Corey Drieth was born and raised in Northern Colorado. He attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins where he received undergraduate degrees in Philosophy/Comparative Religious Studies and Studio Art. After serving as the Critic and Artist Residency Series (CAARS) coordinator for CSU’s Hatton Gallery, he attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina and received an MFA with a thesis in Drawing/Painting in 2004. Before joining the Visual and Performing Arts Department at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in August 2007, Drieth taught studio art classes at CSU, the University of North Carolina and the University of Virginia. His work has been exhibited throughout the country, including San Francisco, Chicago, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Washington DC and New York City.
My sculpture explores various themes within popular culture, including art, entertainment, religion, commerce, mass media and domesticity. More specifically, I am interested in using common materials (such as spandex, neon and copper pipe) in simplified form to create conceptually ambivalent, emotionally evocative artwork that serve as metaphors for these themes as they are experienced in everyday life. Ultimately my hope is that these oddly beautiful, humorous and slightly sinister installations encourage viewers to ask questions about the world, our culture and their own role in the theatrical aesthetic experience itself.
GOCA: Have you participated in previous faculty exhibitions at UCCS, if so, how many?
Corey Drieth: Yes. Four of five. I can’t remember for sure!
GOCA: Why do you think it is important to hold a faculty exhibition?
CD: We have such a vital, professionally active community of teacher-artists here, all with a wide variety of approaches to making art. Having a faculty show every couple of years highlights this diversity, as well as the quality of art being made by our program’s artists. Plus, it gives the campus and regional communities insight into what the Visual Art program at UCCS is about.
GOCA: What type of impact to you believe it has on campus?
CD: In addition to what I listed above, I think the greatest impact is that it offers students a more intimate peek into their teacher’s values. By that I mean not only what we care about, but how we care about it. I see art-making as the embodiment of how artists care about the world. So, for students to be able to experience what we make is vitally important; it adds weight to what we teach in the classroom. Other than that, I honestly don’t know what type of impact exhibitions like this have. My hope is that the work shown reaches and moves people, makes them look or think or feel more deeply. I also hope that the show, in general, reveals that the Visual Art program is populated with really powerful, accomplished artists and confirms that our entire department deserves to be supported by the university (not just Theater, Dance, and Music, those VAPA programs located in the Ent Center). I also hope that shows like this contribute to the enrichment of wider cultural life within the region.
GOCA: The theme for this exhibition is time, how do you see this theme connecting to your work?
CD: I think my collaborative partner Jeremy Click addressed this question really well when he said that our work addresses both the literal, factual flow of time and the fractured, arbitrary experience we have of it as individuals. For me this piece also addresses our time right now…the cultural/political/social ambiance of the period in which we are living.
GOCA: As an artist, what advice have you received that has proved to have a large impact on you or your work?
CD: I have had such impactful teachers throughout my life it is really challenging to think of a piece or two of advice that stands out. So, rather than talking about advice, I will instead talk about them.
When I think about what my artistic mentors have in common it is clear they are all deeply curious, extraordinarily open-minded, and passionately committed to their work. It is not coincidence that every one of them reads a lot…not only about art, but about the complex world around us. They all are also ambitious, constantly experimenting and taking risks with form, and they all are devoted to making art that comes from their lives; they discover and construct meaning through making, looking, thinking, and re-making. Further, they all are hyper-aware of the many pitfalls that can limit your growth an artist, from fear and self-doubt, to rationalizing a lack of discipline, to putting professional accomplishment and recognition above the development of powerful and relevant work in the studio, etc. Being able to witness that unique combination of generosity of spirit and critical honesty has made all the difference to me. It has provided—and continues to provide for me—a model for living my life.
See the work of Drieth and his fellow UCCS VAPA Faculty at TIME at GOCA Ent Center (5225 N Nevada Ave) starting January 31st and running through May 12th.
Corey Drieth will give a free artist talk on February 21st along with exhibition artists Jeremy Click, Matt Barton, Nick Henning, and Claire Rau. Register HERE.