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LINE ART REVIEW


LINE ART REVIEW


MISSION STATEMENT LINE Art Review Magazine is a student-run publication at Skidmore College that creatively and analytically reviews and responds to art on campus in order to highlight the diverse creativity of the Skidmore community.

WHO WE ARE Skidmore students play an integral role in every aspect of line from the design and concept to the writing and editing. We review individual works of art and exhibits by both student and professional artists. These works may be presented in Tang Teaching Museum, the Schick Gallery, Case Gallery, Howe-Rounds Gallery, or in individual unaffiliated spaces around campus. line explores and presents all forms of art and features a variety of artistic media. line aims to spark discussion about different styles of art and the creative process. In the spirit of line’s inclusive nature, we accept writing and art submissions from students with a range of majors and backgrounds. We hope to encourage people to both create their own art and think critically about art works they encounter.

LINE ART REVIEW © 2015 Skidmore College 815 N. Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 President Allison Gretchko ’17 Daniel Kapp ’17 Managing Editor Gwendolyn Plummer ’17 Design Directors Marion Cox ’16 Adam Fisher-Cox ’15 Layout Staff Allison Gretchko ’17 Kira Hastings ’17 Monica Horowitz ’18 Kai Inaba ’16 Daniel Kapp ’17 Emily Manges ’16 Gwendolyn Plummer ’17 Madeleine Welsch ’17 Photography Editor Allison Gretchko ’17 Cover Art Jonnea Herman ’18 Special Thanks The Tang Museum The Schick Gallery Skidmore Office Services Skidmore Catering Megan Hyde Rachel Seligman Rebecca Shepard Sarah Miller Rebecca Green ’15 Daniel Li ’16 Catherine Heller ’17 Wilson Espinal ’17

Image courtesy of the Tang Museum


LETTER FROM THE LEADERSHIP TEAM Dear Line Readers, We often tease that we’re an underground club–a campus wide secret–for the greater portion of the academic year. We fulfill a unique niche at Skidmore as a student run arts publication that offers a small community to anyone interested in visual art, performance art, or writing. We strive to make art an integral part of the academic culture at Skidmore by reflecting on both student and professional artwork in our publication stimulating another layer of contemplation for readers. We hope to enrich the student experience within the Skidmore art community by encouraging an increased understanding of the incredible talent on campus. With a truly diverse range of exhibitions and performances throughout the duration of the fall and spring semesters, our writers respond with equal variance. We are proud of the extensive and stylistic collection that is published in the 2014-2015 edition of LINE and we urge you, the reader, to envelop yourself in the words and to welcome your own artistic contemplations.

Allison Gretchko President

Image courtesy of the Tang Museum

Daniel Kapp President


2014–2015

LINE ART REVIEW 2

Mission Statement

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Credits

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Letter from the Line Leadership Team

Features 6

Realms of Literature and Myth

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The 2015 Juried Student Exhibition

Realms of Earth and Sky: Indian Painting at the Tang Kira Hastings ’17

Allison Gretchko ’17

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Drawing the Particulars

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Ujima Fashion Show

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Subtle Connections

The Case Gallery Exhibition of Cleo Gordon ’15 Daniel Kapp ’17

Gwendolyn Plummer ’17

Craft Matters in the Schick Gallery Gwendolyn Plummer ’17

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Chrysalis

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An Interview with Samantha Berman ’15

Leila Farrer ’16

Madeleine Welsch ’17


Image courtesy of the Tang Museum

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Lost in Translation

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Retro-Reflection

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Viewing the Viewer

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Tim Lok Chan

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An Informal Dialogue

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Line Art Gallery

The North Woods’ water tower Daniel Kapp ’17

Nicholas Krushenick retrospective at the Tang Museum Monica Horowitz ’18

Samuel Brown ’16

Jack Mullin ’17

I was a double at the Tang Museum Emily Manges ’16

Student Submitted Artwork


Realms of Literature and Myth The Diversity of South Asian Painting

by Kira Hastings 6


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panning a variety of styles and subjects, the Tang Teaching Museum’s exhibit Realms of Earth and Sky: Indian Painting from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century presents the viewer with a cursory but thorough opportunity to examine the most productive period of South Asian painting. The exhibit, originally curated by Daniel Ehnbom and Krista Gulbransen, was adapted to the Tang’s galleries by Rachel Seligman with assistance from Saleema Waraich. Two space dividers break the gallery into smaller sections to instigate a sense of perpetual movement. Royal purple painted on the walls encloses but does not minimize the space, allowing the paintings-most less than two feet in height--to stand out, despite their size. Additionally, the low lighting causes their white frames to glow and accentuates the vivid colors of the pieces. The thematic organization of the paintings presents the viewers with the opportunity to compare various styles and the conceptualization of subjects found across geographic and chronological boundaries. An excellent example of this would be two images depicting scenes from the Jain religion, both titled The Universe in the Shape of a Person. One image spreads the worlds relatively evenly along its length, presenting an initial impression of a complete but elongated figure. The human form has been deconstructed, with certain

body parts divided into grids and marked to indicate these three worlds. The dimensions of the work are smaller, forcing the subdivisions of the body to textually evoke these worlds. The other, the largest image in the exhibit, depicts the Three Worlds in a figural form that emphasizes the lower world. Conceptually akin to a hell, it shows comic-striplike scenes of brightly-colored figures undergoing a selection of horrific tortures. The middle and upper worlds together take up less space on the page and draw less attention than these grisly images. Divided by between 75-200 years, the difference in these works nonetheless shows how changes in period and location can drastically change a work. Realms of Earth and Sky functions in tandem with a companion exhibit, titled Shahzia Sikander, featuring three contemporary South Asian works that showcase the evolution of manuscript painting. Shahzia Sikander herself visited Skidmore in February and spoke about her training in “miniature” painting and her gradual transition to more technology-based media. Her three pieces reflect her reliance 7


on technology, as emphasized by the continuouslyplaying 10-minute-long animation she formed by combining and manipulating her drawings. Her talk emphasized her reliance on this joining of painting and technology to deconstruct the inter-cultural and international societies and realms she explores.

Akbar gathered artists from throughout his empire to paint his literary and historical commissions, a procedure which joined these geographicallydiverse styles into something new. South Asian illustrated manuscripts became most popular during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605), when his workshop combined indigenous Indian styles with Persian and European styles to form a new and more realistic style of artwork. Akbar gathered artists from throughout his empire to paint his literary and historical commissions, a procedure which joined these geographically-diverse styles into something new. Scholars today believe he may have been dyslexic, a state that would have spurred his requests for art. Akbar thought that the essence of a person could be seen in their image, and so his artists painted portraits of many officials for him to study and assess. This

Image courtesy of the Tang Museum

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Mughal style’s interest in portraiture and realism remains evident throughout many images in the exhibit, despite the numerous religious, regional, and cultural differences individualizing each piece. Depicting the vast variety of complex styles found in South Asian painting, two Asavari Raginis (c. 1750) exemplify stylistic intersections of line and color. One, from the Jaipur region, features overwhelmingly bold, bright colors. It simultaneously focuses on the typical South Asian detail, found most explicitly here on the peacocks’ tails and the leaf patterns that add dimension to the forms of the trees. Symbolically, a peacock feather halo is used to represent the divinity of the personified musical ceremony, while the snakes surrounding the woman identify and contextualize her story. The other Asavari Ragini utilizes a different art style, featuring delicate brushstrokes and a balance of detailed work and swathes of color, but solely pastel colors. The detail still visible in the work conveys that it is undamaged by time and that the paler colors were a choice of the artist or patron. Additionally, in a small note of stylistic variation, the snakes appear fundamentally different: the first painting’s abundance of snakes appear fish-like, while the second contains merely two birdlike snakes. The artistic choices obvious in the differences between these images reflect the blending and shifting of styles found throughout the Mughal and Rajput courts and throughout this exhibit. ◘


2015 Juried Student Exhibition by Allison Gretchko

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ntering the Schick Gallery, a visitor is immediately integrated into the small but extremely encompassing space filled with bold colors and twisted shapes that make up the artwork that pops against the stark white walls. The space is booming with vibrant pieces in every medium that draw the viewer in with the exceptional quality, precision, and composition. This is not a show completed by aged professionals, but student artists of all class years still fine-tuning their techniques and individual styles. Viewing museum quality work done by college students never becomes anything less than astounding to each gallery goer. It is whispered around every piece what tremendous beauty and talent is displayed in the gallery, a foreshadowing to the future that the professional art world will soon inhabit. The entire show feels secretive, as if the audience is being shown the future of art soon to be found in museums and elite galleries across the country. It is clear that a new generation of artists has been bred to break boundaries, think independently, and has certainly been taught to leave lasting impressions. It is a show of impressions, truly the impressive

nature of the work done by such young artists and the impression that each piece carries as the observer moves around the space. None of the artists have work that is connected but it feels that each picture, drawing, sculpture, or ceramic structure are joined together by forces of creativity, sparking emotions reminiscent of youth and new beginnings. Even as a young student artist myself, I want to join the mysterious world of supreme capability in which my peers exist. I am in awe as the works of art float around me leaving a magical impression that there is an inner artist in us all. Is it the use of color that makes their art standout? Or is it the captivating compositions that draw my eye in every direction? Perhaps it is the multitude of mediums that leave me inspired? It is all of these things at once and none of them at all. Every artist has put a piece of their own soul into the displayed works, and it shows with every emotion and feeling the viewer experiences. Leaving the gallery space is not an easy feat to do, but I exit deeply satisfied knowing that I am enamored with a profoundly creative inspiration from the students work that is carried with me for the rest of the day. â—˜ Image courtesy of the Schick Gallery

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Drawing the Particulars by Daniel Kapp

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mongst the quotidian blur of bustling bodies and tired transactions that encompass the Case Student Center by day, artist Cleo Gordon’s show in the Case Gallery puts this to a halt. God As the Cloud Says Nothing in Particular disrupts the urgency and thoughtlessness of the everyday and probes a slow, reflective experience. With a background in philosophy and religion, her show title toys with the idea of God not saying nothing, rather nothing in particular. Thus meaning that God is saying exactly what is. The senior Studio Art major didn’t refrain from showing us the things we don’t want to see and highlighting the exact details. “The particulars are kind of ugly a lot of the time” Gordon notes. Whereas art and life often ignore the imperfect, Gordon feels dutiful in showing these particulars and displaying them sans filter. Her work probes us to pause and wonder where the beauty is, the honest caveat being that the answer is not obvious. The beauty is in the honesty; the beauty is in the courage. “I wish I could make beautiful things all the time… because I love the world. But where is the opposite breath?“ Gordon continues by saying, “I like to go

Artist: Cleo Gordon ’15, images courtesy of the artist

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somewhere beautiful and draw. And I’m not gonna draw the landscape, I’m gonna draw a demon.” Her work steps aside from the ordinary and expeditions into the dark and misunderstood depths of human experience. She calls attention to things we don’t like to pay mind to, let alone be trapped with in an intimate gallery. A piece like “God no longer Demands Animal Sacrifice” is a triptych depicting a big hand, collecting road kill off the street. This prompts exploration of our own religious beliefs, while examining a side of society that we like to sweep under the rug. With a biting sense of immediate discomfort, Cleo keeps us grounded throughout with her grain-ofsalt-esque accouterments, like a guest book made of bushy fuchsia fur, an unrecognizable decaying banana suspended from the ceiling, and wacky titles for her individual pieces. A lot of Gordon’s work wouldn’t exist without the title, she says, “The title’s not an addendum, it’s the punch line.” There is so much spirit and humanity in the show, it swallows you right

“Effective Nighttime Camera Flash”, Artist: Cleo Gordon ’15

upon entrance, but it offers so much more than that. Getting lost in the show is an important part of the experience; there’s so much thought and detail in every piece that you feel like it’s your responsibility to respond with as much. Creeping a look over my shoulder to inspect a quiet chirping noise I thought I’d heard, I noticed a small glass atrium filled with a miniature cityscape and a gaggle of live crickets. “Future Tank” is a brilliant microcosm of the show as a whole, with an initial silliness and a shocking long-term presence. The interaction between the piece and its title cast an eerie mental image of us, humans as the crickets and presents the thought that our speech may be nothing more than their gentle screech. It’s these reflections that evoke the aforementioned discomfort and remind us that as much as we may not want to see the particulars of our everyday, understanding them will enhance our reality. ◘

This is a Caption

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“God No Longer Demands Animal Sacrifice”, Artist: Cleo Gordon ’15

Above: “Gordon Takes the Ride of His Life”, Artist: Cleo Gordon ’15 Right: “Windy”, Artist: Cleo Gordon ’15

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UJIMA Fashion Show by Gwendolyn Plummer

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his year’s Ujima Fashion Show, the club’s 24th annual, was an impressive, exciting event that exceeded all expectations. Titled All the Way Home, focusing on celebrating and honoring the African and Caribbean cultures that Ujima members call their own; the show was a breathtaking combination of fashion, performance art, and social activism. Ujima transformed the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard stage into a genuine runway for the show, creating an excitingly authentic atmosphere. Walking into the JKB theater and taking a seat on the side of the catwalk, one felt less like they were in snowy Saratoga Springs and more like they’d been transported to New York Fashion Week, all in a matter of seconds. The runway was graced by a diverse group of models; men and women, all body shapes and sizes, and numerous ethnicities and backgrounds were represented. The models exuded confidence and, most importantly, excitement that blew any NYFW show out of the water. Loud, supportive, and animated, the audience shouted and clapped for their friends as they made their way down the runway. It seemed as though a community was being showcased alongside the fashion. The show featured fashion that was both student created and commercial, with designers from the lines Tinzclothing and Numbers Don’t Lie in

attendance to watch as their collections came down the runway. Colorful, lively, and tapping into African and Caribbean cultures, the fashion itself echoed the happiness and excitement of the models and the audience. There were dance performances, spoken word, and a rap duo from Cleveland, as well. There were moments of education, where videos highlighting issues plaguing African and Caribbean nations were played for the audience. These videos emphasized heroes, victims, tragedies, and triumphs – all to remind us why it we had come out that night. There was a brief intermission, where we all transferred from our flight to the African continent onto our flight to the Caribbean, and there was a genuine sense of enchantment and community. This is what the show was characterized by. The Ujima Fashion show went so far beyond fashion. The three directors–all Freshmen– the models, the designers, the performers, the crew all went above and beyond to create a hybrid experience that felt unparalleled at Skidmore. I left that show with sore cheeks from smiling and the lingering sense that I had, as a member of the audience, gained something important that transcended fashion. ◘ Image courtesy of Wilson Espinal

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Subtle Connections by Gwendolyn Plummer

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raft Matters is at first glance, an incredibly overwhelming exhibition. Walking into the gallery, it is hard for the eye to pick a place to land, to pick a piece to begin to examine first. Pieces are placed around the room, on the floor, on the walls, and hanging from the ceiling with no discernible start, middle, or end, causing the entire exhibition to hit the viewer at once, the moment they walk into the gallery. It features works from nineteen different artists, the common denominator being that all of the works are done in “fibers, metals, ceramics, wood, [or] glass,� making for a wildly varied and visually stimulating collection. The large pieces in the gallery draw the eye first: the massive red hand hanging from the ceiling, the 14

multi colored and multi patterned abstract ceramic sculpture, the blue bust with red lips that looks to be crying, and the large, asymmetrical black chair in the corner. These pieces are loud and glaring, demanding attention from the viewer. At first, they claim all the attention, all the space in the room, and perhaps that is due to the layout. The arrangement of the gallery is a strange combination of claustrophobic and spacious, seeming at first glance, to be cluttered and overcrowded with large works of art that demand too much attention to be equally divided. Once one begins to move about inside though, to walk between the pieces and through the gallery, it becomes apparent how much space there actually is, how much the use of negative


space in the exhibition is actually taken advantage into the wall, that contribute to the overall excelof. The pieces are not cluttered together, rather they lence of the gallery. These pieces, swallowed at first by are spaced out, just far enough to cause the viewer to the expansiveness of the space and loudness of other question the connection between the pieces. What works in the gallery, are incredibly intriguing and first seemed overwhelming and unnavigable becomes, easy to get lost in when they are given closer attenactually, an expansive room of bright white negative tion. White as the wall with small rings of deep color space, interrupted by loud, demandburning through to the other end, ing pieces that jar the senses and grab “Dispersions” can suck a viewer in The pieces are the viewer’s attention. for ages, as can “Maze Gaze”, which loud and glaring, looks different from every angle, demanding attention It is almost impossible to decide featuring a hidden face that, once from the viewer. where to start looking in Craft noticed, follows you around the galMatters, but the most interesting lery and out the door. aspect of the exhibition is that the quieter pieces, the ones that do not immediately Craft Matters is an entirely consuming and incredibly grab attention the way the loud ones do, are just as exciting exhibition. Every piece is multi-faceted and dynamic when looked at more closely. While pieces the furthest thing from straightforward, echoing the like Sergei Isupov’s “A History of Lovers” and Wendell overall feeling of the gallery. It can consume hours Castle’s “Black Widow” are two of the attention grabupon hours and cause the strangest thoughts. It is an bers in the exhibition, it is also quieter pieces like Lia exhibition worth visiting and worth, at least, attemptCook’s “Maze Gaze” and especially Anne Wilson’s ing to grasp. The power of the pieces, large and small, “Dispersions”, which is so white that it almost blends quiet and loud, is impossible to deny. ◘

This is a Caption Images courtesy of the Schick Gallery 15


hrysali by Leila Farrer Image courtesy of the Schick Gallery 16


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very time I enter the Schick Art Gallery’s show Craft Matters, there is nothing more I want than to run my hands over Warren Seelig’s installation work, “Chrysalis.” There is something amazingly tactile about the work and I know I cannot be the only one who wants to touch it, to twang its strings, to pluck it like a harp. The electrifyingly neon green “Chrysalis,” comprised of hundreds of twisted, interwoven, and tightly drawn plastic threads tied to small nails at each end, hangs in the corner of the gallery. Seelig and his partner nailed their design into place over the two days, diligently threading each filament into angles that expand and contract so that the eye plays with solidity, shadow, and aesthetic organization. It is hard to describe what exactly is so enticing about this work but I believe it has most to do with its areas of intersection. Where the strings cross and consolidate in the center, the color appears to deepen. It is here where I feel strength from the form of “Chrysalis,” here where I want to place my hand and squeeze. As I turn my head and find the many smooth and rounded angles that the strings create, I can feel the support that emanates from the center of the work. Power and vibrancy diminish around the edges of the work where the artist fixed the threads to the wall with an unwavering consistency of space.

“Chrysalis” is not just comprised of its physical parts; it is an experience of perspective and shadow that changes as I move left and right, forward and back. As light moves through the strands and onto the stark white wall beyond, the number of lines multiply two and three fold. “Chrysalis” reflects shadows into its corner, thin tendrils of gray that expand the art so that it is much intangible as it is tactile. The shadows, like the color, darken and lighten depending on the relationship between the strings, an illusionary effect that plays with the eye and makes me dizzy. But I am only more intrigued. These elements of shape and relief coalesce to form a work that is both organic and strangely unnatural. Seelig created a work of art that emulates the butterfly’s home, a beautiful structure of the natural landscape, but managed to transform it into something more mechanical. “Chrysalis” is a skeleton of that organic shape, its contours exposed, reducing it to calculated suspended lines. Its smooth curvatures and shiny plastic are instantly appealing, but they create something colder than the butterfly’s cozy nest. Such contradictions leave me uneasy yet magnetized. “Chrysalis” begs for attention, and thanks to its cool and multifaceted presence in the corner of the gallery, I cannot give it enough. ◘

“Chrysalis” is not just comprised of its physical parts; it is an experience of perspective and shadow...

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An Interview with

Samantha Berman Conducted by Madeleine Welsch

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f you’ve ever stepped foot in the Saisselin Art Building, you’ve probably seen Samantha Berman around the studio. Bubbly and hardworking, Samantha is an avid fan of mixed media, tap-dancing, and art education. Whether sitting on academic council with the art department faculty or crafting with children as an education assistant at the Tang, Samantha’s passion for art is truly infectious. We sat down to discuss her inspirations, studies, and her future in the art world: What got you involved in art? I have been doing art my whole life, with traditional and unconventional materials - basically anything I could get my hands on. My whole family is involved and supportive of the arts, which makes it easy and nearly inevitable to be creative and make “stuff” all of the time. Why did you decide to be an art major? If not, what else do you study? I’m an art major with an art history minor. I am also a dancer. I have taken a dance class nearly every semester at Skidmore. I decided to be an art major because I was advised to study what I love as an undergraduate. In every job I’ve ever had, I’ve been 18

able to combine my love for working with people and teaching with art. It rarely feels like work because I am doing what I love to do. Do you have an artistic inspiration? I am definitely inspired by impressionist and neo-impressionist masters. After studying abroad in Paris, I gained a whole new appreciation for their work. In addition to Monet, Van Gogh, Degas and Renoir, I love the work of Gustav Klimt. His use of pattern and mark making is really beautiful. I am also inspired by a few contemporary artists, particularly Diana al-Hadid. Her work combines intense mark making and minimal color pallet to create beautiful drawings that reveal hidden architecture and figure forms. I am inspired by her paintings, drawings and sculptures. Have you ever had a moment of art-related failure? What was it like, and what did you learn from it? I have definitely gotten stuck in my artistic process. I had a solid three weeks of artistic self-deprecation and some really terrible drawings. Every time I tried to make a new piece I lost interest in the subject or I didn’t execute the rendering well and I was fairly


discouraged and stressed out. To get out of it I started mindlessly drawing flowers in a non-premeditated manner that luckily lead to the idea that I stuck with for the rest of the semester. It is not a great feeling to be stuck and uninspired. I learned that rather than wait for some gift of inspiration that may never come your way, making art of what you are interested in or what you like can help you out of a major rut. I also learned that I can be really hard on myself, which isn’t really fair. Artists have blocks all the time—it’s not just me. What was your proudest moment as an artist? My proudest moment as an artist was working with a little girl on a painting at Saratoga Paint & Sip. She was about eight years old. We were doing a painting of a Ferris wheel and she was struggling with the line work of the different chairs around the wheel. Even though she was trying to hide her frustration, I could tell that she was becoming discouraged and upset. As an art, we usually walk around the studio to briefly help anyone who has a question or is nervous to make their next step in their painting. Often the people that come into the studio have never painted before. “​Untitled 2015” etching ink, oil, charcoal, graphite and varnish on Mylar. Image courtesy of the artist.

I stepped off of my podium at the front of the studio and walked over to the little girl’s table. She had tears in her eyes when I sat down next to her. I asked her which part she was struggling with, and with my verbal guidance and encouraging words I was able to work with her through the rest of the painting. Once she got the hang of the technique she was totally capable of finishing the painting without any additional instruction. She was extremely proud of her final product, and her family was thankful for my extra attention and support for their daughter. It was rewarding to see her go from a point of frustration to the proudest artist in the room. You said you were looking at grad school. Talk a little bit about that process. What sort of study would you like to pursue? I am currently applying to Masters in Arts and Teaching (MAT) programs in hopes to become certified to teach pre-K-12 art education. I have always loved working with people, especially through art-making. Throughout my undergraduate experience at Skidmore, I have had internships and jobs that have provided me with the opportunity to work with people of all ages and art sophistications. Each experience I have with these various teaching positions motivates me more to pursue an art educator career. (Since the interview, Samantha has decided to attend Columbia University’s Teachers College for her MAT. -Ed.) What made you want to pursue a career in art education? The reason that motivates me the most is that art has the ability to change peoples’ lives. Throughout my high school and college years, I have learned that art not only provides us with a creative outlet, but it teaches us to how to look and understand things from new perspectives. Art education goes beyond simply teaching students various artistic techniques and takes education to another level. Every person deserves the opportunity to think and act creatively. I want to pursue a career in art education because I want to provide students with this opportunity to explore, discover and grow. ◘ 19


Images courtesy of Allison Gretchko 20


Lost in Translation by Daniel Kapp

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urking amidst the North Woods quietly and humbly, the water tower exists as the oldest and most honest gallery on the campus. The tower has been on campus longer than there has even been a campus; when Skidmore relocated, the water tower was already here, meaning it’s one of Skidmore’s oldest structures. The space is sprawled with years of student artwork, capturing a side of student culture that can’t be found elsewhere. Over the years, this has been the place where students can

freely express themselves – it’s out of sight from the administration and therefore out of mind too. With total anonymity as well, the water tower has nurtured student creativity in a way the actual galleries on campus cannot. By giving them the power to put artwork into the world on a really large scale, the space offers a voice to the unheard. As a space that can’t be juried or monitored, the oldest gallery on campus also has the truest student story to tell. ◘

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retroreflection by Monica Horowitz

It Was A Beautiful Job

Nicholas Krushenick was born in the Bronx in 1929. Regarding his birth, Krushenick once said, “Luckily enough my father actually brought me into the world. The doctor didn’t get there soon enough and my father did the operation himself; he tied the knot and the whole thing. When the doctor got there he said it was a beautiful job.” Krushenick’s father was a Ukrainian immigrant who worked as a carpenter (“a real contributor to the skyline of New York City”); his mother lived in upstate New York before moving to Europe then back again. Krushenick attended various public schools until he was seventeen, when he decided to drop out and join the

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Images courtesy of the Tang Museum

army. After serving two years and collecting his GI Bill, Krushenick enrolled in art school, studying first at the Art Students League, then at the Hans Hofmann School of Art. There, he learned alongside fellow painters Larry Rivers, Al Held, Gandy Brodie, Mike Goldberg, Wolf Kahn, and his brother John. It wasn’t until the late fifties, after he’d left Hofmann, that Krushenick began making the abstract paintings he became known for. Through the rest of the 20th century, Krushenick painted and showed in popular New York galleries. He taught as an art professor at the University of Maryland from 1977 to 1991. On February 5th, 1999 Nicholas Krushenick died at the age of 69. He died in his favorite place: New York.


Like I’m Out In Left Field All By Myself

The paintings on display at the Tang speak to Krushenick’s varied influences —“Electric Soup”, His paintings are marked by bold, bright colors, large, the show’s titular piece, uses loud colors and alluflat shapes, and consistent black outlines. Surfaces sions to comic aesthetics reminiscent of pop artist are smooth and even, often broken up by striped patRoy Lichtenstein (who Krushenick admired); in other terns. Although Krushenick is often paintings, like Battery Park or referred to as a pop artist, the look South Ferry rounded, overlapof his work is caught somewhere in ping shapes create an illusion of He creates a between many movements. “When completely foreign space, curling or curving movement, I first came on the scene in 1962 in evocative of optical art; vibrations a separate and the uptown galleries the Pop element created between alternating stripes strange world. started to pull me toward Pop,” he of color, namely in “Son of King said. “They were saying ‘yes, he’s a Kong” suggest op influences as Pop artist.’ And then the abstract expressionists who well. The composition of “Eyeliner” — one straight knew where my real roots came out of kept saying band splitting the canvas diagonally, a clean yellow ‘well now he’s really ours.’ And then people said ‘he’s a border, and two blue triangles that fill the canvas — little Op.’ And even the minimalists in a certain kind echo the use of simple shapes in minimalist painting. of way look at me and say ‘well he’s sort of minimal, Krushenick borrowed elements from his contemyou know…’ They don’t really know where to place poraries to make something of his own—energetic, me. Like I’m out in Left field all by myself. And that’s powerful, and highly abstract. Later, critics would call just where I want to stay.” it “pop abstraction.”

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Something That Was Not Recognizable Abstraction is at the center of Krushenick’s work. “Somehow I slowly went more and more abstract and it became a passion to get to the point where I could do something that was not recognizable...” he said, “There was a painting I did that was completely abstract. It was also one of the first paintings I had ever done where I thought for the first time I may have made an individual statement of my own.” Just as he himself didn’t want to be attached to any singular movement, the forms in Krushenick’s paintings cannot be attached to any referent in reality. One cannot look at a painting of his and find objects or familiar things. Even colors—each saturated and sweet—push against any natural scheme. He creates a completely foreign space, a separate and strange world. There is a feeling that Krushenick’s paintings cannot be touched. They are separate entities that cannot be rationalized and dragged into the environment outside them, which, as it turns out, is a very delightful thing. ◘ Oral history interview with Nicholas Krushenick, 1968 Mar. 7-14, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution 24

Images courtesy of the Tang Museum


Viewing the

Viewer

by Samuel Brown

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started working at the Tang Museum about a year ago as a gallery monitor. Save for a few excited children and rebellious adults, the job isn’t too demanding. Some people rush through the galleries at full speed, while others inspect the art at a leisurely pace. Many come in groups or on tours, and many more travel in solidarity. All the while, I remain planted in the corner, watching the room inhale and exhale visitors. I take special notice of these visitors when I monitor the more experimental exhibits at the Tang. Many seem to find joy, hilarity, and, most commonly, confusion when examining these pieces. The art rarely opens up to the viewer upon first glance, and if a visitor walks into an exhibit expecting to develop a solid interpretation of the work within the first minute, they will be sorely disappointed. It takes time and deep rumination to grasp the subtle nuances of any great work of art. This puts me in a perfect situation as a gallery monitor. Like the viewers who enter the Tang, I find myself exploring the walls with excitement and confusion, though I have the added advantage that comes with time. As the semester passes and I am given more and more hours at work, each exhibit inevitably opens itself up to me in a way that accords with my individual interpretation of the work. The art becomes something of an old friend with whom I can relax around when nobody occupies the gallery, and there comes a point

in every exhibition when the work of art sitting across from me becomes part of the usual surroundings. In other words, it becomes normal—the exact opposite of what these exciting forms of contemporary art are supposed to resemble. I am thus forced to wonder what happens when new, cutting edge art becomes old and familiar. This has been the fate and failure of many post-modern art pieces. Duchamp, for example, was able to shock the art world with a urinal, but after the genre he gave birth to became normalized in modern galleries, it lost this unusual shock-value. A statement made over and over again tends to become stale quickly. So, while walking through the Tang’s contemporary exhibits, I am forced to question: is this truly a new work of artistic genius, or just a shameless attempt at postmodern distress?

Before I go any further, I want to consider a recent exhibition in the Tang entitled I was a double. The vast, and seemingly fragmented, work on display presented itself as formidable to all those who entered the space. There seemed to be no recurring theme between pieces beyond sharing the same space. I initially wondered if the show was set up this way to highlight some form of absurdity and discontinuity in life. However, after spending weeks in the gallery I found this judgment to be unfulfilling. If the work had a deeper meaning, it would not reveal itself to me. So, on the brink of defeat, my attention turned away from it. Instead of watching the art, I decided to look towards the visitors exploring the space. 25


I found it hilarious when each visitor peered into the pool invite the viewers to relax at this middle point, space; nearly every face showed some form of shock– becoming part of the art itself. However, as is bound some in excitement, others in confusion. There would to happen in the viewing of any piece of art, the even be rare occasions in which someone would get viewer either gets bored or distracted and moves on, angry and storm out of the gallery to the more digestpushing from the center towards the outside, like a ible show upstairs. However, as I watched, I began to child born out into a strange and abstract world where notice something strange: I found everything is new. that about nine times out of ten, ...nearly every face the visitor would gravitate directly I experienced this phenomenon showed some towards the center of the exhibit when I first entered the gallery, but form of shock – some where a small blow up pool swirled it wasn’t until I watched others interin excitement, others around fine china that clacked act with the space that I was able to in confusion. together making beautiful bell grasp the exhibit’s unity. I began to sounds. It was a mesmerizing sight, see I was a double less as an exhibit so hypnotic that one could forget the other pieces on individual pieces of art, but instead on how we of art surrounding them. The benches beside the approach art in general. ◘

Image courtesy of the Tang 26


TIM LOK CHAN by Jack Mullin

Image courtesy of Catherine Heller

O

n a snowed in Thursday evening in February, the energy inside of the Arthur Zankel music center felt harsh and unrelenting echoing the weather outside. As musicians readied for upcoming shows, the ensemble rooms seemed to have revolving doors all night, and every change in personnel resulted in an entirely different set of musical perspectives and tastes. The music played varied from the simplest of jam sessions to a highly structured band rehearsal, all interspersed with these entrances and exits, which added to the shifting dynamic of the space. Out of the chaos of the night, a group of these musicians formed, including drummer Jason Block, keyboardist Graeme Gengras, vocalist, bassist, and guitarist Ethan Carpene, and guitarist Mike Stein, who were getting together as a part of their new project, Tim Lok Chan. These musicians, all of whom I have had the opportunity to play with, involve themselves heavily in

the music scene, a core part of the dedicated few who try to keep it active. From playing Sunday Jazz brunch in the Dining Hall to accompanying artists at Beatlemore, the members of Tim Lok Chan showcase the scope and the flexibility of what is possible for student organized groups on campus. What can start as a jam always has the potential to become something more, involving many more people than those with which it began. These collaborations take place on a regular basis, creating what the music scene is, or has come to be, at Skidmore. Listening to Tim Lok Chan play some of their music, it was interesting to note the sources from which the musicians drew. What I heard was an eclectic mix of R&B, Soul, Indie Rock, and Folk influences, which combined into a very laid back, groove oriented sound. Carpene’s saccharine vocals acted more like an instrument, ebbing and flowing to accompany the 27


music’s dynamics. During certain songs, it was easy to hear what each member brought to the table, as some portions were more keyboard heavy, or included a more beat oriented sound with minimal accompaniment. The most important aspect of the band’s sound to me, however, was the degree of improvisation within the music. Although the band does not necessarily classify themselves as jazz, Tim Lok Chan’s music shares many characteristics with the genre. Gengras and Stein show this influence, lending not only their melodic and harmonic ideas, but also this specific jazz-oriented approach to improvisation. Their musical flexibility melded well with the tight groove provided by Carpene and Block. As far as Tim Lok Chan’s process of writing and rehearsing, there is no defined leader of the group; whoever brings in a particular song has the responsibility of both teaching and directing it. I caught a glimpse of this process while sitting in on their rehearsal as they prepared a set for a show at Falstaff’s the week after. After playing through a few tunes, Graeme pulled up a beat on his computer and taught the chord progression to the rest of the band, in hopes of adding it to a song that needed more work. Soon, after everyone was on the same page, Jason started to play an accented hip-hop beat on the kit, over what Graeme was playing on the keys. Bass and guitar followed, adding embellishments to the laid back, Neo Soul vibe. After hearing the piece in its entirety, the section added interesting and satisfying changes.

closure for my musical development up to that point. I had first heard the song when I was a musically inexperienced middle school student. Now, as music plays a larger role in my life, I appreciate what that mixtape, and that song, represent. After playing through “Seahorse” maybe fifteen times over the course of the next few days, I felt locked in with the band, and was ready to perform. The show itself went off without a hitch. Tim Lok Chan played their set to a sizable crowd at Falstaff’s before I was asked to join them onstage for the last song. In between numbers, gimmicks were used to distract the audience from tuning and instrument changes. One of these interludes consisted of a friend coming up onstage dressed as a penguin, preceded by Mike Stein reciting a passage from the Bible’s Old Testament. The crowd responded well to this onstage banter, and everyone had a great time hearing the band’s music. Overall, in observing and playing with the members of Tim Lok Chan, I got a glimpse of how a Skidmore band works from the inside and outside. Playing with these musicians, I gained another perspective on the ever-changing music scene here, something I often forget to feel thankful for. In the end, spending time with Tim Lok Chan was an invaluable experience. ◘

After sitting in on this rehearsal, the band invited me to play bass on one of the cover songs they had picked to play during their gig at Falstaff’s the next week. To my surprise, I was glad to hear that I knew the song they wanted me to play: “Seahorse” by Devendra Banhart. I had first heard this tune on a mixtape, given to me by a friend almost six or seven years back. This mix CD, however, had no track names or artists listed, so I ended up calling the tune “Seahorse,” as that was the most prominent lyric during the song. Rehearsing and playing the song felt like a moment of Image courtesy of Catherine Heller 28


Image courtesy of the Tang Museum

An Informal Dialogue by Emily Manges

I

was a double encompassed viewers in a multi-sensory experience, yielding a dynamic and entrancing experience. Entering the exhibition space viewers were struck by a proliferation of vibrant hues saturating the room. Abstracted and bold graphics appeared to aesthetically unite an otherwise varied exhibition from Kay Rosen’s colossal wall painting, “Wanderful!”, to Regina Bogat’s diamond shaped “Fusaro”. Juxtaposing the hard-edged aesthetics, eerie echoing voices reminiscent of Latin choir music accompanied the artwork. The genius of the curators, Ian Berry and David Lang, was in exemplifying a profound dialogue between art and music and questioning the way we as viewers interact with artwork.

Ian Berry, the Dayton Director of the Tang, and David Lang, a world-renowned composer, sought to unify their areas of expertise in imagining I was a double through infusing the musical composition process into the artwork. In the Western classical music tradition, a two-part model is carried forth in which the composer writes the score that the musician performs. The score represents a set of rules for the musician to carry forth. Following the composers’ line of thought, Ian Berry and David Lang asked the participating artists to create a set of rules that would dictate the form of their artwork. Professional singers sang each of the artist’s rules through speakers hung next to each piece. The result was that the acoustical 29


Image courtesy of the Tang Museum

accompaniment unexpectedly mirrored the visual in experience. Standard exhibition protocol usually disits abstracted nature. The speakers were programmed plays a quiet space with limited accommodations for to ensure a random selection of musical scores to comfortable seating and little tolerance for anything never follow the same pattern. At but the utmost attentive behavior. any given time, the composition Instead of this usual sterile enviInstead of the usual was unique to that moment and ronment, I was a double opted sterile environment, would never repeat itself, amplifor another type of ambiance. I was a double fying the durational experience. With large sofa platforms taking opted for another The clanking of porcelain against up the entire center of the exhitype of ambiance. porcelain as dining vessels prebition space, made by Johanna cariously drifted around Celeste Jackson and Chris Johanson, Boursier-Mougenot’s inflatable viewers were encouraged to slow pool fused with the ethereal voices further heightened down, relax and fully experience the exhibition. For the integration of the visual with the audio. me, being allowed to sit on the artwork itself in an informal manner and enjoy the exhibition broke my The performative nature of the exhibition caused Ian insecurities about museum etiquette and enabled Berry and David Lang to question how one interme to soak up the intricacies of the dialogue between acts with artwork and create a new type of museum art and music. ◘ 30


Top Right: Allison Smith, Teeth, woodcut Top Left: Dipesh KC, Effervescence, digital collage Bottom: Jonathan Stricker, Untitled, photograph

LINE ART GALLERY

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Top: Madison Plummer, When Will You Fall, Where Would You Fly, woodcut Bottom: Isabel Goldstein, Winter’s Emergence, graphite and charcoal 32


Top Left: Katherine Melland, Lady Rosemary Fraustenhaar, etching Top Right: Jackson Bryant, New Supper, mixed media Middle Right: Allison Gretchko, Dead Sea, digital photograph Bottom Left: Madeleine Welsch, There’s No Place Like Home, mixed media

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Top: Chloe Silversmith, Untitled, photograph Bottom Left: Marion Cox, Self-Portrait, mixed media Middle Right: Catherine Headrick, Untitled, woodcut Bottom Right: Blythe Gurche, Blue Woman, oil on canvas 34


Line Art Review 2014-15  
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