Kelly Goff is one of five studio art faculty members whose artwork is featured in the exhibition “P3SF” in the Beard and Weil Galleries through October 31. His sculptural practice is diverse in media and process, spanning from ancient building techniques in wood and metal, to structural papier mâchė, hydrographic printing, and 3D rapid prototyping. Conceptually, his sculptures grapple with notions of repair and disrepair as stand-ins for class and economic disparity. Here, we ask him about the intersection of his work as an artist and professor.
Q: How does what you do as an artist influence what you do as a professor and vice versa?
A: As a sculptor I think a lot about the meaning embedded in materials and processes, and how the technical can serve my visual and conceptual goals. I ask students to reflect deeply on their choice of materials and process as a way of equipping them with whatever means necessary for them to communicate their ideas. I give myself assignments in the studio in order to push past the zone of what I know. The challenges I offer students here serve the same purpose. I hold them accountable to a high level of investment and I think they expect a lot from me, too. Knowing this adds fuel to my fire and I want to be a better artist for myself and for them.
Q: What inspires your work as an artist?
A: Lately, my work is inspired by locations where beauty meets calamity. I’m particularly excited to learn about places where the natural world exists under threat of human industry and I’m making sculptures that try to make sense of this duality.
Q: What was your major and how did your own time in college shape you as an artist?
A: I began my college career on a pre-med track as a biochemistry major. I switched to visual art as a junior after taking “Introductory Sculpture.” The professor was incredibly dynamic, and without exaggeration, changed the course of my life.
Q: How do you balance your life as an artist with the demands of being a professor?
A: I’m the newly appointed faculty-in-residence in Beard Hall. Living on campus and doing a lot of my studio work also on campus has blended my work and life in an exciting way. I’m eating, sleeping, and breathing art and Wheaton at the moment.
Gallery photos by Jessica Kuszaj