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

NW instructors set mood with Water Impressions

By Bethany Peterson/nw news editor

Heidi Lingamfelter’s wall art and Chris Cunnigham’s floor art make up the Water Impressions art show displayed on NW Campus through Feb. 20. The art faculty instructors designed the pieces to reflect the environment.   Mackenzie Ashton/The Collegian
Heidi Lingamfelter’s wall art and Chris Cunnigham’s floor art make up the Water Impressions art show displayed on NW Campus through Feb. 20. The art faculty instructors designed the pieces to reflect the environment.
Mackenzie Ashton/The Collegian

One hundred or more raindrops hang suspended from the ceiling. On the floor and tables below, ripples reach out, frozen in time.

Water Impressions, an art show by Chris Cunningham and Heidi Lingamfelter, two NW Campus art instructors, is displayed in the NW Campus Lakeview Gallery through Feb. 20.

On one wall, leaves float on perfectly still pools. On another wall, stormy seas check the movement of their waves for an eternal instant.

The only movement in the room comes from the murmuring fountain, sending out its water to touch bowls floating on the surface.

“The fountain is my fiance’s and my relationship,” Cunningham said. “The two spouts are two people, two entities, and the water represents our love flowing out to others, our friends and family.”

Instead of two separate shows in one room, the two artists have used the water theme to unite and support each other’s work.

Why did they choose water as the theme of their exhibition?

“We wanted to make an environment, not have a show,” Cunningham said. “Water is a cleansing and peaceful element.”

Even their different art styleswork together. Lingamfelter’s two-dimensional work decorates the walls, and Cunningham’s three-dimensional work takes the floor and ceiling.

“We are both evenly represented and complement each other,” Lingamfelter said.

While water is the theme, both artists used wood to make their artwork.

Lingamfelter collects leaves and pieces of bark from her parents’ back forest, then arranges them on a plate, paints the entire piece a single color, puts a sheet of paper on top and runs it through a press.

The print is mounted over the bottom part of a background she painted previously as part of her Cold Waters series, both the large and small editions.

The joy of using nature this way is the unpredictable part, Lingamfelter said.

“I make a plate of natural materials, but I cannot see everything that’s there,” she said.“It’s me collaborating with nature.”

The hidden texture of the bark and the way it holds or releases the paint determines the ripples of the print and how dark or light each space will be.

Like Lingamfelter, Cunningham welcomes nature’s creative touch.

“I like knots in wood,” he said.“It really shows nature’s not perfectly smooth all the time.

Cunningham’s wooden “Water Tables” have a surface of “wooden water,” and the falling raindrops seem to create ripples on the table tops and drip off the sides.

The simplistic design of a Shaker-style table he built while in graduate school suggested to him an elegant possibility for use in art, he said.

“My first [water] table, [the ripple grooves were] really deep,” Cunningham said.“We nicknamed it the ‘chip-and-dip’ table ’cause you could have served chips and dip from it.”

On his rest water table, the grooves are more subtle.

To make the round ripples in wood, Cunningham anchors a sheet of wood to a potter’s wheel, then cuts the grooves with an angle grinder as he turns the wheel.

After the grooves are cut, he must do a lot of sanding to be done to get a perfectly smooth ripple.

“My whole house and garage is a layer of sawdust,” he said.

Where the ripples overlap, that entire section must be cut and sanded by hand, then the whole table surface stained a bright blue.

Located in the Fine Arts Building, Lakeview Gallery is open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

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