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"August Complex Fire" made by Susan Ferguson hangs in the We are the Change Exhibit in Porter Hall. The exhibit will be shown until Oct. 26. Annabella Beachner

Porter Hall features fiber-based art exhibition

“August Complex Fire” made by Susan Ferguson hangs in the We are the Change Exhibit in Porter Hall. The exhibit will be shown until Oct. 26. Annabella Beachner

Porter Hall features an exhibit by Susan Ferguson, showcasing various pieces with messages covering environmental awareness and oceanic themes as part of the 2022-2023 Porter Hall Gallery season.

The exhibit will be shown until Oct. 26 on the first floor of Porter Hall. The exhibit features pieces made by Ferguson since her introduction into handweaving in 2014. Susan turned her focus to the environment in 2019, “exploring the colors, shapes, and textures of nature through fibers, textiles, and encaustic painting,” according to the artist. 

“It’s been a while since we’ve had any fiber-based work,” said James Oliver, chair of the department of art. “Probably pre the ‘stay at home’ order, so 2019 or 2018, and it’s an excellent opportunity for students to see both fiber-based work as well as work with a lot of color and texture. Traditionally we show a lot of flatworks—paintings, drawings, so having a variety is definitely a benefit for our students as well as the entire community.”

Every six weeks, a new exhibition is featured in Porter Hall’s university galleries. The featured artist will speak in an opening reception to commemorate their work, which is open for students to attend and meet the artist. Exhibitions are chosen by a panel of students and faculty in the art department that review proposals for each upcoming year. This year’s exhibitions feature artists from all over the country, including Texas, Ohio, and Kentucky.

“Because I teach crafts, which includes fiber work, it’s exciting to have an exhibit here where the students can actually see the work in person instead of just look at pictures of it,” said Janet Lewis, associate instructional professor.

Ferguson is a fiber artist from Independence, Missouri, with degrees in English. 14 years ago, Ferguson abandoned her career teaching English to pursue a creative career. Ferguson is the recipient of the 2021 Rocket Relief Emergency Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation, as well as ArtsKC Regional Arts Council Inspiration Grants in 2018 and 2019, among other various accomplishments and classes in handweaving. 

“For me, I’m looking at one, how the artist talks about her process, and two, how I would read the work through the lens I have, which I am a painter, and so I think there’s something for everyone whether they make art or not to take from the work.” Oliver said. “For the students on campus, and the community at large in Pittsburg, we offer an opportunity for them to come in and see a variety of contemporary artists– and listen to them speak, see their work, and understand that how you perceive artwork can be changed just by seeing a lot of artworks. Most community members would probably perceive coming to a gallery as mostly decorative, but that’s not all that it’s about, you don’t need to make art to love art, so I would welcome anyone on campus to come up and take a look at the work, and contemplate.”

On Nov. 2, a new exhibition will be featured in the gallery. The gallery schedule is available online (www.pittstate.edu/art).

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