Visual art students will share their final work of the fall semester tonight, displaying projects alongside the work of their classmates throughout campus buildings and the town of Brunswick. Their diverse artwork will be on public view from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Visual Arts Center (VAC), McLellan and Fort Andross.
This semester, Associate Professor of Art Michael Kolster's Digital Color Photography class revelled in the interdisciplinary aspects of Bowdoin's art. According to Kolster, a personal highlight of the semester was a discussion with essayist and writer Rebecca Solnit, who visited the class to talk about place. Solnit was able to find a common purpose between her literary field and the artistic interest of the class—a shared motivation to capture the essence of an environment.
On Thursday, student printmakers and photographers came together for the annual print sale in the Fishbowl Gallery of the VAC. Kolster said he was pleased that printmaking and photography students can appreciate the similarities between their media—namely that reproduction of work is an integral part of both. Additionally, the print sale allowed student artists to connect with the public. According to Kolster, this valuable connection allowed artists to see that others are genuinely interested in their work, that subject matter that a student has put in the time to capture would be meaningful to a total stranger, whether or not he or she purchases it.
The artists set prices for each piece themselves, though the majority of pieces did not exceed five dollars. All of the proceeds went to the individual artists, and for good reason—just one semester's worth of photography necessities can cost $350.
Kolster identified a trend of "self-designed and self-assigned" student work throughout the semester. Assistant Professor of Art Carrie Scanga, who teaches Printmaking I, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Meggan Gould, who teaches Photography I, did not designate themes for their classes' final displays.
Gould said, "Each student independently conceptualized and executed the project of his or her choice," leading to a varied display of work.
Scanga also commented on the diversity of work presented by her class.
"The projects are ambitious—including large editions and series and life-sized portraits of people and kitchen appliances—and aesthetically and thematically diverse," Scanga said.
By eliminating thematic boundaries for the final show, these professors have created appropriate conditions for the interdisciplinary nature of art at Bowdoin.
Lecturer of Art John Bisbee's Sculpture I and II classes will culminate the semester with the construction of a tape structure. However, the structure will come together as part of a social event, its ultimate form indefinite until the end of the show.
Sara Davenport '13 said she was excited that the project Bisbee assigned involved collaborative group work, and that the invitiation of friends to the "Bring Your Own Tape" event will spark plenty of idea sharing.
This project draws on the value of seeing the work of peer students and the diversity of their ideas. Capitalizing on the quality of social interaction to construct art is yet another facet of the visual art department's broad disciplinary appeal.
The Department of Visual Arts also stimulates the flow of ideas among students by bringing visitors who offer fresh perspectives and understanding pertinent to the class. Highlights of this past semester included a visit by Eric Baudelaire, a Parisian photographer who visited Gould and Kolster's classes and gave a public talk. April Vollmer, a master in woodblocking, visited Scanga's class.
Scanga said that Volmer's visit "gave students the opportunity to learn about the Japanese tools and methods for carving a woodblock," a departure from their usual Western method.
The semester culminates with open studios, displaying the final projects of various visual arts classes from 5-8 p.m. tonight: "Beyond the Blog," by Kolster's Photography II (Digital Color Photography), in the Kresge Gallery in the basement of the VAC; "You Gonna Finish That," by Associate Professor of Art Jim Mullen's Senior Studio, and Gould's Photography I on the third floor of McLellan; "Under Pressure," Scanga's Print I, in the Burnett Printmaking studio; Bisbee's Sculpture I and II in the Sculpture Studio at Fort Andross; Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellow & Lecturer Nestor Gil's Sculpture I at Fort Andross and the VAC; and Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Amer Kobaslija's Painting I in the North Studio of the VAC.
The independent study in photography by Morgan Macleod '09 will be on display in the Fishbowl of the VAC.
-Anya Cohen and Quinn Cohane contributed to this report.