With varying styles, materials, and scales, the work of Colgate’s studio art professors has filled Clifford Gallery — giving visitors a glimpse at what they do outside of the classroom.
Professors DeWitt Godfrey, Lakshmi Luthra, Linn Underhill, Lynette Stephenson, Lynn Schwarzer, Mary Helena Clark, and Wenhua Shi displayed work that highlights their individual talents in digital art, installation art, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and painting.
Some professors created new work for the exhibition, while others have displayed previously completed pieces. From an HD QuickTime movie created by Shi, to paintings by Stephenson, the exhibition reflects the versatility of the professors in the department.
“I think about it as a kind of potluck,” Schwarzer said. “You never know what’s going to appear, and it’s always really fun to see how the works talk to each other.”
Godfrey’s installation Luttel — made from corten steel cylinders and bolts stacked high enough to dwarf visitors — was an idea he thought of long before the exhibition. As the exhibition got closer, he said, he got to thinking that the height of three cylinders in a row was slightly taller than the ceiling. He had wanted to experiment with wedging something between a floor and a ceiling, and happened to have the material left over from another installation.
“I’m interested in how materials behave, so the shapes you see are all due to the gravity and the pressure,” Godfrey said. “The ones on the bottom are the most compressed, the middle are the least, and the top ones are pretty much in their full shape.”
Camille Strøe ’16, who has taken classes with several studio art professors including Godfrey and Schwarzer, said her time in their classes led to an appreciation of their works.
“I felt like I was really able to understand the difficulty and high level of talent that went into the manipulation of materials after having taken a class and understanding materials behavior,” she said of Godfrey’s sculpture. “I also enjoyed seeing it from all angles, really understanding the positive and negative space.”
Next to Godfrey’s installation, Schwarzer’s piece First Transmissions is comprised of tiny prints and images she selected and paired together. One frame, for example, pairs an image from the first televised presidential debate with the first photograph of the moon.
As a printmaker with a background in film and media studies, Schwarzer wanted to look at “the history of recording and transmitting images through film and photography, and to probe claims on ‘documenting reality,’” she said. “Reminiscent of a View-Master or stereoscope, the small images are paired in relationships that challenge notions of authority and gender; quests to see the ‘unseen’; and sometimes, just celebrate the absurd.”
Schwarzer added that she wanted them to be tiny “so you had to really look carefully to see them, in the same way that you might look into a pair of binoculars. You kind of cut out the rest of the world, and you just see what’s going on with these two little [images], so I wanted that really intimate scale.”
“Seeing this installation gives me a new respect for them as mentors because it is clear that they are constantly working and evolving, learning alongside us,” said Strøe. “It was really fun to engage with them in this new setting and see what makes them tick.”
The Studio Art Exhibition will be open at the Clifford Art Gallery through Friday. Admission is free, and the exhibition is open to the public.