RJ Thompson, assistant professor at the Department of Art, will be one of the many artists featured at the Uncharted Biennial Faculty Show.
RJ Thompson, assistant professor at the Department of Art, will be one of the many artists featured at the Uncharted Biennial Faculty Show.

On January 23, the Youngstown State University Department of Art began their Uncharted Biennial Faculty Show. It is an exhibition of new and old faculty’s contemporary art and talks with the faculty members about their journeys through their fields. The exhibition will be running through March 7.

Leslie Brothers, the director of the McDonough Museum of Art, said this showcase has been done for over 40 years and has been part of McDonough’s programming since 1991.

“The show is always a hit and represents the latest ideas and approaches in contemporary art and design,” Brothers said.

Not only are the three new faculty members — Missy McCormick, RJ Thompson and Claudia Berlinski — displaying their work, but there will also be faculty talks throughout the duration of the show.

“For the university community and the community at large, it is a unique opportunity to find out what the research interests are of the faculty in the department of art,” Brothers said.

One of the three newly featured faculty members is RJ Thompson. Thompson focuses his work on professional practice — he called it retrospective.

Thompson said that he is excited to present his work to his fellow faculty members, including that showing them is an honor because they are so prominent themselves within their own fields.

“I believe that the retrospective strategy is important to my students as they are going to be embarking on their own careers, and it could give them a preview of the type of works that they could be creating the first few years after they graduate,” Thompson said.

Claudia Berlinski, assistant professor in the department of art, is another new feature to the show.

“The McDonough museum hosts a biennial faculty exhibition. … Each time they have the show, they try to feature some faculty whether they are new members of the department or maybe they have been on sabbatical and they have produced a new body of work,” Berlinski said.

One of her pieces in the show is a large composite image of sky snapshots taken with her iPhone.

“It is a photographic piece. It was assembled on Photoshop, but it is printed on vinyl, like a vinyl banner almost like a billboard. … I haven’t determined whether it has been successful or not but it was just sort of an experiment in terms of what material it was printed on,” Berlinski said.

Missy McCormick’s, another assistant professor of the department of art, work in the show is a different kind of piece — a sculptural one.

“Well the work I have in the show is made from Earthenware clay, surfaced with terra sigillata, a historical smooth matte to satin finish,” McCormick said. “This surface provides a means to build up layers of color. … The work is both functional and sculptural.”

McCormick has been working on pieces like this over the last year.

“My current work also deals with the concepts of the passing of time, personal perspectives and things ‘fitting’ together to create a whole,” McCormick said. “My intent is to utilize functional objects and pull from our understanding of domestic forms such as tiles, knobs, containers as a format to speak of larger ideas of time, visual and physical space, perspective and different sorts of connections we have and make in our lives.”

Berlinski said she is enjoying teaching at YSU and is getting and sharing much experience inside and outside of the classroom.

“It is great, it is very busy. There is a lot of other things involved with the job besides just teaching, which has its ups and downs. But the teaching is great and I am working with more students independently as well as the classroom,” Berlinski said.

A goal that Thompson said he has is to help his students not only creatively, but also to work on preparing them to go into the competitive job market — by shaping them through portfolios and experience.

“The world, to a certain extent, is my gallery,” Thompson said.