Jurors explore consciousness with dreamscapes

Every year the Student Union Art Gallery hosts a show of student self-portraits. The art is judged by guest jurors invited by the gallery’s faculty advisory board. This year, for the first time, the jurors are getting their own show.

“No Big Heads Self Portrait Exhibition” jurors and husband and wife artists, Johntimothy Pizzuto and Patti Roberts-Pizzuto, opened this month’s Student Union Gallery exhibition on Nov. 3 with their collection, “Mapping Histories.”

“The act of making marks lets me come to a richer understanding of the traces we leave as we pass through and the place we make for ourselves in the world,” Robert-Pizzuto wrote in an e-mailed statement.

Michelle Hayworth, the Student Union Gallery director, said she is very pleased with the outcome.

“They’ve obviously poured their heart and soul into these pieces,” she said. “As I was setting up the show I thought, this would be a great addition to No Big Heads every year. I think in this context it is very sophisticated, there are many intricate details and it is the fact that it’s a husband-and-wife team interacting artistically, which really makes the show exceptional.”

The pieces are diminutive, dramatically fluid interpretations of nostalgic dreamscapes, a mix of dry point, photo intaglio, graphite and embroidery on beeswax, collage and handmade paper.

Overall, the show is a combination of mass communication and emotive culture.

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UAA student Natalia Slavortina was struck by the show’s uniqueness.

“It is unlike any other show that I’ve seen here, it is very imaginative,” Slavortina said, “I can get a little look into peoples minds with the materials used, their interests are obvious and I can see what exactly they were trying to portray.”

Geography and history professor Dorn Van Dommelan said that he was initially intrigued with the title of the show.

“They seem to be interesting prints, but I’m not convinced that they’re map-like,” he said.

Van Dommelan said he thought the show’s varying medias were interesting, but would have preferred a different name.

Possibly the artists were conveying a sort of internal map. They wonder whether a map of history-related emotion would look anything like a map of the world.

“I am interested in a tension I feel in this post-modern world between the culture of mass media, mass image and the culture of high art,” wrote Pizutto. “There are the worlds of the handmade and the mass produced. What happens to the voices of consciousness, history and memory when layered upon each other and fragmented in the morass of information and images?”

The husband-and-wife team reside in South Dakota, and both have extensive artistic backgrounds spanning the realms of photography, printmaking, fiber art and more. They have filled two decades with intuitive, rousing and unusual artwork throughout the United States.

Former UAA art student Alivia Holman looked forward to their assessment of next month’s student exhibit.

“It will be exciting to see the way the artists judge No Big Heads after viewing their personally crafted work in the gallery,” she said.

“Mapping Histories” will be at the Student Union Gallery Nov. 3-17. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday.