Faculty members display art at Judith Rae Solomon Gallery

Studio art professors Debra DeGregorio and Paige Stewart are showcasing their artwork Oct. 11-Oct. 22 in Bliss Hall.

By Emily McCarthy

The department of visual and dramatic arts is hosting an art exhibition featuring the work of two faculty members Oct. 11 through Oct. 22, in the Judith Rae Solomon Gallery.

Debra DeGregorio, part-time studio art professor, is one of the two staff members displaying work in the exhibition. She has been teaching for 12 years and specializes in mixed media drawing.

“Visually, I am inspired by other artists — by seeing their work — and also by nature,” she said. “I gardened professionally and I garden a lot on my own so, sort of the macro and micro of nature is inspiring.”

While most of DeGregorio’s work is displayed locally, she sent work to places like Chicago and Arizona for juried art shows. She said her work made for this specific gallery has been unique with the experience of COVID-19 visibly affecting her work.

“I made a lot of work during COVID and it wasn’t — for a lot of people — a great time. It was a struggle. So a lot of the work, I just kind of had to make myself do work because it was pretty isolating and unstimulating.” she said. “With that period ending and things becoming more open, I think the work I’ve been working on has reflected that … it’s been a little more joyous and liberating.”

Paige Stewart, part-time studio art professor, is the other staff member with work in the exhibition. Her work has been shown in several states including: New York, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington DC, Maryland, Vermont and Connecticut. She said she is inspired by a lot of things, but being in her work environment is what makes the art.

Color and light are really important to me and I look to nature for my initial ideas.  I’m also influenced by stories, animation, philosophy, Biblical stories, psychology and other artists,” she said.  “I’m interested in how stories and archetypes can influence people and societies … I have a lot of interests that help generate ideas by just working through things, whether I want to work or not.  Being in the studio is what produces art.”

Stewart said the work in this exhibition is a mix of invented landscapes and observational paintings. Working toward this deadline helped her finish paintings she was struggling to complete. 

Stephanie Smith, chair of the department of visual & dramatic arts, is proud to have the opportunity to showcase the work of Stewart and DeGregorio. She said the gallery exhibits art from two-dimensional and three-dimensional work to time-based video and installation.

“Faculty teaching in YSU’s studio art program maintain active studios and continue to exhibit their work locally, nationally, and in many cases, internationally. Teaching artists, who are active in the professional field, are best equipped to train students in their conceptual, technical and professional development,” Smith said. “We are extremely fortunate and proud to have such a strong group of active artists working at YSU. Debra DeGregorio and Paige Stewart both exhibit widely and it is a real treat for us to be able to showcase their work on YSU campus.”

The gallery will be open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Judith Ray Solomon Gallery in Bliss Hall.