Artwork by faculty from diverse academic disciplines on display
Outside of UWL Provost Betsy Morgan’s office on the second floor of Graff Main Hall is the beginning of an art collection featuring UWL faculty works. A couple of years ago Morgan became interested in art produced by faculty who are not aligned with a discipline necessarily associated with art.
Works from Nabamita Dutta, Economics; Karl Kattchee, Mathematics; and Adrienne Loh, School of Education and Chemistry, are currently on display.
Loh, interim associate dean of the School of Education and chemistry professor, says art and chemistry both require visualizing something that is — in essence — intangible. As a chemist, she constructs images of matter and interactions on an atomic scale in her mind to understand what is happening on a level far smaller than any optical device can detect. Also, as a photographer, she is visualizing the intangible — looking for essential physical elements that create a sense of place or feeling.
“For me, both disciplines require similar approaches — creativity, experimentation, inspiration and a certain amount of luck,” explains Loh.
For Kattchee, associate professor of mathematics, math and art are inseparable — like two sides of the same coin, he says.
“Mathematics can be the subject of artwork, or it can be part of the process. Sometimes both happen at the same time,” he notes. “In the case of ‘Theory of Intersection,’ [currently on display in the Provost Office] I designed an interlace pattern based on a combinatorial problem I was working on, cropped it to focus on a certain detail, and then challenged my sister [artist Lisa Kattchee] to render the image in acrylic paint. Her work is outstanding.”
Kattchee experiments with many different kinds of media. He typically starts with an abstract drawing in ink or pencil and then works with it digitally.
Nabamita Dutta, associate professor of economics and a photographer, says her economics research has led to her exploration of art.
She has traveled around the world to present economics research. And that traveling has expanded her pursuit of photography over the last decade.
“As I traveled more, I wanted to explore more through the camera lens,” she says. “The camera lens has allowed me to look at simple things and see how amazingly beautiful they are.”
Dutta talks more about her exploration of photography through travel in this blog.
Loh calls the exploration of the interfaces between academic disciplines enriching both professionally and personally.
“As an educator, I feel it is important for our students to appreciate that there are no real boundaries between disciplines, and that ideas and outcomes are richer and more interesting when different ways of thinking and seeing come together,” she says.
This is not the first time these faculty members have displayed their art on campus. Dutta and Kattchee were part of a 2015 art exhibit at Murphy’s Mug, called “Second Shift.” It featured UWL faculty members exploring the role of the visual arts within their scholarly disciplines and life.
Loh’s work was part of an exhibit with Art Professor Karen Terpstra in November 2017 at the University Art Gallery.
These faculty are also showing their work in communities near and far. Dutta was recently featured in a Pump House exhibit in La Crosse. And Loh is an upcoming featured artist at the Pump House as part of their 2019-20 season. Kattchee’s work won best of show in a 2016 Seattle exhibition and will be displayed in Stockholm, Sweden later this summer.
- Adrienne Loh’s work will be featured in the Front Gallery of the Pump House May 30 – July 20, 2019. This architectural miniseries of gateways features physical elements or perspectives that create a sense of place and invitation.
- Karl Kattchee’s work will be featured at the Bridges Exhibition of Mathematical Art, Tekniska Museet, in Stockholm, Sweden, July 24-29, 2018.