Three art alums come home to AQ

Left to right: Ghosts, screen print on paint chips by Margaret Miller; Requiem for Lost Graces, mixed media by Joyce Recker; Influx I, charcoal on paper by Alex Whiteley. 

Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Yashowanto Ghosh / The Saint

The 2021–2022 season of Aquinas College’s Art & Music Center Gallery is off to a spectacular, nostalgic start with this year’s Homecoming show featuring some fabulous art by three alumni of the art program.  

Two of the three artists, Joyce Recker ’88 and Alex Whiteley ’16, were also in the Aquinas show Give and Let Go at Lowell Arts three years ago, so the current show feels like catching up with their new work from the pandemic.  Whiteley has 12 charcoal drawings from two series—one of four pieces called Influx (see two of them in the photographs above) from 2019–2020, another of eight pieces called Drawing from the Well from this year; the latest series involves, according to the artist’s statement, “[T]he passage of time between working sessions as a key component of the artistic process.”

Recker’s mixed media pieces in the show have alludes to home as a recurring theme. Professor Dana Freeman, Chair of the Art Department and director of the gallery, pointed out Recker’s latest piece, Seeking Stillness (see photograph above), which also incorporates photography (and cast shadows) to powerful effect.  Another of Recker’s pieces, Longing for the Wholly Other, is dedicated to the memory of one of her friends and includes a bird’s nest she received from him once.

Left to right: Seeking Stillness, mixed media by Joyce Recker; Influx II, charcoal on paper by Alex Whiteley; part of In the Neighborhood, screen print on monotype and nails by Margaret Miller.

I remember Miller from her time at Aquinas as a ceramic artist, but her focus has shifted.  I knew she had become deeply interested in printmaking while working on her MFA at Easter Michigan University, and I was familiar (from her social media) with her prints on the theme of home—some of her pieces in the show is from that body of work.  Her other work in the show has knitting and crocheting; one of her crocheted pieces is titled Comfortable Isolation, which makes me think this might be current work.  

There will be a reception during Homecoming—from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 18—and the show will remain open up to Friday, October 1.