Through May 7, the WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center presents the 2021 School of Art and Design Faculty Biennial Exhibition with a virtual, interactive 360-degree tour on its website. Each of the 19 faculty members in the exhibition features work around the theme of water: using water to create their artwork or relying on water as subject, inspiration or idea.
Book artist and printmaker Matt Liddle says his work is inherently water-intensive. “Paper is made from fiber and water and the entire process is about the relationship between those elements,” he says. “Water is used to disperse and carry the fiber as pulp, and then extracted from the pulp as it becomes paper. As papermakers, we witness this magic while wearing aprons and rubber boots because ours is a wet world.” Similarly, fiber artist Erin Tapley, who is also the director of WCU’s School of Art and Design, uses water to wash, shrink, felt and rinse her fibers. For this exhibition, she made a large map of the United States from commercial wool roving that charts precipitation. “At first, conceptualizing how to express water as a theme seemed overwhelming,” she says. “But the challenge proved a game changer and I experimented with things I probably would not have had the exhibition been unthemed.”
Painter David Skinner, an adjunct faculty member at WCU, made a painting for the exhibition that includes the image of a flood with three houses submerged in pink water. “For me this image serves as a metaphor for the vulnerability and isolation that the current pandemic has created,” he says. “The exhibition challenged me to respond to a creative prompt and deliver imagery I might not otherwise have come up with. I also think the exhibition is important because it highlights the level of talent that exists within the WCU faculty and the superb facility that the university has available to those in the area who might want to pursue a degree in art.”
Due to COVID-19, the WCU Fine Art Museum is currently only open to WCU students, faculty and staff. Visit arts.wcu.edu/exhibitions to see the exhibition.