New art exhibits spotlights works of two former BYU-Idaho professors

Adam Forsgren,

REXBURG — An exhibition at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls features the work of Rexburg residents Gerald Griffin and Matthew Geddes.

Titled “A Silent Conversation,” this exhibition displays 60 oil paintings by Griffin and 30 sculptures by Geddes. The exhibition examines the way elements like texture, color and form converse together to create a work of art and shape its meaning.

“Most of the viewing public I think views artwork in terms of subject matter,” Griffin told “But most artists look at artwork from a formal sense and basically what that means is the relationship between colors and textures and shapes and composition; kind of the building blocks of art. The way that these things connect, and we hope people will sense this when they view the exhibit, is that we’re playing with those elements.”

“There’s really a dialogue between form and surface for me,” added Geddes. “When I’m working on a form or a gesture, I have to be very careful how the surface interacts with the form. So it’s kind of a dialogue that’s going on within a piece. I think the same thing is true with Gerry and his paintings.”

Both Griffin and Geddes found their passion for art in their youth and decided to pursue degrees in painting and sculpture, respectively, in college. That led both men to careers in art education and 30-plus year careers teaching at Ricks College, and subsequently at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

While colleagues at BYU-Idaho, Griffith and Geddes became good friends with a deep respect for one another’s talents.

“(Geddes) has a similar background to me,” Griffin said. “He’s also from the San Francisco area and taught at Ricks/BYU-I for over thirty years and we were really good friends there. So I approached him and said ‘Hey, do you want to have an exhibit?’ And he said ‘Great.’”

The exhibit comprises around 60 of Griffin’s still life and landscape paintings, along with about 30 of Geddes’ bronze statues spread out through three rooms. While two of the rooms feature work that is fairly traditional in substance, the third room features more contemporary works that are different enough from the rest of the exhibit that some museum visitors don’t realize it’s part of “A Silent Conversation.”

“Most of the sculptures in the other rooms are cast bronze,” Geddes said. “I sculpt in clay, make molds then cast in bronze. In the third room, the things that I’ve done are all working directly with sheet steel: cutting the steel and folding and bending, trying to interpret a two-dimensional into a three-dimensional form. And those are a lot more whimsical. They’re animals, they’re insects. They’re a completely different approach.”

You can see “A Silent Conversation” now through March 27 at The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls. Visit the museum website or Facebook page for more details.