While only a small percentage of Oregon State University faculty and staff can call themselves professional artists, there are myriad hidden talents among the OSU community, and a few of those are now being revealed at the OSU Invitational Staff Art Exhibit, on display through Feb. 17 at the LaSells Stewart Center Galleria.
Photography, painting and drawings reveal a well of artistic skill from faculty and staff, and represent a variety of media, styles and subject matter as varied as the jobs they perform on campus.
Betsy Hartley, director of external relations for the College of Agricultural Sciences, first bought a camera when she was working in South Dakota. She began taking photos of the thousands of geese who were flying by her on a migratory flight path, in order to share the experience with her parents back home.
“I simply picked up a camera to take pictures to show my mom,” Hartley explained. “She was disabled and not able to travel and get out – but was fascinated with my travels for work. So I started taking pictures as a way to share my travels/work with her. It grew from there.”
Hartley was impressed with how a photo could be so much more than a snapshot, and could tell a very distinct and detailed story if done right. She became enamored with photographing tiny details that are often overlooked by most observers.
Her portrait of a ladybug perched on a bright pink flower is one of the larger pieces in the exhibit.
“I love to put my pictures on large canvases,” she said. “Especially pictures that lean toward being macro or single-subject. I like making the little things jump to life and take center stage — ladybugs, spider webs, petals on a flower, drops of water.”
Hartley’s mother passed away almost two years ago, but Hartley still goes out to capture those stories on film.
“I still feel like I’m taking pictures for her sometimes,” she said.
The art show is made possible with the assistance of the Association of Office Professionals and the Professional Faculty Leadership Association.
The regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.