The Catholic University of America

April 4, 2012

Students Take on an Unexpected Art Exhibit



About Time, a multi-media art exhibit, is on display in the Salve Regina gallery through Saturday, April 14. Visitors to the exhibit are finding the unexpected as they view the work of four professional artists. Each of the artists’ pieces moves, grows, or evolves during the course of the exhibit.

Mold grows on unfired clay sculptures under bell jars in “Consulting Artifacts” by clay installation artist J.J. McCraken. In “Cityscape,” by mixed-media sculptor Jennifer Coster, ant farms are laced with glitter. Over time the ants transport the sand and glitter, creating brightly colored hills.

“Crawling Machine,” by steel sculptor Dan Gioia, drags itself across the floor offering a humorous look at our identification and frustration with the mechanical world. Video artist E.H. Sorrels-Adewale’s “Thou Art” focuses on the journey of thought, influenced by the pace of dreams, in a video collage.

The four accomplished artists were chosen by Beverly Ress, a lecturer in CUA’s Department of Art. But it was the students in Ress’ Gallery Practices course who put the exhibit together.

The course teaches students the elements of curating, installing, interpreting, and publicizing exhibitions. In addition to art department majors, Gallery Practices draws students from all majors across the University, who say they find something in the course that applies to their own areas of study.

Elizabeth Denholm, Jacob Paul Sisneros, and Chris Testa rotate an 800-pound sphere made of sod and steel.

Junior Phil Pollock, a media studies major from Laurel, Md., says he was drawn to the public relations and marketing aspects of putting the exhibit together, but found joy in “the nitty gritty tasks that you don’t think about behind the scenes of a gallery exhibit. We sanded and painted the gallery walls, we caught ants when they escaped from the ant farm, we drew chalk arrows from the Metro to the gallery to help people find their way to the opening reception, and we rolled an 800-pound sphere up a hill through the mud.”

Dan Gioia’s “Sphere” is a revolving sculpture of sod and steel that is on display just outside the gallery door. The weather influences the change in this piece — the students are hoping for rain to see the sod turn green.
Freshman Jacob Paul Sisneros, of Albuquerque, says he was looking for something that might offer a change from the busy schedule of music classes required of a vocal performance major. He says he was very comfortable becoming involved in a new area of the arts.

“Performing artists have much in common with the artists we worked with. You could see it in the passion for their work. I enjoyed exploring another area of the art world and using my senses in a different way.”
Senior Chris Testa, an architecture major from East Hartford, Conn., drew the plans for the gallery exhibit. “In architecture, you have to consider how people use space. So it has been a great experience to see how people react to the design of the exhibit.”

“I loved meeting and interviewing the artists,” says freshman Elizabeth Denholm, an art history major from Akron. “When you learn what each piece means to them, it enhances the way you view and understand the art.”

Working with Gioia, says Pollock, “had me thinking about the connectedness of man and machine and nature.” Pointing to the rotating sphere, he says, “What I love about this piece is that it is meant to be played with. The artist doesn’t want you to admire it from afar; he wants you to interact with it. His work can be serious and metaphorical, but it also has a great sense of humor.”

About Time is free and open to the public through April 14 in Salve Regina Hall gallery on CUA’s campus. The exhibit is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed April 5 – 9 for the Easter holiday). For more information, go to



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