Exhibition highlights Mercyhurst faculty artists' work

Alex Stacey photoAlex Stacey photoDaniel Burke’s piece “Repurposed” is made of materials such as cloth, paint and zippers.Last Thursday, Sept. 8, teachers, students and art enthusiasts of the local community gathered in the Cummings Art Gallery for a reception to honor the artists whose combined talents helped create the Annual Art Faculty Exhibition.

The showcase, which opened Aug. 23 and continues through Sept. 18, includes works by faculty members Daniel Burke, Gary Cardot, Tom Hubert, Jodi Staniunas-Hopper, Robert Tavani and Jamie Borowicz, as well as graduates Kristen Letts Kovak ‘02 and Emily Campbell ‘08.

At this event, guests had the opportunity to observe the works in the gallery, as well as meet the artists who created them.

A series of works which draw one’s focus immediately upon entering the gallery are Jodi Staniunas-Hopper’s Luchadora masks. Titled “Fury, Papillion, Mascara and Luchadora,” the masks, which are made from wedding gowns, are modeled after Spanish wrestling masks and are slightly different from one another.

According to the artist, they represent different aspects of femininity, including how women often try to hide who they truly are, how women can be fierce and strong and how women are all unique.

In addition, behind the masks are photographs of a model wearing them.

Alex Stacey photoAlex Stacey photoOther pieces that caught spectator’s attention were Daniel Burke’s “Repurposed,” a giant tree made from upside-down trousers, zippers and construction paper birds, as well as “Clothesline Fly By,” which depicts dozens of construction paper birds flying through a large multicolored quilt.

In discussion of the artist, alumni Kristen Letts Kovak, said, “When I came to visit Mercyhyhurst and saw Mr. Burke’s work, I immediately knew that was what I wanted to learn how to do,” she said.

Talking to her about the three still lifes she contributed, the intricate and colorful oil paintings of various objects, Letts Kovak said, “The more you look at something, the more you can actually see.”

According to freshman art major Muna Nehme, “The Annual Art Faculty Exhibition provides art students with a unique opportunity to talk to their teachers about their artwork, which is not something we normally get to do in class.”

“It is an excellent way to support the teachers and the local art community,” she said.

Dance department chair Tauna Hunter attended the event. She said that the Cummings Art Gallery is “quite meditative” and that it helps her “find peace with the finer things in life.”

The Cummings Art Gallery is located in the lobby of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC) and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. For information, call Heather Dana at 814-824-2092.