Visual Arts Department Faculty Show: In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

Artwork from all seven visual arts faculty members fill Seaver Gallery.

The Visual Arts Department is thrilled to announce that Seaver Gallery is once again filled with artwork after a 17-month hiatus. The special exhibition, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, features artwork from all seven members of the Visual Arts Department faculty and will run through October 1st. 

 

Chelsea Dean
Department Head, Visual Arts

A drawing by Chelsea Dean

My work explores systems that erode and the conflict between order and entropy. Inspiration is found where I live and work in Southern California: bot in Los Angeles and Wonder Valley. Iconic mid-century architecture and design, shelters built by optimistic homesteaders now abandoned, evidence of domesticity, discarded personal artifacts, and the arid landscape, which is both brutal and sublime - my exploration, documentation, and imagining of these elements are incorporated into the work. Combining photographs, experimental printmaking, drawing, collage techniques, and installation, I assign new meaning. The work reveals both beauty and decay, dimensionally layering information spatially, revealing elements of the original object or ideal, as well as imagination of its inevitable destruction.

For this exhibition, I included work that spans from 2014 - 2020, including a recent mixed media collage that is the first of a new series. I think it’s important for students to see my own personal growth, development of new ideas, and continuity throughout the work. Interestingly enough, all of the pieces in the show were produced with the support of Marlborough through a variety of professional development experiences in Los Angeles, Berlin, and Hailey, Idaho.

 

danielle b ashton
Visual Arts Instructor

Two sculptures of human heads facing each other.

Art comes to me as a form of healing and connection. By using a visual language, I can explore and find meaning in concepts and ideas that feel beyond reach or that I simply need to document. The series Millard Falls is a visual diary of my time on the beautiful trail in the San Gabriel Mountains. It was 2016 and I was crawling outside my skin with all that was happening in politics and my personal life. Walking through the canyon trees with the twinkling light that fell between the leaves was like confetti kisses, I had to document what that time meant to me.

My most recent sculptural work doesn’t stray too far, except I wasn’t building from a conscious memory, but allowing the subconscious to tell the story. I had no idea where this work was going, but it brought about endless questions and dialogue and continues to inform where my practice is going. I find it curious that all the figures have some kind of a defense mechanism, whether spiny leaves, pokey wire, or an extra large hoodie. This quandary will be the focus of my next series. And so art continues...

 

Sarah Beadle
Visual Arts Instructor

A photo series showing destryoed walls at the abandoned George Airforce Base.

On George Air Force Base, or On GAFB, 2011 to now is an ongoing query which speaks to the failure of Manifest Destiny in the inhospitable high desert landscape of California, particularly in Modernist domestic spaces. One instance of domesticity is George Air Force Base; a community dotted with postwar family homes decommissioned by the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) of 1988, which abruptly put an end to the communities which rose up out of soldiers’ protesting separation from their families when not deployed. It was a protest defending the profound need for stability and proximity to normalcy that only a family can provide, especially during the uncertainty of deployment.

After the Cold War ended, those same families were displaced as the need for active military declined and bases - as a national budgetary imperative - had to be systematically closed by BRAC. While there was a need to close 350+ bases, there was no budget to demolish the infrastructure. Thereby, many bases and their neighborhoods sit still in their depleted communities and are slowly plucked of what little they have left to offer by those who wander by. Copper wire, ripped from the walls and resold as scrap, is a prime reusable commodity, as is evidenced in these photographs of ravished drywall.

Attracted to the way value is constantly reassigned by the users of abandoned architecture - especially to the valuation of recent historical memory - I scout for evidence of reuse and revaluation and document that labor with photographs. Desert architecture is constantly being repurposed or reshuffled by scavengers. Though the optimism of Midcentury building materials and stylish domesticity persist in drywall, wiring, cladding, draping, and flooring, there is also poignant evidence of halted domestic labor: what happens when no one cleans up? Is that when value is depleted? Is that when entropy sets in? From the moment we put down the broom? Is housekeeping an illusion of control? Abandoned homesteading shacks and deserted military bases are the sites of my inquiry into these puzzles, which are ultimately problems families - especially women - navigate every day.


 

Jena English
Student Publications and Media Studio Head

Validation: Chapter 1

Dad, a documentary

At Home

I’ve always believed that art, at its best, works on more than one level - test and subtext, aesthetic and emotional, able to be read with little prior knowledge and layered with intellectual depth. Of all the art forms I’ve tried (of which there have been many), I have found cinema to be the most amenable to multiple levels of enjoyment. At its best, it poses questions but doesn’t answer them; it is at once relatable and strange.

These three pieces represent a spectrum of filmmaking: experimental, narrative, and documentary. They are each completely different in their inspiration and construction. At Home was my quarantine experiment, an art film with no narrative, capturing the monotony of the first year of pandemic life. Validation is the first chapter in a series of webisodes about a parking attendant contending with divorce, mid-life doldrums and possibly becoming obsolete. Movement captures my father’s last few months suffering from the long slog of ALS.

 

Fatima Hoang
Visual Arts Instructor

Sculpture by Fatima Hoang

A sticker is a fantastic little object. It holds so much potential as the places to apply the sticker to are infinite, yet sometimes we hold onto them because we can’t find the “right” object to affix them to. Sometimes nothing is good enough, sometimes everything is good enough, and sometimes it doesn’t matter. There is a pile that needs to get out into the world. Sometimes your sticker is liquid gold and a pattern as old as any, with the objects being blocks of clay that have been left out, inadvertently to dry.

At other times, your sticker is a methodical process that you have been employing for years with a personal set of rules, and you are just looking for the right form in which this method can finally find harmony. In an endless search, you don’t ever expect to find the form that will be the parentheses to close things up. But you keep searching and keep trying because the process and the inherent discoveries in that process is what keeps you and your mind occupied. 

A meditation on unlimited stickers.

 

Daphna Lapidot
Visual Arts Instructor
 

A photo series by Daphna Lapidot sharing her neighborhood during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

March 7th, 2020 is the day that my family began an intense lockdown as did many Americans.

We confined ourselves to our small apartment, hand washed laundry, and kept our outdoor time very limited. It was at night that we found our escape from this confinement.

Night became synonymous with escape, fresh air, safety, spaciousness, and adventure. 

At first, these walks were limited to our neighborhood. Then we used our car to go farther out.

The iPhone’s camera was just right to capture intimate images of the moment. It was already a part of my practice to keep a photo journal, marking each day with one image. A way to savor and slow down the fast pace of urban life. During Covid, the mundane became dramatic. Time went from fleeting to frozen. I took these snapshots to mark those moments. 

The glowing lamp posts and indoor lights hint at life inside. 

Lonely, ominous, silent, detached, quiet, dense, mysterious. 
 

Kathy Rea
Visual Arts Instructor

Sketches and poetry of everyday moments observed through the pandemic lockdown.

When we first began to quarantine in March of 2020, it quickly became clear that this was going to be an extraordinary time in all of our lives. One like no other. One that required documenting in some significant and appropriate manner.

A time to make art, I declared to myself. To make a statement. Do something profound. I would be disciplined! I would create a drawing a day. Maybe a painting each week. Or at least each month. I would create exceptional observations that would capture the relatable big picture of life in the middle of a pandemic… or so I thought.

But as the covid numbers continued to rise and each day and each week began to flow into the next and even the months and seasons began to blur and become indistinct, I found increasingly, I had little discipline for art making. In fact, some days I found I could barely muster the discipline required to brush my hair or change out of my pajamas. So, some days.... I did neither.

I soon realized I had to lower my creative expectations for myself. And at some point, I decided that if I/we (my husband and  daughter) just came out of this pandemic alive, then that would be extraordinary enough to satisfy me.

Attached are some thoughts, a few sketches, all drawn from direct observation or from photos I have taken in the last year and a half, as a means to document this extraordinary time. No big picture masterpieces here - I’ll leave that for the hisptirans. Just some small, ordinary, everyday, normally-overlooked bits and pieces of my life… in the time of a pandemic. 
 


More News