After 37 years, retrospective celebrates work of retiring art professor
Jean B. Laman’s artistic career is woven across nearly half a century of experience. From her first group exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art in 1966 to her 37-year tenure on the faculty at Texas State University-San Marcos, Laman has created a lasting legacy both through her work and through her students.
“Jean B. Laman: Points of Departure,” a retrospective of her work, will open Thursday at Gallery II in the Joann Cole Mitte Building on campus. The show will examine Laman’s work and explorations in celebration of her upcoming retirement from the Texas State faculty in May. Mitte Gallery director Mary Mikel Stump will curate the show.
Laman has shown her works around the country and around the world, including exhibitions in Concepción, Chile; Stockholm, Sweden; and Athens, Greece. As an educator, she’s led student trips to Santa Fe, New York and London. She also has conducted a professional workshop at the World Craft Council Conference in Vienna, Austria.
“I’ve had a varied background: metals, ceramics, painting, paper-making, surface design,” Laman says, describing her artistic training. But regarding her more recent works, which involve surface design on handmade paper, she says, “I’ve gone back somewhat to my painting roots.”
As a fibers professor at Texas State, Laman has both broadened her knowledge of textiles and refined her use of certain media, such as handmade paper.
“I felt like I needed to teach a depth in fibers, so I’ve continued to learn new methods,” she says. “We do a lot of surface design – printing and painting on fabric. What we teach in fibers is so varied. It involves printmaking, painting and sculpture. I like the diversity of the work.”
Laman has been involved with developing the fibers and 3D studio art major curriculum and establishing a visiting artists lecture series program at Texas State. Recently, she helped recruit internationally renown artist Janet Echelman, who creates large floating sculptures, to speak with Texas State students.
“She was just delightful,” Laman says. “We were really lucky to get her. Not only is she well known, but she was very good with the students.”
As her full-time teaching career comes to a close this semester, Laman says she has no concrete plans for her retirement. She says she will travel and “spend more time in the studio,” but probably will stay close to the campus and the community that has been such a determining factor in her life and her work.
“I’ve loved teaching here. I’m crazy about my students,” Laman says. “I really will miss them.”
For more information about the 3D Studio major or the fibers program at Texas State, visit the School of Art and Design website. To view a slideshow featuring works by Laman and Texas State students, click here.