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The 55th and final Annual Faculty Exhibition in the University Gallery in East Central University's Art Department is underway from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through May 9. A reception for the artists will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today [THURSDAY].

The department and gallery, now located through the east entrance of the Education Building, will move to the new Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center when it is completed.

Traditionally, the function of the faculty show is to demonstrate each faculty member's expertise and new concepts for their students. This year the faculty has been busy exhibiting throughout the region and continues to dominate juried exhibitions around the state, said Dr. Brad Jessop, chair of the department.

Several of the artists are working with themes of identity, consumption and policies that have broad-based impact on peoples' lives and the artist's experiences with them.

Kate Rivers, who has been very active on the exhibition scene this spring, is exhibiting paintings and collages that investigate socially invested imagery. Several of her collages use images of birds' nests as metaphor. Her painting continues to explore juxtapositions of body and culture.

Aaron Hauck's current work consists of digital collages using images appropriated from the internet and a large styrene "Hummer."

"The work is intended to be a commentary, not an attack, on our current American culture," Hauck said. "Our culture is becoming more and more commercially driven and we are grasped in its stranglehold. As much as I dislike it, I am its product."

Jessop is exhibiting a new series of collages, watercolors and paintings. These works take a critical view of social norms and contradictions with them.

"Principally, the work is about the postmodern condition," Jessop said. "In this series of collages I examine the roles currently thrust upon us by the media, outside forces or politicians, and visually contrast those roles with my own perceptions and choices."

Adjunct faculty with works in the show are Wayneath Weddle, who is exhibiting a new series of pots with art nouveau forms coupled with fast fire techniques, and Paul Walsh, who is exhibiting paintings in egg tempera that are derived from observation and imagination.

Admission to the show is free.

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