Show the work

UNR students at Stremmel Gallery

“Off Spring” by Jon Farber, an artist whose work merges spoken thoughts with mental images.

“Off Spring” by Jon Farber, an artist whose work merges spoken thoughts with mental images.

Photo By Dana NÖllsch

They’d hoped for two or three spots on the wall, maybe one little room to showcase some talent coming out of the University of Nevada, Reno’s art department. Certainly not the entire Stremmel Gallery. So it came as quite a surprise for UNR professor Howard Rosenberg and his students that their work would be offered just that—16 artists, 15 days and the entire gallery.

“One day Pete [Stremmel] and I decided to look at the UNR artists, since we hadn’t been there in a while,” says Turkey Stremmel. “We’d told them we were coming and that we wanted the best the department could produce. And we were blown away by the quality and diversity.”

She and two gallery employees handpicked the work of 16 undergraduate and graduate artists for the exhibit: Bryan Christiansen, Ashlea Clark, Jeff Erickson, Jon Farber, Aby Henry, Ahren Hertel, Harmony Hilderbrand, Richard Jackson, Jane Kenoyer, Seth Mach, Justin Manfredi, Dominique Palladino, Jeremy Stern, Patrick Szucs, Melissa Test and Ashley Westwood. Mediums include paint, sculpture, photography, etching, ceramics and color printer.

Next for the students came some much-needed lessons in the art business.

“Turkey spent hours with them going over their portfolios, talking to them about how to manage their inventory, why they pay a split, what to expect from a gallery show, stuff we can’t always teach them because we’re so busy talking to them about making their art,” says Rosenberg.

“I think after I finished, they were surprised at what all was involved in a show like this,” says Stremmel. “I told them, ‘If you’re going to be on this professional path, you need to know what to look for’ … We talked about how we’d price them, and I really drilled that it needs to be affordable.” Her efforts have already paid off. Before the show even opened on Oct. 1, four pieces had been sold.

“Presentation of the pieces is something I’m constantly working on, so it was wonderful brainstorming with the gallery staff to find the best series of solutions for that work,”says Jeremy Stern, an MFA student who has done a handful of solo shows and several private commissions.

He’ll be displaying art that involves manually editing maps as part of an investigation into our changing landscape and how we see and interpret the physical world around us.

“Mostly, I’m just excited to show the work,” he says. “It never feels done until it’s out in front of other people.”

Jane Kenoyer’s highly detailed oil portraiture explores her family’s identity and oral tradition, incorporating details of her adventurous great grandmother’s life, as well as oceanic elements, into her work. The BFA student has appeared at the Sierra Arts Gallery and the Sheppard Gallery at UNR, as well as the Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle. Still, she’s learned valuable lessons through this exhibition.

“This experience has brought me new friendships, newfound confidence and a great opportunity to explore our community outside the academic setting,” she says.

This is the first professional gallery showing for recent BFA grad Jon Farber, whose eclectic body of work includes bronze sculpture, ceramics and drawings along the theme of “mentalese,” his own internal language that merges the spoken word with mental imagery.

“This is an eye-opening experience for me, learning about what people expect from me and what I should expect,” he says.

Even though these are brand-new lessons for many of the students, Turkey Stremmel says the work is anything but amateurish, and the community will be impressed.

“The fact that someone came in cold, with a critical eye, and found 16 artists is magical,” says Rosenberg. “It’s an education the students can’t get anyplace else.”