Gallery installation highlights past art professors’ works

Gallery installation highlights past art professors’ works
Carl Grupp, Self-Portrait. Photo courtesy of John Peters.

The Eide/Dalrymple Gallery is currently hosting an exhibit of art to honor past instructors and their artistic talents. The influence that these artists had on future generations can still be seen in today’s students.

Ogden Dalrymple, a namesake of the gallery, has several pieces featured in this collection. Dalrymple was an assistant and associate professor of art (1946-1973) as well as the artist in residence (1973-1991). While he passed away in 1991, Dalrymple’s art still teaches the future generation of Augustana artists. His 1980 graphite and chalk piece, “Untitled,” teaches budding artists that art can be made anywhere. This piece — a seated person shouldering an overcoat — is drawn on a grocery bag. Dalrymple proves here that art isn’t about having fancy materials. All that is needed is some inspiration and the ability to act on that inspiration.

Robert Aldern, Untitled. Photo courtesy of John Peters.

Another one of the featured artists, Thomas Shields, has several pieces on display. One of them is titled “Blue Line.” However, the blue line that inspired the title is quite insignificant in the piece itself. A blue squiggle, shyly painted, lazily lounges amidst bolder and brighter patches of paint. There is subtlety to this small blue line, yet the cool color tones and sharp, crisp curves set it apart from the smooth blotches of reds and yellows and traces of green. With this piece, Shields proves that oftentimes less is undoubtedly more.

A professor for 24 years, Shields passed down his artistic guidance through painting and graphic design classes. One of Shields’ previous students, Anh Ta, describes Shields as a “passionate educator, a hippie friend and a loving father figure. Ta said that Shields’ teachings “are lasting gifts that I am so lucky to keep.”

Keeping alive the legacy of the past is important, especially to professor Lindsay Twa.

“I had a mentor that always said ‘only God creates out of originality,’” Twa said. “Everything else springs from something in the past. We always stand on the shoulders of the artists and the teachers and the makers.”

As an art historian, Twa believes that we continue to learn from those who came before us. She often tells her students that artists from the past can be their teachers just as much as she can.

“You can take ideas from the past and find new ways to reshape them to bring meaning to the 21st Century,” Twa said.

Art has many meanings in the 21st Century. Not only is it a form of expression, but it is also a way to connect people from different walks of life. There were many different kinds of people attending the gallery’s opening on Friday, Feb. 11, yet it was a shared love for art that united them.

Ogden Dalrymple. Photo by John Peters.

Alexa Lammers, a senior majoring in art and education, feels compelled to learn from her predecessors as she ventures down her artistic path. She co-directed the production of the Eide/Dalrymple exhibit as a way to honor the mentors that came before her. While many of these featured artists were strangers to Lammers, she claims that “getting to know an individual through the work they create is like nothing else.”

“I think one of my favorite things about art is just the community that it comes with,” Lammers said. “There’s kind of a vulnerability that comes with art, and so I think that being able to be vulnerable through your art automatically kind of ties you closer to people that you interact with.”

Art is more than just the ability to hold a pencil and draw. Art connects people; it bridges together the past and the future. The people that attended the gallery opening were strangers, but it was art from other strangers that brought everyone together, even the people who are no longer with us. This gallery collection emphasizes that history is never outdated because we will continue to learn from those who came before us.

The current exhibition will be installed until Saturday, March 19.

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