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Exhibition of Faculty Work Travels to China

Exhibition of Faculty Work Travels to China

Posted: June 18, 2012

Philip Ogle, professor and chair of the Fine Arts Department, recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Beijing, China, where he shepherded 21 pieces of two-dimensional art created by Buffalo State faculty.

As part of the artistic exchange Make Your Mark: The Culture of Drawing with Capital Normal University in Beijing, drawings and paintings by faculty from the fine arts, art education, and design departments were exhibited in a university gallery May 10–22. Some faculty members created work specifically for Make Your Mark, while others sent previous pieces that fit into the parameters of the show.

“It was nice to see the work from the various disciplines all together,” Ogle said. “A few faculty members said it was the first time they had gotten involved in this kind of thing in a long time.”

In exchange, an exhibit from Capital Normal faculty was on exhibit at the Czurles-Nelson Gallery April 29–May 4, and included an impressive collection of Western-style drawings, abstract paintings, and muted watercolors in the more traditional Chinese style.

A number of students in Beijing attended the opening for the Buffalo State show and eagerly wanted Ogle to go around and explain the various pieces, which he did with the help of an interpreter.

“They had so much interest in our work,” he said, adding that they asked him to share a PowerPoint presentation of his own work and explain how it fits into the contemporary context of the art world. He talked about the importance of honoring both convention and invention in creating art.

“Their work tends to be very routed in the past,” Ogle said. “The Chinese are still discovering themselves and are fascinated with what is happening in the United States, in particular, and Europe, too.”

During his free time, Ogle explored some of the museums and galleries of Beijing and said he realized there is a huge opportunity for western artists in China. 

“A vast majority of tourists are Chinese,” Ogle said. “What you are seeing is the coming age of the middle class.” And they are hungry for new cultural experiences.

He also visited faculty and student studios on the Capital Normal campus to see the projects they are working on.

“It never ceases to amaze me that students are the same the world over,” he said. “They have the same kind of questions, the same kind of concerns.”

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