BY DEVIN LINER
The second floor of the Guerrieri University Center is home to the Art Space, which showcases the work of Salisbury University students each month.
From now until March 31, senior BFA Sculpture major Heidi Rottman’s preliminary drawings for her “Endangered” series are being presented. Next month, Natalie Fein’s work will be shown, followed by Garett Fulmer’s exhibition in May.
Professor Jinchul Kim, who is head of the Painting area within the Art Department and in charge of selecting what to display in the University Center Art Space, approached Rottman after seeing her work. One of Rottman’s previous exhibitions was about the rapid decline of honeybee populations entitled “Beewildered,” which was presented in the Student Art Center.
Growing up, Rottman was surrounded by art due to both of her parents having careers as graphic designers.
Originally a biology major, she switched after freshman year because she realized she would rather be doing art, which she loves and is passionate about. She could figure out the money later.
After she graduates with a B.F.A. in sculpture this semester, her plan is to work as a graphic designer and at local art galleries. She is also going to be applying to graduate schools in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina, and hopes to be attending in a year to get her master’s degree.
The sketches on display in the art space are plans for life-sized, iron and cast resin sculptures. The subjects are animals such as the bighorn sheep, pygmy rabbit and red wolf—species that are now endangered due to loss of habitat in North America.
The conscious choice to immortalize these endangered species in such an industrial material allows the viewer to “see what we have chosen as valuable in our contemporary culture and what we have given up in its place,” Rottman says in her artist’s statement.
Rottman has always been concerned with the environment, nature and animals, and frequently references them in her work. She hopes to increase awareness for the living beings who rely on the health of the environment to survive—including ourselves.
Although the artist planned these projects long before the presidential election and subsequent decline in environmental program support and funding, it makes her work more relevant than ever.
However, Rottman believes that “we need to stop relying solely on the government to advocate for the environment—individuals are just as capable in being responsible for the earth we inhabit.”
The exhibition is an interesting concept with a strong message about the impact people are having on the habitats of certain animals. The theme is incredibly relevant to our world today, and will encourage viewers in Salisbury to be more aware of how serious endangerment is at this point in time.
The drawings themselves were very well rendered, and students can look forward to seeing the formalized projects brought to life after Rottman castes them in iron and resin.