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Great Arts at Eastern talks with Gregg Senn about his exhibition Body P(art)s

GENTRY:  And now Great Arts at Eastern. From the Portales campus of Eastern New Mexico University, I'm Jeff Gentry, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, here on KENW, Your public Radio Network. Today my guest is Gregg Senn of ENMU’S Department of Art. His artist featured in Body P(art)s a 3-dimensional art exhibition now showing in the window of the Reynolds Gallery in Portales. Gregg thank you for joining me today.

SENN:  Oh, it's my pleasure. I'm happy to be here.

GENTRY:  Now When you and your wife, Barbara, came here to the High Plains 34 years ago, you've probably seen everything except for a pandemic. So how does an artist and an art educator cope during a pandemic?

SENN:  Well the art part is pretty straightforward. The teaching part gets very entertaining. I teach 3D art: its sculpture, jewelry making, 3-dimensional design and trying to do those online is an ongoing challenge, but it's been an education and an awful lot of fun.

GENTRY:  Great, well, you know you were. Your latest exhibition is Body P(art)s and I've had the pleasure of taking it in this week. What inspired this particular collection?

SENN:  I have been working with figurative forms for 35 years. Chastity is modeled after my wife when she was pregnant with my 33-year-old daughter, so it's been a long time.

GENTRY:  Excellent, yeah there, there are several wonderful things in this exhibition. Tell me more about the sculpture Me Too. And is this a beaded sculpture?

SENN:  That's a welded ball bearing sculpture. I did a plaster pull off of a model and then I welded in somewhere in vicinity of 40 pounds of ball bearings together on the backside and then put a hanger on it.

GENTRY:  It’s just fantastic and a change of pace is your self-portrait, a 2-dimensional artwork. It seems to juxtapose monochrome and vivid colors.  Yes.

SENN:  Yes, it does. If you're familiar with my early ceramic work, the pieces in the eyes, the eyes are, are actually images of my early ceramic pieces, so they're very brightly colored.  

GENTRY:  Great, and everybody that I have known. You know in the Department who has seen Chainmail, is just fascinated by it. Are you in high demand from Renaissance folks?

SENN:  No, I have been asked many times to make things for them. I don't do production chainmail; my hands won't do it anymore. Carpal tunnels caught up with.

GENTRY:  But it's just beautiful as a work of art and so how long would it take you to imagine and then finalize a project like that?

SENN:  The small projects, things like earrings. They take roughly 45 minutes to make a pair of the leaf shaped earrings. Chain, if I'm making handmade keychain kind of chain, it's roughly 5 minutes per inch. The shirt that's on display is probably 40 or 50 hours with the work.

GENTRY:  Well, it's just fantastic and Gregg. How can folks see your exhibition at the Reynolds Gallery when the public can't get into the Golden Student Success Center?

SENN:  It's set up for display through the windows on the North side of the building, between the Library and Admin there's a walkway and it's easy to see the pieces through the windows. They show up very well. 

GENTRY:  Right? Yeah, so it's on the North End of the Golden Student Success Center in Portales and don't you love that enormous window?

SENN:  Yes, I do. It's it's a beautiful window. I'm not sure if it's in a Gallery, but it's nice for the current display in my work.

GENTRY:  Right, and so and depending on the sunlight outside you see different elements of all of the artworks inside. So, thank you Gregg Senn. Our listeners can view Body P(art)s through the window of the Runnels Gallery, on the North side of the Golden Student Success Center in Portales, New Mexico, the show officially opens today and runs through November 20th. You can learn more about this program at kenw.org and you can learn more about all the Great Arts at Eastern at enmu.edu/fineartsevents. Gregg, thanks so much for being with us today.

SENN:  Thank you very much for having me.

GENTRY:  And thank you listeners for listening to us on KENW, Your Public Radio Network.

Body P(art)s

Three-dimensional artwork by Greg Senn

Runnels Gallery, Golden Student Success Center, Outdoor window display

Oct. 1-Nov 20