The McColl Center for Visual Arts
The McColl Center for Visual Arts was an opportunity to both look at work, and artists at work in their studio space. The first Vanish III, by Mary Tsiongas. This work is an LCD screen that is showing an older piece of art with a smaller animation that has been placed inside the painting. The screen was surrounded by a gold frame to preserve the idolized and significant essence of the original work. The painting is a forest scene painted in dark and neutral colors. It has this transcendental, romanticized feeling to it. It is dark and somewhat allegorical. This size and scale dominates over the person. The animation changes the painting and I think brings a new interpretation and message to it. At first the painting is dark and only the light of a flashlight shows parts of the painting. This to me represented human discovery, and exploration, something the rest of the exhibit seems to embody. It shows the curious side of our human nature. Then the person builds a fire, the act of settlement. He chops wood, leaving a footprint on the environment around him. The fire quickly gets out of hand and burns the forest and the painting. This destruction can be viewed as our negative impact on the environment. The cycle starts over again, representing a lifecycle from birth to death. It shows the passing of time, fitting in with the title of the exhibit, “All the Time in the World.”
The artists’ work that I was fascinated by was that of Brian Knepp and Natalie Andrew. Their work isn’t what you conventionally think of as art, however it is very intriguing. I think that they have done an great job in turning art into something that is meant to be interactive. Brian Knepp described that he was interested in how people react with his art, not only the people who are directly involved but those watching. His works are projections that change based on people walking across it or in front. He takes his inspiration from scientific and organic forms, modeled through equations. His wife, Natalie Andrew also was experimenting with small images of cells and giving them significance and importance through adding paint and glitter. She was investigating our reaction to creating art as a process of idolization. It gives something that very few people would understand or find meaning in, importance. Also her living sculptures of moss always have something changing. She negotiates the small scale by adding figures that inhabit the art, much like we occupy the space around Brian Knepp’s art. There were many artists with interesting and important goals and messages that they were trying to convey through their work, but I feel I was intrigued by these artists because of the way we as an audience are meant to interact with the pieces of art.
My visual response for the McColl Center is based from Mary Tsiongas's work Vanish III. I focused on the large tree in the background painting, using it as the main idea for my response. Trees represent a life cycle within nature, each spring they burst with life only to lose all their leaves and appear dead in the winter. Then they turn green again the following spring. I think that this life cycle, of birth to death, and resurrection can be seen in Vanish III as the fire destroys the painting and then it comes back again. I chose to realize this in my response by drawing a large tree in all of its stages.