Four artists were brought together more than a decade ago in graduate school. All of them have stayed in touch over the years and one of them, Andrew Heisey, serves as the chair of the Department of Fine Arts and director of the art program at Waynesburg University.
Monday night in the Waynesburg University Art Gallery, located below the Benedum Dining Hall, the work of Veronica Cianfrano, Jesse Clark and Andy Walker, who all got to know Heisey at the School of the Arts, was first displayed in the opening of their art show. The display will run through Oct. 11.
Cianfrano’s forte in art is painting, in which she has both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Recently, however, she started making collages, and because this is a new form of art for her, she’s starting to enjoy that work more than painting.
“I enjoy collages more because I know less about it,” she said. “I already know enough about painting, and it doesn’t surprise me as much. Because I like to be challenged and like to be surprised, I tend to [enjoy] things I don’t know as much about.”
The collage on display was a compilation of photos that show off big cities such as New York, featuring several pictures of Cianfranos’ family. Another part of the display was a piece of clothing that belonged to her father.
Cianfrano said she was proud to have her work open to the public.
“That’s the whole reason I made it. I want strangers to see what I make,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to be a universal communicator.”
A highlight of Clark’s display was a stone sculpture titled, “Thanks, Guems.” This was made up of a combination of stones and shells, with drawings on each one. Clark used a ballpoint pen on stone and a micron pen on the shells.
Clark had a background in art growing up, but not in the form that would come to define her future career.
“I come from a theater family,” she said. “I was a very shy kid, so performing arts wasn’t necessarily the thing I was strong in.”
Clark began college as a film major, but along the way, she found she loved speaking and drawing. Clark said her work is on display once or twice annually, and has been showcased at locations such as the Delaware Museum of Art and the Pittsburgh Assemble Gallery. Clark was proud to see people looking at her creations.
“It’s a real honor,” she said. “It’s really wonderful being able to be an exhibition to people.”
Walker was not able to attend in person, but Heisey made certain he would see the art show opening by video chatting him. Although he couldn’t be there, Walker was pleased with the finished product.
“I’m very happy with how my own space came out,” he said. “You kind of never know [what people will think] until you prop it on the walls.”
One of Walker’s signature pieces in his portion of the show was a sculpture of a foot stomping on a container of toothpaste. Instead of toothpaste coming out, however, what left the container were human kidneys.
“A lot of my work is kind of both funny and serious,” Walker said. “They’re more like fantasies. Like ‘I wish I could have a toothpaste that kidneys could come out of,’ so I kind of look at it like that. You can’t always be serious. Sometimes you just have to have fun.”
Walker got his undergraduate degree in art history from LaSalle University before studying in Manhattan for several years.
Unlike Clark, Walker has been passionate about art since he was a child.
“My whole family is a bunch of artists, so I’ve been interested in art since I was maybe five or six years old,” Walker said. “There’s never been anything else I’ve wanted to do. It’s always been art.”
For Walker, having his work on display means that all the time he’s put in has finally come to fruition.
“It’s the only way you can complete the process,” he said. “You’re not done unless somebody is actually seeing it. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of people, but you still need other people to see it.”