Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Lasting Impressions in the University Gallery

A new exhibition is on display in the University Gallery in Porter Hall until December 1st. Lasting Impressions: Printed Masters from the Leonard H. Axe Library Special Collections features a selection of prints from the library's Special Collections in order to highlight one of the Collection's many strengths, as well as to celebrate the printmaking, one of several art-making processes taught here at Pitt State. The exhibition includes work by several notable artists, such as Käthe Kollwitz, Otto Dix, Aubrey Beardsley, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Fransisco Goya, and more.

The Special Collections and Archives departments contain material pertaining primarily to Kansas and Pittsburg State University, specializing in printed materials from Southeast Kansas, its culture and inhabitants, as well as the correspondence, libraries, business files and memorabilia of significant Southeast Kansans. In addition, the Special Collections has a significant amount of artwork. Lasting Impressions was curated by two Pittsburg State University undergraduate students, Brittney Walton and Morgan Vietti, both of whom have worked with the Department of Art for several years. 

A printmaking demonstration, led by Professor S. Portico Bowman, was held at Porter Hall on September 7th as part of the programming associated with the exhibition. On September 8th, Curator of Special Collections Steve Cox gave a talk about the material included in the exhibition, followed by a talk by Assistant Professor Emmalyn Gennis about the relevancy of printmaking to 21st-century art-making, and a reception. Lasting Impressions will be on display in the University Gallery until December 1st. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Art Students Honored For Research Colloquium Presentation

Students from Jamie Oliver's Mural Painting class participated in Pittsburg State University's annual Research Colloquium this spring and were awarded first place in Category C Creative Works Oral research presentation. The students collaborated to present work in both the poster competition as well as the oral presentation competition on "Practice-Based Investigation of Large Scale Client-Based Artwork Production," in which they discussed the design process, working with clients, the execution of the works, and conclusions from the Fall Mural Class producing four 6'X6' paintings for Axe Library. 

BFA students Lauryn Hastert presented the poster, and Brianna Harris gave the oral presentation, but the research and work was also shared by Luis Calderon, Jared Jennings, Leslie Van Loenen, Lauren Downing, Shandara Richardson, Aaron Skapik, Sarah Walden, Brittney Walton, Ithaca Marlier and Gaga Zheng. The Research colloquium took place on April 7th. 

Representing the group at the Research Banquet on April 25th to accept the award were Brianna Harris, Luis Calderon, Lauryn Hastert, and Aaron Skapik. The abstract for their award-winning presentation can be read below. Congrats to all of the students who participated!


This practice-based research aims to develop unique knowledge in the areas of experience and representational learning through the design and execution of 4 large- scale paintings client based artworks.  While supporting the mission of the Department of Art, the arts on campus, and creative research this project will culminate by bringing artwork into the Axe Library. 

The project allows students to merge their artistic skillsets with the demands of the client utilizing a practice- based visual output as both material and creative representations of knowledge.  This investigation will engage aspects of student visual research and design, input from the client, and knowledge of artistic skillsets, both from prior experiences and those gained from the execution of the project. 

Through developing visual strategies in the design and execution phases of the work this study will explore how the resulting paintings might support the representation of knowledge in the field.  Central to this investigation will be the development of material knowledge through learning new craft based skills and how the development of this knowledge or skillsets might influence future artwork creation on the part of the collaborators.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Please Join Us for Divergent Generation

The senior undergraduates of the Department of Art would like to invite you to Divergent Generation, the culmination of the Exhibition Design class, and for those student who will be graduating this spring, their studies here at Pitt State. The exhibition in the Harry Krug Gallery here at Porter Hall was organized, designed, and installed by the student artists: Gretchen Burns, David Bush, Hannah Coward, Jacqueline Denton, Molly McVey, Jessica Purevich, Robert Raio, and Whitney Reeves.

Please join us in Porter Hall to hear the artists lecture on their work this Thursday, April 28th, starting at 4pm. Therewill be speaker from 4-5pm and 6-7pm, with a reception in between. Divergent Generation will be on display in Porter Hall until Friday, May 6th.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Read an Interview with Professor Emeritus Marjorie Schick on Art Jewelry Forum

Art Jewelry Forum recently published an interview of Pitt State's own Marjorie Schick by artist/designer Matt Lambert. Schick creates bold and colorful wearable art, and has taught in Pitt State's Department of Art for nearly 50 years. Lambert begins the interview, titled "Who's Afraid of Marjorie Schick?," by describing Schick's work:

"Gaudy. Oversized. Humorous. 'So American.' Marjorie Schick has been making louder work than anyone else in the field for the last 55 years. She also worked with performance as early as 1977, and tested the idea of integrating wearable elements into static, sculptural objects before everyone else, while also flirting with the vernacular of fashion. Today, she stands as a model of fearlessness for a younger generation of jewelers interested in the radical scale and colors of her work."

Read the entire interview on the Art Jewelry Forum website.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gwen Walstrand and Sarah Perkins Artists' Talk

The Pittsburg State University Department of Art invites you to welcome photographer Gwen Walstrand and metalsmith/enamellist Sarah Perkins to campus this week to talk about their work currently on display in the University Gallery of the Pittsburg State University Museum of Art. Walstrand and Perkins, both professors from Missouri State University, will give a presentation at 3pm on Thursday, April 21st, to be followed by a reception in the Harry Krug Gallery from 4-6pm. The exhibition, Cairo, Illinois, will be on display through May 6th. 

Gwen Walstand and Sarah Perkins Exhibition Statement:
“Driving through what remains of Cairo it appears to an outsider that most of the town, along with its historic buildings and extensive business district, was abandoned within the same year, as nearly all the structures are in the same state of decay. In actuality, many events and circumstances caused precipitous decline of Cairo. The town’s history includes booming success as a shipping town at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, elegant hotels and mansions, and an impressive business district. The more recent history is one of race riots, appalling violence, multiple lynchings, domination by white supremacist groups, and eventual boycotts of local businesses by African Americans. The 1920s city of over 15,000 people now is home to under 3,000 people, hundreds of strangely patched up, decaying buildings, and a handful of struggling businesses.
The enameled bowls are a response to not only the reality of present day Cairo, but also to the images of it that were chosen by the photographer. The work seen together offers insight into the working processes of the artists and the choices made by different viewers. The photographer gathers and selects visual material; the metalsmith/enamellist edits the material again and transforms the flat images into three dimensions, but on a functional form that speaks to basic human requirements. The photographs, as both independent images and references for the bowls, are aesthetic explorations of Cairo but with an attempt to consider more deeply the complexity of human histories that form such places.”

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sketchbooks from Structural Anatomy and Figure Drawing

The Structural Anatomy and Figure Drawing course (ART 433) is a required course for studio art majors at Pitt State. This class focuses on analysis of the human figure with an emphasis on structural anatomy through drawing, and the study of the skeleton and muscle groups as they affect volume and outward appearance. At various points in the course, students draw from a model, skeleton, anatomical casts and memory.

Image from sketchbook of Luis Calderon
This semester, students in this class began working in their sketchbooks to learn the skeleton and organization of the figure.  They have moved on to drawing from the model, but continue to work regularly in their sketchbooks. Below are a few sample images from two student sketchbooks.

Image from sketchbook of Luis Calderon
Image from sketchbook of Luis Calderon
Image from sketchbook of Luis Calderon 
Image from sketchbook of Mattie Parrigon 
Image from sketchbook of Mattie Parrigon
Image from sketchbook of Mattie Parrigon

Monday, April 4, 2016

Slipcasting in Pitt State Sculptural Ceramics Class

Slipcasting is a technique that allows sculptors and ceramicists to make multiple copies of the same object. As plaster mould is created, into which clay can be poured to create a cast of that mould. A few years ago, faculty member S. Portico Bowman attended a moldmaking and slipcasting workshop hosted by Bracker's ceramics and led by world renowned artist Andrew Martin. She is now bringing this technique to students in PSU ceramic classes, along with Professor Malcolm Kucharski, who has perfected our slip casting recipe. Below are images of undergraduate students Whitney Reeves and Redd Williams exploring the technique for Bowman's Sculptural Ceramics class.

Whitney (left) has plans for a multi-tiered sculpture and Redd (right) will create an installation piece.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Associate Professor Josie Mai on Her Process

Josie Mai is Associate Professor of Art Education here at Pittsburg State University. Mai is this month's Neosho Arts Council featured artist, and spoke with them recently about her process creating hand-rubbed collage works (video below).

This months featured artist Josie Mai talks about the process of creating her hand rubbed collage pieces. #NeoshoArts
Posted by Neosho Arts Council on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Originally from Kansas City, Mai received her undergraduate degree and certification in art education from the University of Kansas. She taught art to urban and suburban high school students in the Kansas City area's public schools and not-for-profit organizations such as Studio 150 and Chameleon, Inc. Mai went on to receive her Masters of Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Before joining our faculty at Pitt State, she taught at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri for several years. She has also worked closely with the George A Spiva Center for the Arts developing curriculum, public art, exhibitions, and events.

Letter from Georgia. Acrylic and collage on cardboard.
Bamboo. Collage on canvas. 

The Neosho Arts council held a reception for Mai on March 10th at the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce. Mai also has upcoming shows in the Urban Art Gallery and Post Art Library in Joplin, MO.

SeaSky. Collage on canvas.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Student Spotlight: Jacqueline Denton

As part of our new "Student Spotlight" series, the Pittsburg State University Department of Art blog will be periodically highlighting the work of one of our students. This week, we're featuring the work of Jacqueline Denton, a senior 2D Studio Art major from right here in Pittsburg, KS. As part of her educational program here at Pitt State, Jacqueline participated in an internship working with the artist Oliver Hibert. This internship resulted in an exhibition of her work alongside Hibert's at the Palabra Gallery in Phoenix, AZ. 

Department of Art: What was your path to pursuing an art degree at Pitt State? What got you interested in art?

Jacqueline Denton: One of my earliest childhood memories are of me coloring at a desk with markers my mom had bought for me on my 4th birthday. A lot of my childhood memories are of making things, or having art class in school. My mom is an art teacher, as well as highly resourceful and creative, and always encouraged me to be creative, too. I also had a great art teacher in middle school, Mrs. Pate, who always encouraged me and my ability, and made me realize that I actually had one. Art is the only thing in my life that has ever felt natural for me. 

DA: Tell us about your work. What type of work do you most enjoy creating? How would you define your artistic style? 

JD: This is still hard for me to describe to people. I would say my work is bold, psychedelic, surreal, dark, and whimsical. My work primarily focuses on femininity, sexuality and identity. 

DA: What class at Pitt State has had the biggest affect on the way you approach your work? 

JD: I've loved all the classes I've taken with Emi. Her classes have allowed me ways to use and make work in a digital type of format, which is important to know. It also gives you another platform that you can display your art. I love the internet and connecting with other people through it through my artwork. It's something that's really essential to me. This semester I'm taking a GIF art class which I'm really excited about.

DA: Tell us about a project you completed recently that you were really proud of. Where did you get your initial idea or inspiration, and how did the project develop over time? Describe your process. 

JD: I recently created some jewelry designs for one of my friends, Marina Fini, who lives in LA. She makes amazing jewelry pieces out of plexi. She wanted to do a Halloween collection and asked me if I wanted to design some of the shapes, so I said yes! I ended up drawing a few fun designs I thought would work with her plexi designs. She took my designs and made them a reality. It was really cool to see my work come to life in a more three-dimensional way, as well we something that was totally wearable. It was also cool to work with Marina. She is a huge inspiration to me. If anyone wants to see more of Marina's work you can check out her website:

DA: Who are some artists that inspire you? What is it about their work that you find compelling?

JD: Everyone from Lisa Frank to Andy Warhol. A lot of my friends who are artists are the ones who inspire me the most. Oliver Hibert has really inspired me. His artwork changed everything for me. I like work with bright colors and dark contrasts, and work that pushes the boundaries of reality and normalcy.  

DA: What is an experience you've had at Pitt State that has changed the way you think about art?

JD: A lot of the time at Pitt State I have felt pretty isolated because I feel my work doesn't really fit in anywhere. I've learned that your work doesn't have to fit in. 

DA: Tell us about your experience participating in the internship program. Where and when did your internship take place, and how did it come about?

JD: The internship program was a great experience for me. I can't thank Portico enough for encouraging me, pushing me, and believing in me and my art at a time when I really needed that. I sought out an internship on my own. I didn't want to do something here in town. I wanted to get out an experience something different. I did my internship over the summer in 2015 in Phoenix, AZ with artist Oliver Hibert. He had mentioned he was looking for an intern so we talked about it. We spent 2 weeks over the summer learning how to stretch canvases, how to transfer a drawing to a canvas for painting, and we did a run of around 200 three color silkscreen prints that we printed by hand as well as some other smaller printing projects. In December Oliver and I had a show together at Palabra Gallery in downtown Phoenix.

DA: What was the most challenging aspect of your internship? What was the most fun?

JD: It was very labor intensive, physically. Stretching a canvas is tough, making 200 silkscreen prints is tough and tedious. And, honestly the summer heat in Arizona. We were basically night owls for two weeks because the only time it was cool enough to work in the printing studio was after midnight. The most fun part was being able to have a show together at the end. It was something that really built up my confidence and experience that I will remember forever.   

DA: Tell us about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

JD: This is a huge question. I just hope in 5 years I'm happy, have a job that I can sustain myself with, and still have time to create my own work.

DA: What projects are you working on right now that are outside of coursework?

JD: I'm always working on my own work. I recently finished up a piece for a group exhibition in San Francisco, and have been working on a page for a coloring book that some of my artists friends are putting together and publishing. 

DA: Where's the best place to see more of your work online?

JD: You can view more of my work on my website:, or look me up on instagram to see more work in-progress type updates: @jacquelinedenton, as well as other shenanigans. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

GIF Art Students Combine Old and New Technology

A new topics course in the Department of Art introduces students to the animated GIF as both a digital fine art object as well as an artifact of popular culture. Since its inception in 1987 the GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) has become a ubiquitous element of our visual landscape. Its history is tied to pre-digital looping animations, such as Eadweard Muybridge’s zoopraxiscope photography of the late 19th century. One such device for creating these pre-digital animations is the phenakistoscope, invented by Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau in 1832. Phenakistoscopes are small discs featuring short animations created from multiple still frames, alternating between equally spaced radial slits. The animation can be viewed by spinning the disc while facing a mirror and looking through the slits to see a moving image.

Phenakistoscope wheel by Mattie Parrigon

Students in this semester's GIF Art course, taught by Assistant Professor Emmalyn Gennis, created their own phenakistoscopes for a recent assignment. Before beginning the project, students looked through Richard Balzer's online collection of 19th century animations for inspiration. 

In addition to creating the physical phenakistoscope wheels using foamboard, paper, and toothpicks, students scanned their designs and brought them to life in Photoshop, enabling them to post their animations online. You can see all of the students' phenakistoscopes, as well as their other assignments, on the class Tumblr page,

Phenakistoscope wheel by Jacqueline Denton

Projects in the GIF Art class will provide students the opportunity to work in a wide range of media over the course of the semester, including traditional 2D animation, stop motion, and found video. The course places an emphasis on developing a personal approach to the creation of GIF art, as well as the technical skill required to create seamlessly looping animations. Students enrolled in the course are also engaging with online communities by posting their work on platforms and social networking sites where GIFs are often shared by other users.

Phenakistoscope wheel by Mandy Reno

Monday, February 29, 2016

Kansas People's History Project at Pitt State

In the Art Connectors Gallery, located on the 2nd floor of Porter Hall, there is a new exhibition featuring the work of Pitt State art students. The Kansas People's History Project includes the work of fourteen undergraduate students who were enrolled in Assistant Professor Emi Gennis' Hand Lettering for Illustration and Comics class during the fall semester. Their broadsides highlighting overlooked aspects of Kansas history were part of a larger, state-wide art project lead by artist David Loewenstein. The description of the project below is from the project website,

"Kansas has remarkable stories, but many of them are not widely known or taught in our schools. The Kansas People’s History Project (KPHP) will begin to address this gap by making history present and visible in our everyday lives. Inspired by Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking book “A People’s History of United States” which examined history “from the bottom up,” the KPHP will focus on the creation of a series of screen printed broadsides with text narratives, a comprehensive website, and an exhibition that shine a light on lesser known but greatly influential figures and events from Kansas’s past.
From the many Tribal nations that have called (and continue to call) this place home to the stories of Suffragettes, outsider artists, Civil Rights activists and countless others who have helped shape the story of Kansas, this project will celebrate the integral role these often overlooked groups have had in the making of Kansas history."

Associate Professor of Art Education Josie Mai has worked with the artist Dave Loewenstein on other community art projects and invited him to Pittsburg State University this fall to give a workshop related to the Kansas People's History Project. It was at this workshop that Gennis decided to get her class involved by assigning the broadsides as the final project for the course. "It was the perfect opportunity to apply the skills combining lettering and imagery that they acquired during the course, in addition to emphasizing other skills, such as visual research, that are an important part of artistic growth," she said. Loewenstein returned to campus later in the semester to give an additional workshop to the class, and the students also attended a presentation from librarians at the Axe Library about the Kansas-related content of the library's Special Collections. 

Loewenstein traveled to Pitt State again on February 18th to participate as the keynote speaker for the Pittsburg State University Museum of Art's IDEA Series, an annual lecture series that this year was built on the theme "Collective Memory." During his lecture, Loewenstein showed the audience screen printed version's of Gennis' work as well as student Mattie Parrigon's work and invited them to speak (video below).

Emi Gennis speaking about her work and class during the IDEA Series.
Posted by Pittsburg State University Museum of Art on Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mai, who curates exhibitions that engage the community in the Art Connectors Gallery, felt that the Kansas People's History Project was a perfect fit for the space. "The nature of the project fits with the Art Connectors Community Gallery mission of exhibiting art and projects generated by and featuring the wider Pittsburg region," she said. A Family Art Day event, to be held on April 9th from 2-4pm, will give Pittsburg citizens the opportunity to participate in an open mic; a small stage and microphone will be set up for people of all ages to present their own Kansas stories. 

Mai hopes the exhibition will serve as an inspiration for other students. "I hope students see the power of visually bringing unsung heroes and stories to life," she said. "Artists used to be advocates. Artists used to be rebels. This can still happen. I hope the community can celebrate these unsung heroes, appreciate the power of the arts to educate, and evaluate those heroes' influences on the very land they are raising their own families today."

The Kansas People's History Project exhibition, featuring student work presented alongside research material and preliminary sketches, will run until April 9th. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday 8:00am – 9:30pm and Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm. An online gallery of all the broadsides submitted to the Kansas People's History Project from artists across the state can be found at