In addition to the annual faculty show's display of recent paintings, drawings, prints, photos, ceramics, sculpture, glass works and installations, I invited our talented faculty to also create works specifically addressing the theme, “Homage.”
During our careers as professional artists and art educators, we have all learned from and been inspired by other artists. The show, which is on display Sept. 7 through Oct. 12, is designed to acknowledge and pay tribute to some of those artists.
As part of the applied design program, we require our students to study art history and current artists. We make field trips to museums and galleries so that they may appreciate historical works close up, as well as gain fluency in contemporary trends so that they are prepared to find their place in today's market.
The goals in this exhibition are educational as well as personal and artistic expression.
My display honors the work of Claes Oldenburg, originally a Pop artist from the 1960s, who translates a reverence for everyday objects into large scale sculptures, often permanently displayed in prominent public spaces. Their presence all over the world, out of scale and context, often elicits a humorous response from viewers. A few examples are sculptures of a 45' tall steel clothespin in Centre Square, Philadelphia; a 20' tall typewriter eraser in the National Galley sculpture garden in D.C., and a 7,000 pound spoon that becomes a bridge over a river with a large red cherry at the top in a public park in Minneapolis.
Early in his career, he made large scale 'soft sculptures' of common objects.
They are sewn and stuffed fabric versions of solid objects, such as a light switch or a toilet that-while instantly recognizable-acquire a wonderful, new existence as floppy renditions of the everyday.
This summer I studied Oldenburg's drawings in particular. He is a master draftsman with a style that is very loose, but quite accurate.
I chose the ubiquitous cell phone as my subject for the creation of a six foot tall 'soft iPhone' that sits on a bench in the gallery. I also made a series of watercolors placing the supersized phone in various settings on our campus.
I am curious to know if, some years from now, students will wonder the way they do now when viewing Oldenburg's typewriter eraser, what that strange object was for!
-Susan Holt, Gallery Director
Visit www.moselygallery.com or call 410-651-7770 for more information.