REXBURG — Gerald Julien Griffin would be the first to tell you he took an unusual path into his art career. This is made clear by his exhibit titled, “The Road Less Traveled By… A Retrospective,” which is being shown over the next month at the Spori Gallery at BYU-Idaho.
“The reason that it’s called, The Road Less Traveled By is that, I didn’t necessarily come from a background in the arts,” said Griffin. “My grandparents and others in my family were musicians, so there was artistry there,” explained Griffin.
Griffin turned that passion for art into a successful teaching career. He retired in 2019. At the time of his retirement, he spent 34 years teaching. His time here spanned both the Ricks College and BYU-Idaho eras. He says he really enjoyed imparting his knowledge to his students.
“When you're a teacher, and especially a college teacher, you have the opportunity to not only learn, a lot of different techniques, but to try a lot of different things in art,” said Griffin.
Much like his career, the showing of the exhibit at the Spori Art Gallery also took the road less traveled by. Griffin’s pieces were originally scheduled to be put on display in 2020; however, with the outbreak of COVID-19, those plans were put on hold. Now, four years after his retirement, his retirement exhibition is on display.
As one meanders through the exhibit, they will see screenprints, drawings, still life paintings and landscapes. One common theme in Griffin’s landscapes includes rivers.
“On the design level, a river in a landscape, for me, is a perfect way to draw someone's eye into the painting and push them back into whatever distance you're creating in that,” Griffin said.
The beauty of this exhibit is that it allows viewers to take a look back at Griffin’s career.
“A retrospective means looking back,” Griffin said. “I wanted to include some things that came from my very early career, when I was a college student. And I wanted to include a diverse group of things that have interested me over the years.”
Now looking back at his teaching career and looking forward to what his future in the art world holds, Griffin passes on some sage advice to budding artists.
“It's like a musician,” Griffin explains. “He practices and practices, and you hear the performance, but you're not aware of all the hours and hours in solitude that he's practiced and tried to perfect what he or she is doing.”
The opening reception for “The Road Less Traveled By … a Retrospective by Gerald Julien Griffin,” is tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Spori Art Gallery at BYU-Idaho. The exhibit is free and runs through October 19.