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Constructing visions of the past in art

By Alena Woods

The College held a faculty art exhibit that encompassed the year-long theme of “constructing the past” on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Many faculty members from the School of Arts & Communication displayed their work, each with his or her own take on the idea of the past.

Student-crafted art mounted on the wall. (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

Interested students and passersby were welcome to both explore the various pieces in the gallery and witness a roundtable discussion where faculty members Anita Allyn, Kenneth Kaplowitz, Elizabeth Mackie and Liselot van der Heijden discussed their recent artistic endeavors.

“The discussion was an opportunity for the faculty to explain their work and for students to ask questions,” director of the Art Gallery Emily Croll said. “It was interesting for the students to hear their professors talk more personally about their processes and open up about their own artistic ideas.”

Art professor Philip Sanders, a feature artist at the exhibition, expressed his take on the idea of the past. To begin his piece, he started with an idea he ponders rather frequently.

“Let’s look and see what we know,” Sanders said. His exhibit piece was indicative of this idea. He constructed a large plywood box with a lockable door, where visitors could unlock and see the ambiguity of the past that Sanders saw. Sanders displayed this idea of vagueness through various projections and online processing to create an iridescent effect inside of the wooden box. The screen of light that Sanders projected in his box only let some of the light through, leaving multiple layers of transparency.

Each artist had his or her own symbolic way of representing how he or she viewed the past.

Mackie's 'Skirt Transformed' (Courtney Wirths / Photo Editor)

“We kind of float in time,” Sanders said. “We live in an ocean of time where we can’t completely grab hold of its greater understanding.”

Art professor Anita Allyn was most interested in where the past meets the present, the “cyclic nature of time” and the repetition of history. Allyn also explained that many of the faculty members used pieces that had already been created before the event, yet fit perfectly with the theme.

“For some of the faculty, presenting in exhibitions is just a part of their normal lives,” Allyn said. “Professor van der Heijden and I exhibit our work nationally and internationally. So some of us used pieces we had already created.”

With the varying concepts of the past, the exhibition made for a great event. It was a time for the faculty to display their artistic prowess to their impressed students and to the rest of the College, and a time to celebrate the College’s recurring theme of “constructing the past” through different variations of what the past really is.


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