Faculty art exhibit opens at SMC

Published 9:19 am Tuesday, November 20, 2018

DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College’s annual faculty exhibit is not just art instructors’ work, but pieces from faculty representing nursing, mathematics, environmental and biological sciences, chemistry, communications, English and welding.

“This is the first time we decided to reach out beyond the visual art faculty to show work that expresses the creative campus community we have,” Visual and Performing Arts Department Chairman Marc Dombrosky said. “Some I knew of, such as [Chemistry Instructor] Dr. Doug Schauer’s wood carvings, but it’s been really exciting meeting new artists.”

“All Faculty Invited” will be on view through Thursday, Dec. 6, in the SMC Art Gallery, room 108 of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus. Hours are Monday/Wednesday, 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Bill Rothwell, who teaches graphic design, offers glimpses into other aspects of his creativity. He happened to be in Oceanside in his native California last July during Supergirl Surf Pro, the world’s largest women’s surf event and music festival. “Climbing the Crest” and “Shredding the Curl,” digital photographic prints on canvas, were culled from 3,000 images made from a pier over three days.

Rothwell also displayed monoprint photo transfers of 1940 Studebakers and a Pictured Rocks kayaker that are souvenirs from his immersive week studying at Ox Bow, School of Art and Artists’ Residency, in Saugatuck.

“I used solvent to transfer black-and-white prints to a special French paper — not the company in Niles, but from France,” Rothwell said.

With chemistry and mathematics degrees and a background teaching everything from English to physical education, it would be easy not to know Joe Coti started college as an art major. His advisor recognized Coti’s aptitude for math and science and steered him that way with, “You can always paint.” Coti showed a 1973 oil painting of an Austrian church and a 2013 pen-and-ink interpretation of a Van Gogh painting.

Ferenc Sefcsik, Niles campus welding instructor, was born in the Netherlands and came to America at 18. He followed his Hungarian father into coppersmithing and lived in Arizona for 17 years. Sefcsik entered a fountain called Fire and Water made from a $500 bronze sheet.

Math-Science Department Chair Ria Thomas created stained glass infused with Notre Dame colors, plus a touch of red.

“You have to be really focused and it’s calming,” she said. “Grinding the glass down and making everything as perfect as possible is my favorite part.”

SMC’s 2017 Fulltime Faculty of the Year Gail Shirey, who teaches critical thinking and analytical reading, finds making crossbody bags therapeutic. “The precision, passion, rigor and clarity of your classroom teaching carries over into your purses,” Dombrosky observed.

Mathematics Instructor Gary Franchy claimed an empty pedestal held Seurat’s Folly, a “zero-dimensional sculpture inspired by pointillism, minimalism and Dadaism.” Georges Seurat, the French painter, devised pointillism. Dadaism debuted after World War I to ridicule the meaninglessness of the modern world.

“It represents the true nature of a mathematical point,” Franchy said. “You might not be able to see it because it’s abstract. You could consider my submission highly conceptual or an outright joke. Art is in the eye of the beholder.”