An exhibit by Fairmont State University Art Department faculty member Jeff Hindal titled “Salad Days Redux” will open in Wallman Hall’s Brooks Gallery on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
An opening reception is planned for 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the gallery, located on the fourth floor of Wallman Hall. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 31. Admission is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information or special arrangements, contact Curator Marian J. Hollinger at (304) 367-4300 or Marian.Hollinger@fairmontstate.edu.
Hindal, who completed his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in printmaking at West Virginia University, joined the FSU Art Department faculty in the fall 2010 term. Despite the two-dimensional work implied by the term printmaking, Hindal’s exhibition consists of three-dimensional works that reflect aspects of his printmaking experience, chiefly in the multiple casts of objects. The casts go beyond flat surfaces and literally inhabit the Brooks Gallery space.
“Salad Days Redux” is a recasting of his M.F.A. thesis exhibition, with the inclusion of new works made for this venue. It is also, quite poignantly, a looking-back at his days of “youthful indiscretion” and his participation in the punk rock/hardcore subculture. Hindal is also a musician, and there are references throughout his exhibition to the music and the experiences of that life.
A viewer entering the exhibition is confronted with a dearth of color, a symbol of the black-and-white posters, the raw metal of the musical sounds and the harsh shadow and light of the concerts. Posters are suggested but curiously absent, as are figurative references. Or, are they? In fact, the multiple cast bottles not only echo the just-departed humans who consumed the liquid therein, but the shapes of the bottles refer subtly to the figure. Each of the objects in the exhibition makes the viewer aware of presences which are experienced but not seen. The aesthetic Hindal employs is minimalist.
“The use of a minimal aesthetic is also essential to my work. Much as the way minimalist art was a reaction against the excessiveness of abstract expressionism, punk rock was a reaction against the self indulgence of mainstream rock. By stripping rock music down to its essential three chords, punk rock mirrors minimalism’s desire to display art in its most fundamental state,” Hindal states. “While my work is not concerned with notions about purity of form, medium or process, embraced by critics like Clement Greenberg, I do borrow the cold, simplistic aesthetic of sculptors like Donald Judd (1928-1994). This choice of presentation when juxtaposed with the (personally) loaded iconography in my work creates an interesting and ironic dialogue between subject and formal aesthetic.”
The scene that Hindal establishes sharpens the viewer’s recognition of his or her own concert-going experiences. The notion of the posters–just torn down from the telephone or utility poles to which they were stapled; the discarded bottles of whatever drink was consumed; the titles of songs heard; the musicians themselves, just off-stage–all of that is a part of the exhibition.
“It is not a necessity that the viewer experienced the same music or the same time, the 1980s, to understand what Hindal is doing,” Hollinger said. “He makes all viewers respond to some personal, past events which were essential to their youth. It is frequently observed with artists that they begin in a biographical mode. This holds true for literary as well as visual artists. Hindal does this using the hindsight of 20 years, and he does it well.”