Desert Aquarium

The Wright Gallery’s opening exhibition for 2020 showcases the work of Texas Panhandle artists and the dusty plains they call home.

In-house until March 10, “Notes From the Desert Aquarium” features artwork from Texan artists Carol Flueckiger and Robin Germany. The idea to bring these works to Aggieland was proposed by Karen Hillier, a professor at the Department of Visualization, who discovered the work of Flueckiger and Germany while attending different art shows.

“I’m an artist and I’m aware of other artists' work,” Hillier said. “I came to one of the shows that they did. I’ve also been in a show with one of the artists before. You’re pretty much aware of who your colleagues are.”

Both Flueckiger and Germany have created bodies of work that emphasize the negative impact people continue to have on the environment.

“The work is photo-based,” Hillier said. “They have a very unusual paint-oriented approach to photography. Their work also has a really interesting balance between being really free to create very good visual artistic work, and having content within the work that raises issues that increases our awareness of what we’re doing to the environment.”

Not only is the message within the art, but it can also be found in the process of making the pieces themselves.

“Germany works with photographic emulsion,” Hillier said. “She posts the emulsion onto a surface, in this case, a very large piece of museum quality paper. When the emulsion is dry, it dries in a dim to dark place. She takes it outside to use the sun as the light source for exposing the image. She’s very interested in modes of transportation that are powered by individuals, where we’re not using fossils.”

The opening night reception for the gallery was held on Jan. 21, where the artists fielded questions and talked with guests from the committee. Setting up for the exhibit’s biggest night required postcards to be mailed, invitations to be shipped and continuous communication with the artists. This work was mainly handled by Shanielle Veazie, Administrative Coordinator for the College of Architecture.

Veazie said she was never interested in art exhibits or museums in general while growing up. However, after working at the College of Architecture and learning more about the work that goes into the displays, her appreciation for the art has grown over time.

“I didn’t know how to look at art pieces before,” Veazie said. “I thought of it as just another piece of art. The conversations I had with the artists changed my point of view. The work brought me back to my childhood. I got lost in the pictures of oceans and books in the ocean. It really connected me to my younger days.”

After taking part in a number of art installations, Veazie said her favorite behind the scenes part of a show involves creating a support system for the artists.

“Every person isn’t supposed to be a doctor or a firefighter,” Veazie said. “Some people are artists because that’s how they desire to be seen. Whether it's paperwork, vinyl letters or putting the artwork up for display, the act of support gives me a new perceptive. It shows me that artists really appreciate the assistance the College of Architecture provides them when they come. It’s important we support art.”

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