Art on Display

The visual arts season at Brooks kicks off this month with a faculty art show in the Robert Lehman Art Center.

The visual arts season at Brooks kicks off this month with a faculty art show in the Robert Lehman Art Center.
The show, which features the works of visual arts teacher Lynn McLoughlin, photographer teacher Shelley Zatsky and Arts Department Chair Amy Graham, opened this week and will be on display until October 7.

Each of these faculty-artists selected work they had done over the summer and handed it over to Heather Lazar, newly appointed coordinator of the art center, for her to create the show.

“When I first saw this varied body of work, I was impressed and excited. But I wondered how these works … could speak together in one exhibit,” explained Lazar, who prior to Brooks has taught at The American School in Switzerland and Walnut Hill School’s extension program.

She said she found that answer came naturally, when she thought about how the faculty artwork, and student installations that accompany it, come from stuff — stuff of life, stuff found in the gallery, tattered items, repurposed items — all forging unexpected connections.

“In the exhibit, diversity found harmony and began to speak,” Lazar said. She said the exhibit is meant to be an interactive one, where gallery visitors can leave their feedback on the exhibit.

To coincide with the faculty art show, which is located in the back of the gallery, each teacher had students create an installation in the front two-thirds of the gallery. Zatsky’s class, for example, created a giant camera obscura on the left side of the space. Graham’s students are studying self portraiture. Using a pile of old clothes as their medium, students used fabric to create self-portraits on the wall.

“We’re creating an installation to start getting kids thinking about portraiture — not just in two-dimensional ways, but in three-dimensional ways as well,” said Graham, as her students ripped and cut everything from old sheets to sweaters and bathing suits for their materials.

Lynn McLoughlin’s class used bolts of yarn to create a web. She’s been talking with her students about using a web as a kind of self-portrait, and then seeing how those individual webs can become part of a larger, interconnected web.

“I like the inquiry of ‘what does it take to make your own connection to creativity’ and ‘how does art connect to the viewers?’ We are asking for interactive participation in the way of adding to the web sculpture and asking for written responses to what the viewers are observing. Prompts will be placed throughout the exhibit to assist in the dialog of individual works and the relationships of all the works,” McLoughlin said.

Earlier this week, Molly Alvino ’15 was working on positioning her string just right near the piano that now sits in the art center, as all three classes were working on their installations.
“I’ve definitely never done this before in an art class — this is so cool!” said Molly.

While it looked like she and her classmates were weaving quite a tangled web (it started to become hard to move around the gallery) she noted that that was sort of the idea.

“Mrs. McLoughlin told use to use one material, and do a lot of draping and movement; to use the space all the way up to the ceiling and down on the floor,” Molly said. “The idea is that you are creating a web to try and lead people somewhere.”

McLoughlin said the work students are doing is connected to the faculty work because it involves them being observant to an artist’s first makers, and then “following the natural, organic direction” of a piece.

“Getting all three classes in here at the same time is pretty exciting,” noted Graham, as the art center became a bustling workshop/studio for converging student-artists.

“I love merging high and low art. Like all of these clothes — these were all junk clothes that were going to be thrown away, and we’re bringing them into this high-end gallery,” Graham said.

To see more about the Robert Lehman Art Center, including a schedule of shows for the 2012-2013 school year, click here.

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