The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Household objects made into art

By Zanab Jaffrey/reporter

Home building blocks made an interesting introduction to the art show currently on NW Campus.

The works of Janet Chaffee and Benito Huerta, husband-and-wife artists, are on display in the Lakeview Gallery.

The It Isn’t What We Thought It Was art show’s opening reception brought students, faculty, fellow artists and aspiring art majors together to view some one-of-a-kind pieces.

Winter Rusiloski, NW art associate professor and exhibit curator, said she knew she would like to have the couple show some of their works on campus after seeing their pieces at a community art show.

“They both have such extensive résumés,” she said. “Benito is currently the director of the gallery at the University of Texas at Arlington, and Janet has shown her works with Mighty Fine Arts Gallery, Dallas. We are very fortunate to have them.”

Nine pieces are on display in the NW gallery — seven the husband-wife duo made collaboratively and two pieces made individually.

One painting, which seemed to be an audience favorite, is “Plum,” a drawing in blue pastels.

“I couldn’t tell you what it is, but I am just drawn to it,” said NW art student Severin Murray.

“I am not good at analyzing, but there’s something about it. I like it.” 

Several other students were drawn to that picture, including NW student Clarabella Ramirez, who said the color caught her eye.

Several pieces of the exhibit were made out of construction materials such as concrete, wood, grass, foil insulation and fiberglass.

One large wall piece made of hand-carved roofing squares had been added on to with more roofing squares and was the largest (75 x 163 inches) at the show.

“There were a lot of things from Home Depot,” Chaffee said. “It was a lot of back and forth. I would start something, give it to him, then he would give it back.”

This method of working together helped to create many of the couple’s works. Chaffee had made “Gimme Shelter” only with graphite until her husband suggested putting foil insulation behind it, creating something that, in the right light, was completely different.

“Light enhances the work,” Huerta said. “Sometimes things don’t work out the way you thought.”

This was true for the couple who often started with different ideas and then adding to each other’s work made something collaboratively.

“You collect things not knowing what you will do with them, and then later on you find out,” Chaffee said.

Their artistic stories are quite different. While Huerta said he found his career “by accident” while going back to graduate school, Chaffee said she raised three children before she decided art was what she wanted to do.

After hearing Chaffee’s career path, NW student Tetyana Tchounkovski said she found it inspiring.

“Because she hasn’t been doing it forever, it gives me the motivation to stay in school and keep going, to keep creating things,” she said.

Rusiloski said she was impressed with the turnout for the reception and received some good feedback from the crowd.

“I think it was very successful,” she said. “I saw some of my students, fellow faculty, the gallery director and even the former dean.”

It Isn’t What We Thought It Was is on display 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday through Nov. 5 in the Lakeview Gallery (WFAB 1135). Admission is free.

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