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"Retrospective" to feature work of Art Professor John Beckelman in opening Coe exhibit

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2014-08-29 09:38:06 - General

Circus Bowl 1 by John Beckelman (Earthenware, 1983)

The opening art show of the 2014-15 season at Coe College features an exhibition nearly four decades in the making by Robert O. Daniel Professor of Art John Beckelman. Featuring artwork completed during Beckelman's teaching career at Coe, "Retrospective" presents works in clay including pottery, paintings and sculpture.

The exhibition will be on display in the Marvin Cone and Eaton-Buchan Galleries of Sinclair Auditorium from Friday, Sept. 12 through Sunday, Oct. 5, with gallery hours from 4 - 6 p.m. daily. The exhibit reception will be held in the Sinclair lobby on Friday, Sept. 19, from 5 - 7 p.m. in conjunction with Coe's Homecoming Weekend activities. Both events are free and open to the public.

Since he began teaching at Coe in 1978, Beckelman has not only shared his artistic knowledge and insight with scores of students, but he has also been a prolific artist. His work has been featured in competitive and invitational exhibitions and collections locally, regionally and nationally.

"Since my studio practice was often organized around my teaching and administrative responsibilities at the college, it's interesting to look back and see how the rhythms of creativity and production have been influenced by the demands of the job," said Beckelman. "Having worked almost exclusively in the Coe ceramics and sculpture studios, most of my artwork has been done during summers, often spilling into the fall semester as space and time permitted."

Six Lobed Form by John Beckelman (Stoneware, 2000)

Throughout his time at Coe, Beckelman valued periodic sabbaticals which allowed him the time to create his own art. He also valued the interaction with students as he was working side-by-side with them to complete his own projects.

"I found that working in the Coe studios, often alongside students, while at times constraining, worked well for me in the end. The interaction with those students was almost always both enjoyable and supportive - for me and, I hope, for the students."

In creating his art, Beckelman has found particular satisfaction in working both at the potter's wheel and in using clay as a painting medium.

"My work with clay started on the potter's wheel and to this day there's something in the rhythms of that process, as well as its potential for expression, that I still find pleasurable and exciting," said Beckelman. "The opportune intersection of two and three dimensions, however, along with the addition of various other materials, enable yet more occasions for expression. Accordingly, ever since coming to Coe, my work has moved between two and three dimensions and has often incorporated other materials. In the end, it's the elemental character of clay itself which continues to be the driving force behind much of my work."

Much of the work in the show is on loan from individuals and institutions in the area who had acquired Beckelman's work over the years. The college is grateful to them for agreeing to share the work for this significant occasion.

For more information on the Beckelman exhibit at Coe, call 399-8581.