A student-curated exhibit of alumni artwork, titled “Constructing Deconstruction,” opened Thursday, April 2, on the second floor of Coates Library. The art class behind the exhibit, The Art of Curating, was offered for the first time this semester where students and the professor work together through experiential learning and curate several exhibits.
The exhibit displays the work of three alumni art majors currently working in San Antonio. The class chose Cade Bradshaw ’14, Kallie Pfeiffer ’13 and Cecily Ferguson ’14 from a pool of submissions because all their works came together under the theme of reconstructing objects and concepts into a new form.
“I had submissions of different alumni and we looked at all of the entries together and we picked what we thought would make a cohesive show. They [the students] got to help me come up with the title and the theme and which artists would go with that,” said Rachel Matthews “˜12, part-time faculty and curator of campus art.
Bradshaw’s work focuses on environmental concerns, and for this exhibit he created a series called “Logbooks.” He used discarded paper and books. He reshaped them into tree rings and reformed bark around it to look like the cross- section of a tree.
“Those pieces are talking about our natural resource use in reverse. We usually talk about from production to product but this is talking about it from product back to origin,” Bradshaw said.
Ferguson’s “Shattered Skull” uses fabric to reconstruct an image of a skull, tying into the theme of constructing what is deconstructed.
“I took the archaeological photograph and broke it down into various areas of darks and lights, and then used different shades of blue to represent what I saw using fabric,” Ferguson said.
During her time at Trinity, Matthews worked for the Mellon Initiative with a focus on increasing the presence of student and alumni artwork on campus, and curated small student exhibits in the Mellon office. She submitted a proposal in Fall 2014 to bring students into the process of curating campus art through experiential learning.
“I made a proposal to curate art in the campus buildings and then that turned into a class because I wanted to include students in the process to teach them about hanging artwork and curating,” Matthews said. “The goal is to get student and alumni work displayed on campus, but the goal is also to give this experience to the students of learning how to curate an exhibit.”
Throughout the entire curating process””choosing pieces, deciding a theme, advertising the opening and laying out the pieces in the second-floor library””students worked together and gained valuable experience.
Matthews took the class of four students to the Southwest School of Art to meet with the exhibitions director and also to the three studios of the featured alumni.
“This course is fantastic because it provided us with the opportunity to work hands- on and have the experience of putting together an exhibit. We have learned that anything can happen during the process of collecting art and exhibiting it, but as a class we learned how to creatively solve these problems together,” said senior communication major Emily Williams, who took the course because of her interest in art.
Currently, the four students are pairing up to curate their own exhibits of student art. “Constructing Deconstruction” will be on display in the library until May 11.