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‘Finders, Buyers, Traders, Makers’: Phaze 2 Gallery features art faculty collections

By Staff | Feb 7, 2020

From left, husband-and-wife Paul Marino and Carolyn Marino talk with Shepherd University professor Michael Mendez, during the exhibit opening reception on Jan. 30. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Phaze 2 Gallery’s first exhibit of 2020, “Finders, Buyers, Traders, Makers: Artwork from the Personal Collections of Shepherd University Art Faculty,” opened last week, and featured an opening reception on Jan. 30.

While Phaze 2 Gallery has held a wide variety of exhibits since its founding in 2016, featuring the work of Shepherd University students, faculty members and guest artists, this is the first time the gallery has held an exhibit of this kind.

“This is the first time we’ve done this kind of exhibition. I’d like to continue doing them, every two or three years,” said Phaze 2 Gallery director Evan Boggess.

The 2019-2020 school year is Boggess’ first year as a painting and drawing professor at Shepherd, which he said led him to wonder about what pieces would be in the art collections of his fellow faculty members.

“It’s kind of a direct idea, but everyone collects,” said Phaze 2 Gallery director Evan Boggess about his fellow art faculty members. “This is my version of snooping — I really wanted to see what all the faculty are holding. I wanted to see where everybody’s standards are, in terms of quality and beauty, and I was pretty impressed! Some of these folks are holding some good stuff.”

Shepherd University adjunct professor Robert Farmer loaned five of his "Wonder Goblins," which were vinyl paint on vinyl figures created by James Sizemore, to be featured in the Phaze 2 Gallery exhibit. Tabitha Johnston

Evan himself submitted a few paintings that held personal significance to him, one of which was a gift from his father, Lynn H. Boggess.

“It doesn’t fall in the category of a traditional landscape,” Evan said, mentioning his father hadn’t always painted abstract landscapes. “At some point, he just broke from painting the landscape the way he always had. It has something captivating about it.”

For junior painting major Alex Grassi, the exhibit had taught her some unexpected things about her own teachers, both from seeing the art they have collected, and reading the stories they connect with their art.

“I think it’s pretty neat, how they have an exhibit of things that the professors didn’t make, but that they collected. That doesn’t happen very often,” Grassi said. “All the pieces, they’re wildly different, because they’re collected from different sources.

“I read some of the plaques explaining the meanings of the collections to the professors, and it’s really amazing,” Grassi said. “The first one I read was written by my advisor, and it said something I hadn’t heard about her — her husband had died from cancer, and so the piece meant more to her because it was connected to that experience. Some of the other explanations were also interesting, but that stood out to me.”

"Untitled," a steel and lead sculpture, is a piece of art from Shepherd University faculty member Christian Benefiel in the Phaze 2 Gallery exhibit. Tabitha Johnston

Along with faculty members and students, community members also stopped by to check out the exhibit during its reception.

“I saw it was going to be a faculty collection, so I wanted to come here and reimmerse myself in art,” said Carolyn Marino, who graduated from Shepherd’s art program. “It’s nice to see that some of them even collected student works.”

Carolyn’s husband, Paul Marino, agreed with her.

“To some degree, you get to see what someone who teaches a particular thing would collect, so it’s very interesting to get this glimpse into their mind,” Paul said.