Artist returning to his roots at EMU
Story by Jim Bishop
“I create art because I’m addicted to the process – the unexplainable surge of inspiration, the development of an idea, the construction process and intimacy with the material and finally the presentation,” the former Harrisonburg resident says.
Weaver, a graduate of Eastern Mennonite High School and a 1979 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, will display his ceramic sculpture and pottery at his alma mater immediately following EMU’s mid-semester break.
The exhibit will open with a reception for the artist 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, March 10, in the third floor art gallery of Hartzler Library.
Weaver is the Jennie Steindorf Renner Professor of Fine Arts at Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va., where he has taught since 1994. He is on sabbatical this year, focusing on three areas of “reinvigoration” – short-term teaching assignments, serving as “artist-in-residence” at schools in several states and creating art pieces “non-stop,” including participation in 11 exhibitions since May 2007. He’s also been a consultant and grader for the College Board Advanced Placement program for the past 10 years.
Weaver taught art at EMHS 1980-85 and earned a master of fine arts degree from James Madison University in 1985.
“I like to think that my artistic style is unique and self-derived,” he states. “However, I’m sure many influences converge to create my own particular form of expression, trying not to commit to either realism or abstraction but rather lurking somewhere between surrealism and distorted reality.”
Humor plays an important role in Weaver’s art, including, he says, “the injection of the pun.”
Weaver is indebted to his ceramics teachers – Masako Miyata, David Diller, Jerry Lapp and Esther Augsburger – both for their instruction and for their influence on his life.
No less important to the artist is what he describes as “a somewhat conservative Mennonite upbringing that stressed responsibility, a self-reliant attitude and a common-sense mentality.”
This background “enabled me to learn many trades – carpentry, plumbing, electricity, masonry – which is reflected in various ways in my artwork,” he notes.
“I’m continually inspired to create. The manifestation of ideas is exhilarating,” Weaver says emphatically. “I trust this indicates that boredom has not set in.”
The public can decide by visiting Weaver’s exhibit during regular library hours through April 4. Admission to EMU’s art gallery is free.