A new faculty member, Assistant Professor of Art Alicia Eggert is enriching the visual arts department with her conceptual focus and broad range of mediums.

Coming to Bowdoin from a teaching position at Alfred University in Alfred, NY, Eggert is excited to explore the College and all that Maine has to offer.

This fall, Eggert is teaching both Sculpture I and Architectural Design I, two areas of study in which she has extensive experience. After gaining her architecture degree from Drexel University, Eggert pursued a career in architecture in New York City. Since then, she has decided to devote herself to art by teaching and focusing on her own work.

Eggert's first assignment in Sculpture I involves both the idea of found-object art and socialization. Students were told to ask strangers on campus for the loose items in their pockets, which will be the basis of their projects.

"Eventually they're taking the object and blowing it up to 20 times the scale and making it into a portrait of the person they got it from," said Eggert.

"The assignment is about deriving inspiration from interactions with people and translating that into an object where the materials really convey the meaning or the person that it's supposed to be representing."

Eggert's architecture class is taking an equally creative, though perhaps not as social, approach to one of its projects. Entitled "Walking the Line," the assignment requires students to walk half a mile from one point of campus to another, traversing through all obstacles and using only a compass. Subsequently, they will design and erect a lean structure somewhere along their path.

Once erected, students will spend some time inside their structures, where they will assess the aesthetic and function of the space. The assignment is meant to provoke thought about primitive shelters, public versus private space, mobility and sustainability.

Eggert said that her experience with architectural design plays a role in her teaching and is evident in the way she organizes her classes.

"I tell students that they don't have to feel that they have innate artistic talent—they can just be smart and clever," Eggert said.

As an architecture student, Eggert discovered conceptual art through a sculpture class. Since then, she has built up a body of work including her most recently exhibited piece, "Eternity" (2010).

"I have been tending to make a lot of work that deals with the idea of time. The most recent piece I made is called "Eternity" and it's a wall-mounted kinetic sculpture that uses regular mechanic clocks. The hands spell 'eternity' every 12 hours," said Eggert.

The piece will be shown at SPACE Gallery in Portland for the month of November.

Eggert's work also extends into mediums beyond sculpture and design, including collaborative pieces such as her current efforts with an electronic engineer on a kinetic installation.

Multimedia work will also be a prominent part of Eggert's Sculpture I class through a collaborative performance with choreographer Layla Marcelle Mrozowski. Because Mrozowski's work is heavily focused on gender and femininity, the performance will be sponsored by the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, along with the Departments of Visual Arts, Theater and Dance.

"Layla will be co-teaching three out of six of the Sculpture I classes during that assignment and leading the students in some movement-based workshops. The students will be introduced to her concept for the choreography and asked to design and build the inflatable environment that the dancers [four Bowdoin students chosen from open auditions] will perform in," said Eggert.

The piece, entitled "Float" will be performed on October 17 at Smith Union. Mrozowski will also be giving a lecture about her work on September 29 at 7 p.m. and will be teaching a contact-improvisation jam. The date and time of this event have yet to be announced.

Eggert's efforts to collaborate across traditional disciplines within her visual arts classes seem in line with her conceptual philosophy.

Said Eggert, "I don't have a specific medium that I work with consistently, because the art that I make is always based on an idea, and I choose the medium that will best communicate that idea."