The start of the semester has brought fresh faces and ideas to the School of Art and Design. Liz Rodda, a new assistant professor, is showcasing her unique point of view in her exhibition “Altered States”.
Rodda’s artwork is currently on display in the University Gallery  of the Joann Cole Mitte Art Building. The gallery will be open to the public until Sept. 15.
“Every time we hire a new faculty member, I do an exhibit on them,” gallery curator Mary Mikel Stump said. “To artists, their work is like their research, so it’s really important to me to show their art to faculty and the university community.”
The gallery consists of five videos, four sculptures and seven paintings.
Rodda’s exhibit is titled “Altered States.” Rodda says the title refers to different approaches to making art and other states of consciousness.
“I really wanted to explore different ideas and belief systems,” Rodda said. “A lot of artists are in a monologue approach, but I want people to be in a specific dialogue. I’m more interested in questions the pieces ask than the actual answers.”
Many of the pieces have juxtaposing ideas, conflicting with each other to bring about deeper thoughts.
One of her pieces, called “Plan for Victory,” takes the shape of a 20-sided die made of black jade, like the ones in
the game Dungeons and Dragons. In the game, the die is used to determine what will happen.
“The die is also the same size found in a Magic 8 Ball, but doesn’t have any writing on the sides,” Rodda said. “Even if you rolled it, then there wouldn’t be any info. So this piece is about luck, not really knowing about outcomes and the unknown in general.”
Another piece of her work consists of of two videos. A music video of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” by Johnny Contardo, plays in the center of the screen while another video features men creating smoke as they burn out on their motorcycles in the background. The combined videos are another example of Rodda’s juxtaposed ideas.
Along with debuting her artwork, Rodda is developing a program with integrated and time-based media, a part of art that hasn’t been explored by the department. The program focuses on using video and audio while incorporating traditional media like sculpting and painting.
“She started a program at OU like the one we want here, and ran it for years. We were also really impressed with her exhibit and teaching record,” said Assistant Professor Barry Stone. “We didn’t have any faculty with her breadth of experience so it was a great opportunity to fill that void.”
Rodda said she will start with video classes in an art context and go on from that idea to explore other avenues of time based media.
“This type of media is multidisciplinary. It can be used with photography, painting or performance art,” Rodda said. “It’s a pretty exciting area of specializing and art making. I can’t wait to see how it enhances this already great department.”