Though he often found himself drawing, Pete Schulte, who grew up in the Midwest, never imagined he would become an artist. A degree in drawing from the University of Iowa, several art residencies and a job as an art professor later, life has proved otherwise. From Jan. 13 through Feb. 12, Schulte will share some of the work that has grown out of his experience with Knox.
“I grew up right there, in the Quad Cities, and I wasn’t one of those people who knew they were going to be artists from the time they were like five,” said Schulte. “It took me quite a while to realize that this was my life pursuit.”
It wasn’t until his undergraduate years that his path as an artist became more clearly defined. After he graduated, his art moved in a more experimental direction. Though drawing and painting were still cornerstones of his practice, an interest in installation grew and he “dabbled” in video.
“I thought I was making drawings in preparation for other things. Then at some point I realized that the drawings were the work,” he said.
He also became invested in the art of installation. Even as a professor of art and art history at the University of Alabama, he remains active in exhibiting his work.
“When [my pieces] enter the world, I think of it all as an installation. I think of it as something that’s responding to the mood of the space,” Schulte said.
His installation in CFA, however, was a bit different as he was only slightly familiar with the space from back when his brother attended Knox for a few years in the early 2000s. So this time, he sent ahead finished pieces that were then installed by Associate Professor of Art Tony Gant.
“We want to give people a sense of the whole thing, but we also want them to stop,” Gant said, describing his thinking behind the installation.
In preparation for the exhibit, Schulte went through his work to find pieces conducive to quiet contemplation.
“[CFA’s] a pretty trafficked area, if I remember correctly. What usually happens in a space like that is that people kind of just shuffle past things. My hope is that there might be a moment or two where a student or a faculty member might catch something out of the corner of their eye and it might just hold them in pause for a moment,” he said.
It was these qualities that Assistant Professor of Art Andrea Ferrigno identified as her favorites about Schulte’s work.
“There’s a commitment and conviction to this kind of art,” she said.
Ferrigno also studied under the University of Iowa’s graduate program and presented Schulte’s work to the art faculty at Knox. He was selected by the committee and will present a talk open to members of the Knox community in the Round Room on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.
“I think it’s good to give the students an idea of a trajectory that they could see themselves on, be exposed to different working methods,” Ferrigno said.
While he plans to share his story and hopes it may offer Knox artists an example, he would also like his art itself to make an impact.
“I hope people will be able to find something in [the pieces] that’s useful for them,” he said.