyer College Fine Arts Faculty Exhibit New Works in Diverse Media

NEW LONDON, N.H., Oct. 25, 2012 – The Colby-Sawyer College Department of Fine and Performing Arts presents its annual Art Faculty Exhibition from Nov.1 to Dec. 14, featuring new works by art faculty in drawing, ceramics, graphic design, new media, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture.

The exhibition features the work of faculty artists Loretta S.W. Barnett, Debbie Campbell, Lucy Mink-Covello, Nicholas Gaffney, Brandy Gibbs-Riley, David Ernster, Jon Keenan, Michael Lovell, Mary Mead, Hilary Walrod and Bert Yarborough.

An opening reception for the show was held Thursday, Nov. 1. The Mugar Gallery, located in the Sawyer Fine Arts Center, is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The exhibition includes the work of Professor Loretta S. W. Barnett, who describes her works as constructed visual narratives that imply rather than describe. “Each piece suggests a possible state or circumstance; the central concepts have evolved through an exploration of the rule of law, the laws of nature and their intersections with the element of chance,” she says. “The rule of law binds participants to a framework. The laws of nature often turn and twist situations with uncertainty. The law of chance places us in our life and times.”

A graduate of Boise State University (B.F.A.) and The Ohio State University (M.F.A.), Professor Barnett teaches courses in sculpture and drawing and is the gallery director. She joined the faculty in 1978.

New works by graphic designer Deborah Campbell—an adjunct assistant professor who teaches courses in visual identity and system design, computer applications, and the history of graphic design—will also appear in the show. Campbell, who runs a full-service design and advertising firm, enjoys the challenges of creating designs for clients and believes art “is all about problem-solving.” Campbell studied graphic design at the Massachusetts College of Art and earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Northwestern University.

Adjunct Assistant Professor Lucy Mink-Covello, who teaches courses in painting, moved to the Concord, N.H., area in 2011, where she has expanded her work in painting and was awarded a Pollock-Krasner grant. Previously she lived in New York City and explored three-dimensional forms in fiber, latex and mixed media before marrying and moving to Hoboken, N.J., where she taught and started a family. After a four-year hiatus from painting and a move to Syracuse, N.Y., she resumed artwork focused exclusively in abstract oil painting. Her time in Syracuse offered chances to re-examine forms and style while settling into a lifestyle that balances family and painting.

“I am consumed by combinations of color and form as a visual, abstract diary of my life, where time does not belong to me, but to others,” Professor Mink-Covello writes in her artist's statement. “I am frequently organizing their things while they dance. I am in a situation.”

Professor Mink-Covello studied fine art at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., and earned an M.F.A. at Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Associate Professor David Ernster teaches ceramics and is interested in the ability of art objects to transport viewers to a kind of primal space in which they are able to gain insights into the objects' creation and achieve a greater understanding of their mystery and origins. “A lot of the forms and imagery I use in my work comes from a fascination with our history in the natural world—especially the marks or records left by life. Ancient hieroglyphs and bones are like maps showing us a glimpse of the mystery of where we have been and where we are going. I prefer to use very basic, even primitive, materials and firing processes in an attempt to make these connections,” he explains.

Professor Ernster has expertise in ceramics, printmaking, metalworking, sculpture and jewelry-making, and he has exhibited his work across the country. He earned an M.F.A. in Ceramics from West Virginia University and a B.F.A. in Metalworking/Jewelry from the University of Iowa.

Assistant Professor Nicholas Gaffney teaches courses in photography, digital media and senior portfolio development. He is interested in the natural landscape and how it is often interpreted by the manufactured world. His photography is rooted in the straight, documentary tradition and attempts to create smaller worlds out of the larger one.

In this exhibition, he shows photographs taken in 2009-2010 of Route 12A, a New Hampshire roadway near the border of Vermont whose last section is lined by big box stores and fast food restaurants, and clogged with shoppers from both states. “It is my hope that they capture the fleeting, and perhaps menacing, beauty between the highway, parking lots and storefronts that make up what I think of as 12A,” Professor Gaffney says. “For better or for worse, there's so much of America that looks a lot like this place. While they were all taken within the same stretch, it's my hope that these photographs seem familiar no matter where you're from. ”

Professor Gaffney earned an M.F.A. in Photography from the Pratt Institute and B.A. in English from New York University and exhibited his work across the United States. He joined the faculty in 2008.

Associate Professor Brandy Gibbs-Riley's approach to design education is interdisciplinary, informed by her work in industry as a practicing designer, historical research, and the creation of personal and experimental art which includes digital and mixed media, painting and printmaking. She believes that active involvement in all three disciplines is crucial for producing quality work, as each practice informs the other. Her area of research interest is in the History of Corporate Identity and Design in Post-World War II America, 1945 to 1960.

She teaches courses in the history of graphic design, graphic design, typography and publication design at Colby-Sawyer. Gibbs-Riley earned an M.F.A. in Graphic Design from Boston University and a B.A. in Studio Art from Bates College. She joined the faculty in 2007.

Professor Jon Keenan, chair of Fine and Performing Arts, teaches courses in ceramics, East Asian art history, and in the Liberal Education and the Honors programs. His studio work explores raku and high fired glazed ceramics, along with anagama wood-fired functional and sculptural clay work. A Fulbright Scholar, Professor Keenan was named the Joyce J. Kolligian Distinguished Professor of Fine and Performing Arts in October 2009.

Professor Keenan's ceramics are both functional and sculptural, echoing the interaction between nature, culture and the experience of everyday life. “I am attracted to the spontaneous and expressive qualities achieved through firing in an anagama semi-subterranean wood-fired kiln,” he says. This technique allows Keenan to “explore the expressive possibilities of porcelain and stoneware for unlimited opportunities to communicate subtle and nuanced ideas.”

Professor Keenan is the recipient of awards from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. He has exhibited his work and lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad. He earned an M.F.A. in Art History and Ceramics from the Kyoto University of Fine Arts Graduate School in Japan and a B.A. in East Asian Studies and Studio Art from the University of New Hampshire.

Assistant Professor Michael Lovell says his sensibilities were “indelibly stained” by the “colors, contours, movement and otherworldly, almost surrealistic, fluidity and freedom of events and contexts” of the television cartoons in his childhood. As much as he tried to combat it, cartoons bubbled up as his benchmark for visually exciting work in painting. “I eventually decided not to reject them for influences more subtle and cerebral, but to go with them,” he says.

A collector of antique machinery, whose simplicity and functionality he finds beautiful, Lovell often incorporates their exposed mechanisms into his paintings, sometimes as three-dimensional elements that transform flat planes into animated sculpted forms. “I'm not a minimalist; I prefer my work to overflow with images and structures and movements,” he says. Professor Lovell received his B.F.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He joined Colby-Sawyer in 2000 and is technical director of the Sawyer Fine Arts Center Theatre, directs theater productions, and teaches courses in stagecraft.

Assistant Professor of Fine and Performing Arts Department Mary Mead, who joined Colby-Sawyer in 2009, has exhibited her work in sculpture and printmaking since 1989 throughout New England, including Boston galleries, Dartmouth College, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and the Chesterwood Museum. Her work is in numerous private and public collections. In 2001 Professor Mead became a charter member of the Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in White River Junction, Vt., where she has developed her interest and broad skills in multiple printmaking processes.

In her teaching, Professor Mead is especially interested in supporting students in their efforts to work comfortably across artistic disciplines, whether integrating sculpture and drawing, or printmaking and photography. She earned a B.S. in Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin/Madison and an M.F.A. from Tufts University/Boston Museum School.

Assistant Professor Hilary Walrod came to Colby-Sawyer this fall from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she was an assistant professor of graphic design and taught web design, digital media, publication design, graphic design seminars, and mobile application design and development (with an interdisciplinary team). She holds a B.A. in Studio Art and Environmental Studies from Williams College and an M.F.A. in Studio Art: Graphic Design from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Drawing on her interdisciplinary background, Professor Walrod is especially interested in intersections between visual communication and environmental consciousness and works in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and digital realms.

The work of Associate Professor Bert Yarborough, whose expertise is in drawing, painting and printmaking, has evolved from an earlier focus on abstract, iconic images inspired by his experiences in the Provincelands National Seashore in Provincetown, Mass., and time spent in Nigeria as a Fulbright Fellow. He began working with the figure as a way of reaching a level of expression he felt he hadn't attained through abstraction.

While drawing remains a key component of Yarborough's exploration of the human form, he has begun to extract essential elements from the seashore—the water, sun, birds and figures—and reconstitute them with the mark-making language of his previous abstract work. “I am now combining this language with a variety of figurative and symbolic images including those derived from my African experience,” he explains, describing his current work as an extension and distillation of his engagement with the figure.

Yarborough has received two New Hampshire State Arts Council grants in painting, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts grant and the Fulbright Fellowship in sculpture. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States and in Japan. He teaches painting, drawing and printmaking at Colby-Sawyer, along with a senior Capstone class in Professional Practice and Portfolio. Yarborough holds an M.F.A. and M.A. from the University of Iowa and a B.A. from Clemson University.

To learn more about the Colby-Sawyer College Fine and Performing Art Department, visit

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

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