Filling a dimly lit room in The Edwards Center for Art and Dance with shining images of wood veneer and brightly toned paintings, 11 Bowdoin students presented their summer artwork in a series of Pecha Kucha presentations on Wednesday night.
These students represented the majority of recipients who had been selected for either the McKee Photography Grant or the Kaempfer Summer Art Grant for 2019. Both grants allow students to spend the summer independently studying visual art forms under the guidance of a faculty member.
“If anybody is looking to expand their independent practice, it’s a very valuable time,” said Marie Bergsund ’20, one of the recipients. “The ability to have no limitations on your project, and also the support of professors over the summer—it’s just a great resource to tap into as an artist.”
This past summer’s recipients include Amani Hite ’20, Brianna White-Ortiz ’21, Brennan Clark ’20, Isabelle Hallé ’20, Maddie Squibb ’20, Kodie Garza ’21, Sam Betts ’21, Will Larson ’21, Caroline Dranow ’20, Niles Singer ’21, Phoebe Nichols ’20, Marie Bergsund ’20, Tala Glass ’20 and Enrique Mendia ’20.
The work created by each student—from photography, to sculpture, to painting—is now on display in the Edwards Center for Art and Dance. In conjunction with this exhibition, students provided reflections and a look at their work through Pecha Kucha presentations. This specific presentation style allows the presenter to speak about 20 different slides for 20 seconds each, providing each artist with a platform for deeper insight.
“It’s nice to see everyone’s works on the walls or in the studio spaces, but it’s really fascinating to have … each artist present their ideas and goals, because it’s something that you never see, except for maybe through an artist statement on the walls,” said Betts, one of the grant recipients.
Students described their artistic processes and explained what inspired their individual projects. Many also reflected on the value of the grants, not only for the development of their work, but also for their own growth as artists.
“The value of Kaempfer is the value of learning a process and learning what your studio practice looks like, and of being free of material constraints and working in your own time,” said Larson. “[What] Kaempfer opens up in terms of possibility is really thinking about, how do I go out and manage my own way of art.”
The exhibition and presentation mark the first time that these artists came together and learned about one another’s art in a collective showing.
“Probably one of the most exciting things is coming back and seeing everybody’s work as a cohesive show, because none of us were really around each other in the production,” said Bergsund.
Many of the artists, however, had collaborated in visual arts courses previously, and the shared thematic and aesthetic influences were clear.
“It’s a really good way to see the parallels between everyone that had the same studio courses, because there’s definitely a bunch of visual compliments between works,” Betts reflected.
Above all, the presentations demonstrated the vibrancy of the student-artist community.
“What’s awesome about talking to other artists and interacting with other artists is that you get an appreciation of people working in different media … and everyone has their own way of approaching how they make art,” Larson explained. “The real value of doing it in a group is that it brings up all of these kinds of discussions, and you see people working in photography or painting or drawing or sculpture. And that intermingling of different ideas is what’s really important.”
The exhibition will remain on display in the Edwards Center for Art and Dance through October 27.