Clarksville, Ark. --- Our lives are shaped by the things we consume, our routines, our real or imagined addictions.?"I used to be addicted to Parkay spray butter," confesses Angela Teeter.?"Now I'm addicted to cottage cheese.?I buy a container every day.?It's great.?Oh - and I'm addicted to art."
For Teeter, a senior Ozarks art major, this addiction to art is an all-encompassing passion that influences every aspect of her life. Her work will be featured in an exhibit scheduled to run through May 15. The exhibit, "Moral Consumption," is about, as she explains, metaphorical cannibalism. "My work directly explores the concept of consumption in human nature in America and international cultures," she says. "By depicting individuals as palatable, I create a visual representation of how human beings consume one another, and how different types of people can be seen as socially consumable (or not) based on their gender or role in society."
Art, Teeter says, doesn’t explain; it exposes. "I like visual art that puts the metaphors out there bluntly and then lets you connect the dots. You have to meet it halfway. If it’s too easy it’s boring. Art exposes an idea for what it is and then tricks people into realizing truths. And it’s fun."
"What I really like to do is illustrate philosophy," Teeter says. "In art you can’t be afraid – for me art is like Tourette Syndrome: You put on paper whatever pours out of you, and it will connect with somebody. And then a wave of beauty."
She laughs at the question of inspirations. "I always say it’s the emerging Pop Surrealist movement, or the lowbrow art movement on the west coast," she says. "And that’s true. I like the color schemes of Art Nouveau designer Erte, Gustav Klimt, and newer people like Camille Rose Garcia and Rafal Olbinski. But you know what inspired me first? The Disney movie Aladdin. No other Disney movie made me want to draw, but that one did. The human mind is a wonderful thing…"
Where will her art take her next? Teeter admits she’s been too consumed in her work to hunt for a grad school – "although that’s at the top of my list" – but adds she feels being an artist is more organic than jobs or schools. "As an artist you can’t really … I mean, there’s always going to be someone who’s better at you, technique-wise, but that isn’t the point. You get out there and immerse yourself in the artistic gene pool, share some DNA with other artists. Have a good time, learn, teach, see what happens. It’s all work, but it’s good work."
In January, Teeter completed her largest project to date* -- a 13 x 7 foot mural in Angell Hall, the primary classroom and meeting space located in the basement of the university’s historic Munger Chapel. The mural was inspired by the book Praying the Names of God, by Ann Spangler, and depicts those holy names in midnight blue and gold. She says this project, and her other experiences at U of O, have been profoundly helpful in her maturation as an artist. "What the university did for me was teach me how to talk about my work, and how to organize the message behind what I’m doing. Before that I didn’t have a message. It has inspired me to think of different continuities in my work, different series of paintings."
She pauses to search for the right words. "It’s like you already have the skin and blood and hair and everything, but no skeleton to hold it all together. Finally I have a skeleton. They taught me how to find my inner skeleton." She laughs again. "As the saying goes, structure equals freedom. And that’s the proof."
Angela Teeter’s senior art exhibit, "Moral Consumption" will be on display through May 15 in the Stephens Gallery.
Art major’s Chapel mural educates, inspires.