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Planting Seeds at the Art Gallery with Terry Hammond

May 8, 2014

About 3 years ago, I went to talk to Terry Hammond, ’81, Director and Curator of the Art Gallery in Hege-Cox Library, to talk about a possible work study opportunity. I remember noting at our first meeting how crammed her office was. Notebooks filled with frantic writing covered her desk, name plates were stacked one on top of the other, exhibition invitations from years passed filled the walls and a huge, over packed bookshelf covered the entire back portion of her office. I thought to myself, “Whoa, there is a lot happening here!” and I was right; there really is a lot happening at the Art Gallery here on campus. The following year I started my work study with Terry and it has since been an honor and a rewarding experience.

For those of you who don’t know, Terry is constantly on the move. She plans for a future exhibitions, installs artworks around campus, collaborates with the art department and thesis students, plans events…I mean the list goes on! There always seems to a million things to do in day at the Art Gallery. Even as a work study, Terry manages to keep me quite busy. During my time there I have given tours, explored and documented the private collection and this year my biggest accomplishment was creating the gallery guide for Adele Wayman’s retrospective. While this list is small, believe me, I had my work cut out for me.

In 1981 while completing a BFA in printmaking and painting, Terry organized a regional symposium on Business and the Arts as part of her work study. In the midst of her last semester, Terry’s work study then led her to write a proposal for a gallery space that would showcase artwork on campus. “This document, I believe, ‘planted the seed’ in the college president’s mind, and a few years later, when two families approached him about donating their art collections to the College, and the library was being renovated and expanded, ‘the seed sprouted’ and grew into the Art Gallery I direct today.”

 

 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This year has undeniably been a big one for the Art Gallery between the APSA scare and later celebrating Adele’s legacy as this spring’s exhibition, but these events have created many possibilities for the future of art organizations on campus. Starting this year, a group of volunteers have been established to help raise money and create community support so that the Art Gallery can exist more independently. This is just one example of how the Art Gallery represents new beginnings to me. It is always in constant formation, building upon itself constantly with a can-do attitude inspired by Terry.

So when I say that there is a lot going on at the art gallery, do not underestimate me. It is a place of possibility and where new seeds are planted everyday! With graduation coming near I look forward to taking this experience with me — working with what I have and making something big of it, just like Terry has done with the Art Gallery.

ALTERED: Thesis Show 2014

May 7, 2014

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There’s a certain feeling you get when you walk into a really great art show. I’m not one for crowds, but seeing a huge throng of people at an art gallery is an exception, especially when they’re all there to see work done by our friends and fellow classmates. The renovations done to Founders hall in 2012 were met with mixed emotions and opinions, but you can’t deny that the gallery space it allowed for upstairs is a definite step up on the classy scale – a few steps up, in fact.  This year, the space was used to it’s full advantage. In one of the  Bauman galleries, towering white pedestals with an array of different prints, pots, and sculptures scattered on and between them practically begged to be explored. In the other, piece after piece of traditional and digital paintings lined the walls, inviting you in for closer examination while still making you step back to see the work as a whole. In the atrium, large paintings and wall-sized found-object sculptures made for a continuous flow of amazement as viewers walked the perimeter multiple times.

Viewers were in awe of Adam Faust, the master of the found object. I overheard a kid say the sculpture “with the white fluff” looked like someone ripped the wall and “teddy bear stuffing” was coming out of it. Not only is that totally adorable, but also go ahead and pat yourself on the back for getting a youngster involved in art critique. Levi Mahan‘s pottery is beautiful, no question. There’s something about his work – so modern, yet so classic – like it was made yesterday but still could show up in an Édouard Manet still life. Shammia McQuaig‘s sculpture is surreal – recognizable elements blended with out-of-the-box-thinking. I was brilliantly bombarded by her corner of the gallery space with work on pedestals, work hanging from the ceiling, and I swear  I saw dry ice. Daniel Saperstein, holy cow. I’d never seen – or heard – anything like it. His large pots emitted this ethereal, almost eerie music he’d written. Each pot, using it’s aesthetically pleasing beauty combined with this magical sound, casts this calming feeling over the room. Hannah Reed‘s paintings dance. The soft colors and even softer brush strokes make their way around the canvas, sometimes forming harder lines and shapes, and you can just about make out what it is – almost. Fhalyshia Orians‘ paintings are creating the opposite effect, with the same pleasing outcome. Line and form make definite scenes, made with glorious globs of paint. Hannah’s softer application indicates a trust of her materials, and Fhalyshia’s thicker paint application does the same. Alejo Salcedo, as Adele Wayman said during the opening reception, is a sorcerer. Whether they’re black and white or hand-colored by him, his large-scale linocut prints seem to have been done by a machine instead of a human. So much precision is bound to look magical. Chris Austin deserves thanks for bringing the digital painting world forward to Guilford’s campus. It’s a practice that is still deep-rooted in traditional values even though you don’t need tangible paint. It’s less messy, I’ll give you that, but it’s harder to handle at times.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say his work didn’t look like it was made with tangible paint regardless of the lack of ridged brush strokes. Kelly Taylor‘s still-life paintings may be macabre and dark, but you’d be lying if you said they weren’t beautiful. She still manages to capture light and feeling in such a dark setting.

Guilford’s thesis art shows are never something to scoff at, but this year has to be my favorite, hands down.  I think Altered actually “altered” the way we’ll see art students and shows from now on, and everyone, thesis and non-thesis, coming after this will really have to step up their game.

Don’t Miss ALTERED!

April 30, 2014

ALTERED, the 2014 Senior Thesis Art Exhibition opens this Friday, May 2nd!

Opening reception that evening from 7-9pm in the Bauman Galleries of Founders Hall.

If you can’t make it to the opening, don’t despair! You can still view the show until May 16th.

Come out and support our thesis friends!

Theatrical and Visual: Mutually Beneficial Arts

April 29, 2014

“There is magic in the theatre,

And the theatre is magic.

And blessed are they

who can share their gifts.”

I have no idea where that originally came from, but I picked it up in high school. My theatre teacher, a fabulous, wonderful, hilarious woman from South Africa, would have us cross our arms, right over left, hold hands while standing in a circle, and repeat each line after her. Sometimes we’d emulate her wonderful accent and cut up a little, but after “gifts”, we would spin out of the circle over our right shoulders, and it was show time. Time to focus. Sharing gifts is magic in the theatre, but performance isn’t the only gift to be showcased there. The actors, director, and crew only make up a part of the collage that brings a story to life on the stage. The other parts are courtesy of the designers.

As a child of both the art and theatre departments, I’ve always wanted to write an article for Hand/Eye weaving them together, but it never seemed to pan out the way I wanted. This year, Robin Vest, theatrical designer, magic-maker, and gift-sharer extraordinaire, joined the theatre department as a professor and I absolutely knew I had to pick her brain before I began writing. Robin uses her visual arts training and knowledge of art history to inform her designs. “[As a designer,] you take art that you get excited by and kind of emulate it, and use it to inspire your work,” she says. I completely identify with this. How many times have I talked about Vincent van Gogh’s color theory and how I try to use it in my work? A ton. Practically everyday . I even designed a set for Robin’s Intro to Theatrical Design class based almost entirely on his work. My point is, as you creative souls know, that idea isn’t only reserved for designers. This is only a small window into the many ways that the worlds of theatrical design and visual art collide.

It’s also no small secret that what the scenic, lighting, sound, and costume designers do is entirely to support the performers in telling the story all cast and crew are charged with telling. That job isn’t always about art – Robin says that “someone with no training in scenic design can’t just come in and design…we have to make the actors feel safe.” To do that, the design elements must actually be safe. In turn, the actors must have respect for the designers’ vision as well. Robin offered the example of a corset. Corsets make the actors move and interact with their environment differently.  Clothing manipulates how someone moves, informs the period the story is set in, and can completely change the character. Because of this, an actor has to get over their personal preferences sometimes for the good of the play. Just like I have to get over my hatred of the color pink when it needs to be there for the betterment of a painting.

The visual artists’ creations act (pun intended) to inform their perceptions of the world they’re creating, and understanding the performance artists’ work is essential to molding the visual artists’ rendering of that world. So, the relationship between theatre arts and visual arts is a mutually beneficial one. I could go the boring route and say “like remoras and sharks”, but I think for my own purposes and selfish indulgences, I’ll go a little less National Geographic, and a little more pop culture. Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, for example. Both are extremely talented, creative, passionate, and hard-working. But Stark is Iron Man. He’s the theatre arts…Extroverted, gregarious, loves attention. Banner is The Hulk – the visual arts…introverted, keeps everything bottled up, lets his work speak for itself. Would Marvel’s Avengers (the whole production) be the same without both of them working together, respecting each other? Absolutely not.

I hope this post has got the gears grinding in a good way. Dare I say it may have even inspired you to see a play? When you leave it, talk about the performers, director, and crew, because they deserve it. Just make sure to spare some of your praise for the designers, too.

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Robin’s recent work: Heartbreak House just concluded it’s run this past weekend in Sternberger Auditorium.

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Her Third Eye: Kiyoka Ikemura

April 25, 2014

Meet Kiyoka Ikemura, 22, a student photographer on exchange here at Guilford from Japan. When I met with her 2 weeks ago, she had blue hair but this time it was burgundy. Her camera was laying next to her within a moments reach. This is some immediate, visual information that I gathered about her at dinner the other night, without needing any verbal communication.

During out conversation there were times where times where she would ask if I understood what she was trying to say to me. As a french student, I can understand the struggle of attempting to fully express myself in another language. The full meaning of what you are trying to say gets lost in translation. When you are not speaking your maternal language, there is this constant effort to not only express but understand another culture in a way other than just using words.

Kiyoka explained to me that photography is essentially information within a frame: “It provides context and makes me aware of what is happening.” So as an exchange student, this idea of photography providing information and context is particularly interesting because it is a way to connect and understand an unfamiliar world. She keeps her camera on her at all times, and when I say at all times I really mean at all times; it’s like her third eye. She says she constantly thinks to herself “I need that moment” and then takes it in an instant.

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So my next question is, what does she do with the information that is given in the image? Kiyoka’s next step is to edit the image, making it more about her internalized experience in that moment, or rather making the image into more of an expression. She explains that she is always thinking about color when she takes a photo, which she edits and enhances using Photoshop. It is in this process that the photograph comes to life and where the balance between realism and expressionism take place.

Kiyoka feels most comfortable when she’s making photos. After all, she’s been a photographer since she was about 8 or 9. Her father is a photographer and so when she was young he always made her take photos with him. Before taking Maia Dery’s Photo II/III class, she already knew how to develop film and make paper prints on her own, but what she has learned during her stay here is how to love and feel connected to the what she’s taking photos of.

At this point I’m thinking about this dynamic between information and expression and how they are possibly the 2 most important functions in photography. In Kiyoka’s case, photography has been a way to not only understand American culture, but experience it too. It is truly both documentation of her time here, but an exploration of her self. Furthermore, in Kiyoka’s case, it is a way to fill in that gap where words are just not enough; they don’t explain the experience as well as the image.

“I’m taking pictures of what I want here. Everything is so different and I have to take a picture of it. At home I don’t care so much because it is too familiar.” Looking at that photos that she has taken in Japan compared to those in the United States I can see exactly what she is talking about. Her photos from home seem to be of things that are more ordinary, like kids going to school, friends, familiar spaces. In contrast though, the photos taken in the United States are more exploratory and have a more unfamiliar feel. They go beyond documenting daily life; they look closer to explore the unfamiliar.

We all explore the world differently, but art, more specifically photography, is certainly a great way to do it. Our medium, whatever it may be, is how we can learn where we are, be aware of our surroundings and gain presence where ever we may find ourselves. Kiyoka’s entire body of work is an example of this kind of exploration, and a cross cultural one at that.

Check out more of Kiyoka’s photography at Chameleonic World Fun.

Don’t miss The Wild and Scenic Film Festival!

April 23, 2014

If you’re looking for some fun this Friday night, the Cape Fear River Basin Studies Program is hosting The Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the historic Carolina Theatre in downtown Greensboro!

Doors open at 7, show starts at 7:30. 

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Register here!
($10 general admission tickets are available at the door!)

 

Three Way|the Center for Visual Arts, Spring 2014

April 22, 2014

It’s a beautiful spring morning in April. My semester is winding down, and I don’t have class until 4pm, so naturally, I hop in my car and head downtown to one of my most visited local art spots, the Greensboro Cultural Center. I come by the GCC as often as I can. The small galleries are the perfect size to inject some art love into your day with their small-in-stature but big-in-talent exhibitions. The building holds some of Hand/Eye’s most beloved local galleries such as the Greenhill (which Emily covered last week) and the CVA, my personal favorite and my destination for the morning.

Up right now for only two more days is Three Way, featuring Raleigh-based artists Shaun RichardsDerek Toomes and Lincoln Hancock, long time collaborators and friends. This is their second official show together, following NCMA’s 2012 exhibition Word Up: the Intersection of Text and Image, where the curator asked them all individually to participate, not knowing of their already existing friendship. The CVA took their collaboration to the next level, bringing them together intentionally in a thoughtfully composed show to explore their differing perspectives on the American social experience. Three Way acts as an artistic braid, weaving together the visual and conceptual tresses of these similar artists. Starting at the front of the space, visibly similar pieces rotate from artists to artist, providing a comfortably unstructured composition.

As a visitor, I am first introduced to Shaun Richards. Most of his pieces are large scale oil paintings that feel like mixed media due to the combination of different formal elements. In every painting, he uses large text, one major subject, and smaller, stylistic detailing, as seen in the far left image above. His work is like contemporary pop art, showing bold and recognizable symbols and forcing the viewer to rethink chosen words, like “safety” or “standard” by placing them along side of juxtaposing or unexpected images. His section of the wall ends seamlessly, moving into Lincoln Hancock’s small and clearly mixed media canvases, exemplified in the center picture. The Guilford College alumni’s (class of  ’98) work is colorful and chaotic, but the organization somehow makes sense next to Richard’s classic compositional riffs.

Hancock and Toomes have the least in common visually, mimicked in the spacial separation of their work. Toomes presents mostly sketches in this show, mixing together graphite and charcoal and throwing in pops of acrylic color, as you can see in the far right picture. He, like Richards, shows large single subjects but evokes meaning in the smaller surrounding details on the paper. He often breaks up the frame, causing you to slow down, look carefully, and decode the message he is trying to send you.

At the back of the gallery on the single orange painted wall hang three unique pieces. At this point, I was playing a game with myself, trying to guess which artist created what piece, but these left me stumped. It turns out, the artists collaborated to make three new multi media works specifically for the show, even titled Three Way, numbers 1, 2, and 3. They pull together some of the most thought provoking elements from each of their styles; Richard’s realistic figure drawing, Hancock’s frenzied pops of color, and Toome’s delicately crafted typography. Even more than the style, these works solidify their messages of consumption, concepts of normalcy, iconography, and isolation. I don’t see it as coincidence that their work sits just across the hall from that of Romare Bearden and Noe Katz (a super-talented Greensboro-based painter) who also comment on the unique and challenging aspects of the American social experience. Within the GCC lies the ultimate Three Way, three unique and inspiring exhibitions and galleries, bringing us small pieces of beauty and understanding every day.

Be sure to check out the artists websites, as well as the gallery websites, all linked above. Three Way comes down on April 25th, so hurry over and don’t miss this very special exhibition.

 

 

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