Heather Szatmary showcases social media data in Malone Gallery

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Lacey Alexander
Staff Writer

An internationally recognized art professor will have her work on display in Malone Gallery.
Heather Szatmary, a professor of art at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, will be presenting a collection of original art pieces that are all etched into wood with a laser cutter.
Over the course of two years, Szatmary has tracked the number of comments and likes on her Facebook statuses and used those numbers in various ways and patterns to create data.
This data is what shaped the images seen in her artwork.
“The data-driven forms in this exhibition are derived from the feedback … and growth of my social interaction over time.” Szatmary said in a public statement about her work. “They make numbers tangible … and beautiful.”
Szatmary is a member of the AP College Board and is one of the graders of the Advanced Placement art portfolios.
“I count things,” she said. “It’s a problem I learned from my father.”
Szatmary has also shown her work in Japan, Germany, and across the United States.
Greg Skaggs, an associate professor of art and the gallery director of Malone Hall’s gallery, has known Szatmary for many years.
“I bring in artists that I think would be interesting for the students,” Skaggs said. “We just purchased a laser cutter about a year ago … bringing Heather in was kind of a way for our students to see what you can do with a laser cutter.”
“There is definitely a level of professional quality when you can notice little details in a piece of art,” Skaggs said. “That extra little bit of care … from concept to production to exhibit.”
Skaggs has an exhibition techniques class that aids in setting up the visiting artists’ work, allowing the students to get involved in the process of setting up the presentation.
“We help artists set up their show in the class, and maybe even help design the show if necessary,” he said.
To conclude her exhibition, Szatmary will give a lecture for students in the gallery in Malone on April 16 at 5 p.m.
“She speaks very well.” Skaggs said. “She’s very smart … She was on my panel at a conference, and she gave an excellent presentation … She’s a hoot to listen to.”
Skaggs also said that nonmajors should enjoy the work. “The visual stimulation is there for sure.” Skaggs said. “I think they’re very organic in a strange, linear way … It would definitely appeal to the nonartist.”
The exhibition is open to the public and free of charge. It will stay in Malone Gallery until April 15.

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