Coburn Art Gallery kicks off new semester with Faculty Art Exhibition

Nate Powalie

The Coburn Art Gallery is holding a faculty art exhibition to kick off the 2021 spring semester at Ashland University. The event, which features works from the Art and Design Department Faculty on campus, is running from Jan. 21 to Feb. 5.

Some of the faculty involved include professors: Cynthia Petry, Dan McDonald, and Priscilla Roggenkamp.

Petry, who is also the director of the Coburn Gallery, titled her work of collages “The Unknown Men”.

Her inspiration is based on her pursuit of something unknown.

“‘The Unknown Men’ mixed media collage series aligns with loss of knowledge and birding,” she said. “I am a chaser.”

Petry finds interest in collecting old photographs, most of which she attempts to return to rightful owners, but to those she cannot find, she reinvents the photos and gives them a longer life.

“[This] detective work may not always be able to find a definitive conclusion, or return that long lost photograph to a family member, yet the unknown photograph will live in perpetuity.”

That mystery is one of many elements that can draw an audience to an artwork.

One of Cynthia Petry’s collages from her “Mixed Men” series on display at the Coburn Gallery.

Roggenkamp had many factors behind her “Family Separation Series”.

“‘What inspired my artwork?’ Lots of things,” she said. “The topic of this body of work is immigration in its broadest sense. Many of our families have come through the immigration system at some time in history.”

Family makes for the ultimate connection to this piece. The temper around society plays an influential role in setting the mood of a work.

“The collagraph prints are part of the ‘Family Separation Series,’” she said. “As a parent of two daughters, there is nothing that is scarier to me than being separated from my children.”

Art can tie into many aspects of life, and Roggenkamp’s idea can influence viewers to connect more with their feelings of family, which led to her other piece on display.

“The ‘Immigration Quilt’ responds to news of people who were caught up in the immigration system…waiting,” she said. “Seeing images of people sleeping on the ground or waiting endlessly behind chain link fences really struck me. They were the inspiration for this quilt.”

With the new semester now underway, students, faculty, staff and community members can check out art at the Coburn Art Gallery any weekday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m..