Dean Johnson Gallery, comprising the main floor of Dean Johnson Design on Massachusetts Avenue, provides a service to art schools and the community by occasionally showcasing the work of art departments and schools in area colleges. Currently on view, the Indiana Wesleyan University Student-Faculty Show offers a glimpse of new talent - students who, presumably, aspire to forge careers in the visual arts, commercially or otherwise. Certainly, Dean Johnson has a vested interest in nurturing the designers of tomorrow: Many of them will undoubtedly come from regional institutions.
"The Indiana Wesleyan University Student-Faculty Show" is currently on view at Dean Johnson Gallery.
The larger question, though, is whether or not creativity is blossoming in the state"s myriad art departments and schools. The exhibit of Indiana Wesleyan work would indicate that things are plugging along at a respectable pace. Artists must begin somewhere, and being a student is a necessary phase in an artist"s development. From this standpoint, it seems apparent that most of the work is at a student level, which isn"t to say the work isn"t good. There is a fine mix of media and expression here, with a small number of works that stand out; but mostly, these are beginning to intermediate artists who are finding their way and are perhaps still borrowing from the aesthetics of their teachers. From competent photography to fine brushwork, students at Indiana Wesleyan appear to take themselves fairly seriously. One has to wonder, though, how many of them will pursue careers in art post-graduation? What does the future hold by way of opportunity for young artists? The reality is that most art students do not pursue art full-time. This, of course, does not render the degree meaningless - we could all stand to spend some time expressing ourselves creatively with the guidance of a good instructor or two. Peering around the gallery, one gets a sense, or rather a confirmation, that what is on the minds of our students now is perhaps much the same as what was on the minds of students in previous generations. I noted some tortured faces as subject matter; moody photographs of young women; some architectural photographs taken from unique vantage points; and some familiar abstract sculpture. Among the exhibiting professors, the work appeared to be less about self and more about the chosen medium. Conspicuously absent was any sort of edgy experimentation on the part of either students or teachers. We all must start somewhere. I"ll leave it up to the folks at Dean Johnson, the employers of tomorrow, to decide whether or not there"s somewhere to go.