February 23 – March 26, 2021 @ Reece Museum
The Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University is hosting two exhibits celebrating the career and influence of a longtime professor of art. “Field of Life: Monument Structures,” which explores the artistic career of M. Wayne Dyer, and “Depth of Fields” featuring artworks by his former students, are on display through March 19 and March 26, respectively.
“Field of Life: Monument Structures”is a retrospective spanning 50 years of work from 1970 through 2020. Dyer began teaching at ETSU in the fall of 1983. He earned an A.S. in graphic design at Virginia Western Community College in 1971, a B.A. in painting at James Madison University in 1974, and an MFA in painting at Radford University in 1983. From 1973 through 1981, he founded/owned Graphic Arts Advertising, trading as Dyer, Maddox, and McArthur, in Roanoke, Virginia, whose industrial clients were nationally and internationally based.
The 31 works on display include large-scale paintings, digital prints, multimedia constructions, and films. Collectively, the work depicts the human condition—portraying relationships and personal experiences that express social and/or political concerns.
“The desire to express ideas in visual terms is the basis of my work,” Dyer states. “I see my art as a vehicle that allows communication of ideas and experiences based on social and/or political issues to challenge the viewer. I do not want nor do I expect anyone to be comfortable with my work.”
Included in the retrospective are series of works that manifest those challenges—"Death Watch," "Life Watch,""Viet Nam,""Polish/Russian insurgency,""Construction"and "Film." Undergirding the retrospective is Dyer’s passion for teaching and for social causes.
For 35 years, he has been a disabilities advocate accomplishing many goals in that community. For his 1997 work in helping craft changes to the discipline portion of pending amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Actand testifying before the 105thCongressional IDEA Working Group in Washington, D.C., Dyer was awarded the Tash International Collaboration Award in 1997 in Boston. Additionally, in 1997, Dyer, his wife Barb, and their daughter, Carrie, received the President's Award from the National Down Syndrome Congress in Dallas.
In 1999, ETSU awarded Dyer two Distinguished Faculty Awards at the college and university levels. During his years at ETSU, he served as graduate coordinator and the director of Slocumb Galleries; founded and directed the first nationally juried “Positive/Negative” exhibits for five years in the mid-1980s; and created, founded and directed the Graphic Design Workshop. Dyer served as chair of the Department of Art and Design in the early 2000s. In 2013, he co-founded and has been co-director of the juried, international “FL3TCH3R Exhibit” until present.
“Depth of Fields”is an invitational companion exhibition in the Reece gallery adjacent to “Field of Life: Monument Structures.” The exhibition features artworks by 31 of Professor Emeritus Dyer’s undergraduate and graduate students over the last 37 years. Four of the alumni were Dyer’s students during his first year of teaching at ETSU in 1983-84. Eighty-five artworks are on display in the gallery, including paintings, photography, digital artworks, film, animation, graphic design, package design, sculpture, ceramics and published books.
The exhibition includes students who became college and university professors, public school teachers and administrators, professional artists, graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, photographers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, and authors. These former students hail from various parts of the United States, Liberia, Serbia and East Tennessee.
The Reece Museum is free and open to the public Monday throughFriday from 9 a.m. to4:30 p.m. For more information, visit etsu.edu/reeceor phone 423-439-4392.