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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Faculty members show talent at studio art exhibition

Faculty members show talent at studio art exhibition


Staff Writer

At the UMW Studio Art Facility Exhibition, recently in DuPont Gallery, there were pieces shown featuring art by Deb Balestreri, Carole Garmon, Larry Hinkle, Rosemary Jesionowski, and many others​. Their pieces didn’t follow a theme but I was able to pick up patterns that displayed similar techniques to the extent that I could tell it was by the same artist.

There were two artists in particular that stood out to me while viewing the gallery, Chris Musina and Jon McMillan. Both of these artists had unique techniques, and in my opinion they had some of the most impressive and interesting art.

Jon McMillian’s earthenware piece titled Cyclical.

McMillian had a very organic, real, life-like feel to his art. One piece that caught my attention called “Cyclical,” an earthenware piece which endured multiple glaze firings. It made me feel as if I was in a deep part of an ocean where lava stacked up and then cooled quickly in the cool water. All of McMillian’s art was easy to distinguish in the gallery because of his very bubbly, earthy and unique textured technique.

Musina’s created a piece titled “Three Wise Apes: Truth Has Died, How Do You Know? and Mother?” I recognized the ape shown in the last photo right away. It was a drawing of Harambe, the 17 year-old Western lowland gorilla that was famously shot and killed by a zoo keeper after a young boy fell into his enclosure. I thought the picture was very well drawn but what was really captivating was the title.

Another art piece painted by Musina was the strangest piece in the whole gallery. It was called “Perché lo Sono un Paisan.” It was one of those pieces you have to witness on your own to really believe it. The painting illustrated a female wolf breastfeeding two naked human children, with a piece of pizza laying across the wolf’s face.

Behind this odd painting was a description that said, “I am interested in a visual history of animals… Artists like Francisco Goya, Frans Snyders, Otto Dix and Rene Magritte all figure heavily into my aesthetic.”

Above: Chris Musina’s Three Wise Apes: Truth Has Died, How Do You Know?, Mother?, a three-part ink on paper art installation in Dupont Gallery.

Musina continued, “More specifically, an interest in how the Capitoline Wolf and the legend of Romulus and Remus fit heavily into Italian culture, but also, so does pizza.” He said that pieces are connected through the theme of animal products and can take between two weeks to two months to complete.

We have so many talented artists here among the faculty at Mary Washington, so being able to observe their art proved to be a humbling experience.