Art Werger, a former professor of art in the printmaking program at Ohio University, left a lasting impact on those who worked with him. The Bobcat Printclub and the printmaking area in the School of Art and Design have curated “Lasting Impressions,” an art gallery to honor Werger.
The gallery is open to the public at ARTS/West, 132 W. State St., Tues. through Fri. from 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The pieces in the exhibit are works form a variety of alumni who were former students of Werger during their time at OU.
Emily Beveridge, program specialist at ARTS/West, was one of Werger’s alumni who helped directly with putting on the show.
“I'm a two time alumni of the School of Art,” Beveridge said. “I did have Art as a professor, and so it was nice to see kind of like the culmination of his career ... occur at the building that I manage (and) to be able to work with the print department was really gratifying for me.”
Karla Hackenmiller, a professor of printmaking at OU, said she worked with Werger and graduate student Vanessa Bahr to choose from the alumni of Werger.
“We were trying to sort of assemble like an eclectic group of artists that have been arts students from OU in the past,” Bahr said. “He (Werger) assembled a list of artists that he thought would represent a good sort of variety of artists (that were) working and making work in the art world today that represent printmaking and were also taught by him. Then we asked them each for three pieces.”
The idea for the show was initially supposed to honor Werger’s retirement in December of 2020. Beveridge said the planning for the show has been going on for close to a year at this point.
“We weren't able to do anything or celebrate because everybody was in lockdown,” Hackenmiller said. ”We started planning this in the spring, hoping that the conditions would be such that we could actually have people in a room together. Luckily, even though everybody was masked, we still had a good group of people. Everybody was as safe as possible. People came from Chicago, Cleveland and other places in order to see this exhibition.”
ARTS/West hosted many of the alumni who have pieces in the show along with the public at a reception on Tues. Oct. 2, where Werger spoke. Beveridge said she guessed there were close to 100 people at the reception.
“It was kind of nice to be surrounded by work that wasn't his, like of his students while he gave a lecture on the opening night,” Bahr said. “It was really nice to have a lot of these alumni with us and to hear the lecture surrounded by their artwork.”
Hackenmiller said OU’s printmaking program is ranked number eight in the country, and Werger had a lot to do with that.
“It's just amazing to connect with these alumni as a current graduate student,” Bahr said.