Last week, in conjunction with the opening of the Faculty Exhibition in the Gardiner Gallery, I posted excerpts from an article about the OSU Art faculty in the 1950s. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting short interviews with some of our current faculty, who are helping to develop the OSUMA through their participation in exhibition and collection development.
Associate Professor Jack Titus teaches Life Drawing, Watercolor and 2D Design in the Department of Art. He also serves on the OSUMA Exhibitions and Collection Committee. For this blog post, I asked him, “If you could bring back one event or activity from the history of the Gardiner Gallery, what would it be, and why?”
JT: When, in the fall of 1987, I first saw a job posting for a teaching position in the Art Department at OSU, the only thing I knew about the department was that they hosted the Cimarron Biennial, a major exhibition of contemporary works on paper. At that time, this competitive exhibition had a high profile, national reputation, both because it was an important review of the nation’s most talented artists creating works of art on paper, and because it was routinely juried by some of the country’s most highly recognized artists and curators. What is more, the show was documented with a very high quality, full color exhibition catalogue.
I remember thinking that any department responsible for such a prestigious exhibition would have to be an exciting place to work, a place where one’s career could flourish. I applied for the position.
And I was right. The Cimarron Biennial proved to be one of the most uplifting and inspirational events of my early years at OSU. But over time, budget reallocations and personnel changes led to the Cimarron’s unfortunate demise. If there is any one event from the Gardiner Gallery’s past that I could reinstate and share with my students today, I would want that event to be the Cimarron Biennial.
Jack Titus received his MFA from the University of Illinois in 1980. He came to OSU in 1988 after teaching at Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, TX, and Kendall College of Art and Design, in Grand Rapids, MI. He has exhibited his work extensively in national competitions and one-person shows.
This post is illustrated with three of the more than two dozen works acquired for the Gardiner Permanent Art Collection through the Cimarron National Works on Paper Purchase Award over the course of the exhibition’s existence.