An informal exhibition of student artworks is presented in the (skinny) hallway gallery. At one end of the gallery is a selection of color studies from Kasarian Dane’s course FA 228 Color. In one assignment for the course, students choose a historical master painting and re-interpret it using Color-aid, a specialized paper in 314 different hues and values. A considerable undertaking, the assignment spans several weeks while students work in and out of class on this project.
At the other end of the hallway gallery is “Election Cycle,” a selection of prints and photographs by students in Printmaking 1 and Photography 1, taught by Melissa Schulenburg and Peter Nelson, respectively. In a somewhat open-ended assignment for each class, students were asked to address the current political climate in the United States, including the variety of issues at stake in the U.S. 2012 presidential election. In photography, students were also asked to incorporate both image and text in their final artworks.
In preparation, students in Printmaking viewed original artworks in the gallery’s Permanent Collection by such artists as Sue Coe, Eric Avery, Peter Maxx, Combat Paper, and others. Additionally, in an exercise devoted to “close observation,” students were instructed to sit with a work of art for an entire hour and write short essays describing, analyzing, and interpreting what they saw.
Photography students looked at work by Barbara Kruger, Duane Michals, Gillian Wearing, and a number of artists included in an exhibition at the Pratt Institute entitled “Party Headquarters: Art in the Age of Political Absurdity.” According to Peter, some students commented that many current topics (such as women’s rights and same-sex marriage) feel archaic and that people should be beyond these issues by now. To emphasize this point, one student included a quote by eighteenth-century writer and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft in a photograph about women’s control over their own bodies. The greed and vilification of Wall Street were also addressed from a variety of viewpoints. Additionally, students explored the health of the healthcare system, the lack of attention to climate change, and sadly, the self-described apathy of young voters.
Although not pre-planned, student artworks in the hallway exhibition reflect many of the themes found in the Rockwell Kent exhibition in the main galleries—from a painter’s formal use of light, color, and brushstroke, for example, to addressing socio-political issues of the day. Guided tours of the exhibition are available upon request.