“Red Rockets” was glass-blown and includes copper pieces. The piece is on display in the JDAC.

Hastings College professor, cancer patient presents sabbatical art series

Tom Kreager, professor of visual arts, is presenting “Thingify,” his sabbatical exhibition. This show comes as a conclusion to the artistic research during his sabbatical. The exhibition is showcased in the main gallery of the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center (JDAC) and will be up until April 25.

The exhibition overall presents a wide variety of techniques and applications within glassblowing, along with graphic elements of painting. Subsets of the show can be made based upon these applications that ultimately play on the form and visual surface of the glass vessels and sculptures. Subsets connect by motifs of stencil use, copper inclusions, color and form that give into themes that can be taken from the show.

While the themes may contrast in the application and visual appeal, they are connected to the title of the exhibition, to convert an idea into a tangible thing.

“Each one is unique in its own way and that’s what I wanted. There are a lot of artists (that) will work in series … my series are usually about 10 to 12 pieces and I want to change; I want to keep growing with it,” Kreager said.

The different pieces also bring a unique approach to the gallery displays. The tables in the gallery were designed by Kreager in order to be used alongside the glass work that interacts with the space. Kreager noted how the cluster and cluttering of these pieces play into how he typically displays his work in shows.

Kreager was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last December, affecting the process of his work. The volume of themes came about through the changes in ideas. Kreager said these changes were all made because of the time span in which he was able to work on the final show.

“When I was going through chemo, I could work about an hour and a half a week in the studio, which was really frustrating because I like working longer hours. So the show I originally wanted to do, the pieces were taking three and a half to four hours to make each piece and I couldn’t get made what I wanted for the show … and what’s happened because it was over such a long period of time. The pieces evolved,” Kreager said.

“Thingify” is the collection and conclusion to Kreager’s practice while on sabbatical leave. The majority of pieces were made over the course of months with various students, friends and family aiding in the process — something Kreager highlights in the presentation of his show. Kreager also highlighted that this plays into the process of glassblowing and how it takes a team in order to make each individual piece.

A reception will be held at 6 p.m. tonight in the JDAC main gallery where Kreager will talk about his work and processes. A benefit will take place tomorrow throughout the day in the glass studio of the JDAC in order to raise funds for Kreager’s medical needs.