SHSU Art department to prolong that ‘summer feeling’ with new exhibition

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School is officially in full swing and the Sam Houston State University Art Department will be hosting a two-person exhibition on September 3rd to October 15th. This exhibition, entitled Still Summer, will feature artists Debra Barrera and Kelly O’Connor. The six-week display will showcase several art varieties including installation, video, and collage.

Assistant Professor of Art History, Melissa Mednicov, says preparations for Still Summer have been in discussion for over a year.

“There is a great deal of preparation involved in an art exhibition–from choosing the artists and works in the show, coordinating schedules, installing the work, and much more,” Mednicov said.

She continued, “The works in the exhibition evoke a sense of memory, both of one’s own past and a collective nostalgia—suggesting a shared past, perhaps a past that never existed.”

Still Summer dives deeper into the memories of the Barrera’s childhood athletic background while “O’Connor’s work emphasizes the role in which mass culture plays in making—or building—memory”, Mednicov said.

Artists Barrera and O’Connor are both Texas natives. Barrera recently completed a piece that will permanently become apart of a collection at Rice University. Additionally, Barrera has also been featured in the Window Into Houston Series at Blaffer Art Museum.

O’Connor has also been featured at Blaffer Art Museum and she has more than ten years of experience in collection management and exhibition planning. Both Barrera and O’Connor have been featured in Texas Biennial as well as various museums such as McNay Art Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum between the two artists.

While Still Summer will allow for students to see these various works on their own campus, additionally, both artists will be on campus giving talks on their pieces, and there will be opportunities for SHSU students to critique their works.

When asked about the significance of the title, Mednicov said that the idea of prolonging the feeling of summer had a large impact.

“The title has a few significant aspects: the concept of trying to hold onto summer as long as one can—perhaps due to the memories that summer (and summers past) hold for us.”

Mednicov also hopes that the title evokes a kind of longing for our most recent past summer, and the way in which we try to hold onto summer, and by extension, the memories that summers typically entail.

“Both artists’ works consider and challenge our concept of memory,” Mednicov said. “’Summer often evokes a sense of fun–of the best times; those memories that we try to hold onto most.”

Sam Houston students will be able to relate to the feeling of holding onto the last bit of summer, and the memories that it brings.

Still Summer will be open to all Sam Houston State University students and staff with no charge for admission. Still Summer will be located in the Department of Art’s Gaddis Geeslin Gallery in Art Building F. For more information, contact the art department.