New exhibit features mentorship


Anne Gernetzke

Teresa Lind and Ariana Berman’s piece “Still Standing” (center) is displayed in the Crossman Gallery.

Anne Gernetzke, Arts and Recreation Assistant Editor

The Crossman Gallery is open and ready to welcome visitors to their Mentor/Mentee Exhibition in the Greenhill Center of the Arts. The exhibition runs until Oct. 28 featuring work by faculty members and their current and former students. 

Sponsored by the Department of Art and Design, the exhibition includes different art forms including sculpture, painting, printmaking and digital art. The purpose of the exhibition is to highlight the importance of mentoring young artists through arts education and collaboration. 

Greg Porcaro’s piece “Pizza-Faced Pete Created All In His Likeness” (Anne Gernetzke)

For Dr. Greg Porcaro, the exhibition was a chance to share a piece of himself with the viewers. Porcaro, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at a young age, has spent his career creating two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork that not only explores the human body, but the nature of disease itself. His piece, “Pizza-Faced Pete Created All In His Likeness”, consists of a two-dimensional image of “Pete,” an original character with a skin condition, that is sunken into a three-dimensional “pizza” made out of acrylic gels. 

“This particular work has to do with the way that disease manifests itself physically, specifically the skin,” said Porcaro. 

Porcaro noted that he has worked on creating characters that have physical and dermatological conditions for the past 15 years. While his art presents subjects that are often grotesque, Porcaro has tried to include elements of humor in his work, something that he has also done to help him process his own health struggles. 

Photo Caption Below- Dania Knotek’s piece “I am Forgetting the Good” (left) and Max White’s piece “Intriguing Possibilities” (right)
(Anne Gernetzke)

Porcaro explained, “I use art as a way to express myself, create a space where I can deal with things I might be feeling internally, expressing the physicality of disease, but trying to do it in a way that is beautiful.” 

Other artists in the exhibition, such as Dr. Max White and UW-Whitewater alumni Dania Knotek, also used their art to speak about their own life experiences. White’s oil painting, “Intriguing Possibilities”, is dedicated to her mother, who passed away this past June. Similarly, Knotek’s relief print, “I am Forgetting the Good”, was inspired by her relationship with her mother, who struggled with addiction. 

White explained that her piece is about “two larger than life lesbian women who are defiant,” and depicts “an exciting moment where possibilities are endless.” She notes that the women in her painting are “unapologetic for who they are.”

Dr. Teresa Lind, a lecturer and metal caster, partnered with alumni Ariana Berman to create a sculpture called “Still Standing.” The base of the sculpture, a cast iron cone that holds pieces of orange satin, was created by Berman in 2019. When Berman asked Lind to join her for the Mentor/Mentee exhibition, Lind was inspired to create a bronze figure that looked like Berman to place on top of the cone.
“Ariana was trying to work a lot with fabric texture, but casting it in iron,” said Lind.  “She was thinking about the juxtaposition of the softness and look of the material and the hardness and permanence of the metal.” 

Lind expressed that Ariana’s work defies the odds. She explained that although Ariana is only four-foot-ten, she has the strength and ability to make sculptural works that are big, heavy, and very labor intensive. 

When asked what she has learned from mentoring Ariana, Lind replied, “Ariana taught me more than I taught her in our relationship…continuing a relationship with Ariana post-graduation has just been a great joy of my life. To continue to see her grow and learn, it is a reminder that we stay students of life forever.”