Opening Coe College exhibits feature alumni art

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2007-08-30 13:26:40 - General

The first art show of the 2007-2008 season at Coe College features the inauguration of an exhibition series highlighting the creative achievements of the college's art department alumni. The featured artists include Angela Foley (ceramics) and Erin Wells (illustration) showing together in one gallery, with mixed media from Eric Carroll (installation) and Jennifer Rogers (installation) in the other gallery.

The exhibits open in conjunction with a reception in the Sinclair Auditorium lobby on Friday, Sept. 14, from 5-7 p.m. The artwork will continue to be on display from Sept. 15 through Oct. 7 from 3-5 p.m. daily in the Marvin Cone and Eaton-Buchan Galleries of Sinclair on the Coe campus. In addition, a special Homecoming Weekend reception will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Both the receptions and the exhibitions are free and open to the public.

According to gallery director and instructor of art Agnieszka Ligendza, the alumni exhibits will allow Coe to showcase the talent of its own graduates.  Future plans include more special alumni exhibits.

"Over the next several years, we plan on showing the work of small groups of our alumni who are working as practicing artists," said Ligendza. "We hope that the series will serve to inspire current students while highlighting the successes of our alumni."

Details of the exhibits are as follows:

A vase made by Angela Foley

Angela Foley pottery exhibit
Angela Foley got her start as a potter in high school and received a fine arts scholarship to attend Coe College. During her senior year in 1995, she sold some of her work at art shows and went onto work as a pottery apprentice at the Amana Colonies.

Later that year, Foley took a job as a UPS driver for the 1995 Christmas season, and made a delivery to the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minn. Foley soon had a clay studio going in the basement of the center, and in 1998 she left UPS to become a full-time artist.

Today, Foley is an award-winning artist who specializes in pots and vases, which are often described as "elegant and curvaceous." She creates both wheel-thrown pottery and functional stoneware/dinnerware, making everything from Raku urns and jewelry boxes to small jars with lids, pasta bowls, and wine bottle chillers. In recent years, Foley has been working on asymmetrical pieces, including wall tiles and landscapes.

"Throwing pots is a constant source of joy for me, but in becoming self-employed, my joy has evolved into a belief…a commitment. It's the belief that the work of my hands is truly my calling, and if I make what I believe in, it will sustain me. It will bring me peace," said Foley. "The lines of my work speak of history, of the potters before me. They recall ancient burial urns, Etruscan water vessels and decorative trading vessels. They are the forms that please me. They are reflections of the people I meet and love. They are sunsets at my family's farm. They are the fires and passions within me…they are where I keep my secrets."

Foley regularly displays her pottery at various art shows across the Midwest, and she offers private lessons at her Red Wing studio.

Illustration for "Ghost Story" by Erin Wells

Erin Wells illustrations exhibit
Erin Wells graduated from Coe College in 1989 with degrees in art and English, and went on to earn her M.F.A. in traditional illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2005. She resides in San Mateo, Calif.

Specializing in pencil, pastel, and watercolor illustration, Wells says she gets the most enjoyment from the collaborative effort between client and artist, which creates an exciting and often surprising development of concepts.

"Like a lot of art, my works are intended to evoke a certain mood or to suggest a story," noted Wells. "While I'm meeting a client's needs or creating personal art, there is a narrative thread or mood to convey: a 'story' to present, even if it's just a fragment of memory, a fleeting sense of place, a mood sparked by music, a conversation, or a dream."

Wells' work has been shown at exhibitions across the country, from California to New York. Among her clients are several well-respected publishing companies, with her illustrations appearing in many books.

"One Year" by Eric William Carroll

Eric William Carroll mixed media exhibit
Eric William Carroll is a Minneapolis-based artist exploring the metaphorical potential of photography. He received his bachelor's degree at Coe College in 2002 and his M.F.A. in photography from the University of Minnesota in 2006 on a graduate school fellowship.

Art historian Arthur Danto referred to Carroll's thesis show, "One Year of Taking Pictures," as "...the most diabolical work I've ever seen." His work has been shown in various galleries and institutions across the United States and Canada. Carroll has completed residencies with Art City and the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary and currently works as Alec Soth's studio manager. Eric also fronts the indie-rock band Tim Rally Gold, which the City Pages referred to as "a minor cult-band in the making."

Carroll's "Human Error" mixed media presentation is an exhibition in three chapters. "Tests & Arrays" finds the artist attempting to draw designs used to calibrate photographic equipment. "Dust & Scratches" is a series of darkroom experiments that solely depict those images of photography. "Sneezing & Crying" is a series of photographs/video stills/self-portraits that depict the artist either sneezing or crying. Together, this somewhat disparate group of work attempts to approach the topic of the mistake as something uniquely human and beautiful.

A display of mixed media sculpture by Jennifer Rogers

Jennifer Rogers mixed media exhibit
Jennifer Rogers graduated cum laude from Coe in 2003. In 2007, she earned an M.F.A. at the University of Minnesota, and she resides in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

Rogers has displayed her work at various shows and galleries in the Twin Cities, as well as Philadelphia, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and other cities. She is also the recipient of several awards and grants.

Regarding her mixed media exhibit, Rogers noted, "The compulsive nature of art making is mimetic of daily chores in the home; it suggests an ongoing struggle with ceaseless labor and the futility of life. Through an investigation of labor, routine, compulsion, repetition, and home, I confront the ongoing struggle with endless labor. The result highlights the extent to which we are all essentially caught in a series of repetitive, monotonous, and laborious actions that have the potential for producing feelings of entrapment or freedom."

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