Cazenovia College’s art gallery at Reisman Hall saw the opening reception to the Sabbatical Returns Exhibition at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26.
The show featured an impressive array of artwork by three returning professors: Corky Goss, professor of studio art; Anita Welych, professor of studio art; and Karen Steen professor of fashion design. The event was free and open to the public, but the audience was composed mostly of Cazenovia students, dozens of whom attended.
When on sabbatical, faculty members are expected to complete some significant work in their discipline – to provide to their institution some proof of their productivity. Gallery Director Jen Pepper referred to sabbaticals as “a gift of time.”
Goss had on display a number of mural designs, in pencil and illustration board and in some cases in acrylic, and also mural “site photos.” These were juxtaposed with several more personal, and decidedly more abstract, paintings.
In his remarks Goss made a distinction between “a public life and a really inner life,” saying he “equate[s] that with a relationship between the outside world and the inner world and the dynamics of that.” The goal of the former, as exemplified in his mural designs, is “to enhance life on the street for others over time,” whereas the latter is “a walk in the woods,” wherein “there really is no map.”
He cited as inspiration for the more personal work, “totemic symbolism,” “chakras” and “tantric buddhism.” His goal with these paintings was to express his sense of “that inner life we all possess – to give form to that inner feeling of vitality; to essentially turn oneself inside-out,” he said. Goss refers to this as “spiritual anatomy.”
His art involves “opening up inspiration, rather than providing clarity and ‘only’ answers,” Goss said. “Art is often a wrestling match. Sometimes a dance – but sometimes a wrestling match, harnessing what the form is trying to become,” he added.