This Year's Juried Art Reception: Getting to know the artists

Posted by Gwendolyn Plummer

On Feb. 6, Skidmore's Schick Art Gallery unveiled this year's Juried Art Reception. Regarded as one of Schick's most exciting and highly anticipated events of the year, this year's gallery was no disappointment. Annually, a selection of art in every medium is presented to a prestigious guest juror. This year the role was fulfilled by Sanford Mirling, professor at Middlebury College and co-founder of Collar Works Art Space in Troy. Out of the 215 submissions that were presented before Mr. Mirling, 67 pieces were selected, nine of which were award winners.

Winnie Vaughan '14 is a studio art major and received the Schick Art Gallery award for her series of paintings centering on the role of the listener.

"Making and producing art has always felt like an extension of myself," Vaughan said. "Thinking about this role, I began to realize that no matter how well we know a person, our perception of someone will always be slightly different than someone else's because we are all unique and inherently experience the world differently."

In order to capture this sense of ambiguity and haziness, Winnie said she first photographed some friends as they spoke to her, a process during which many of them talked about personal issues and things that they had not shared with others. After taking photographs, Winnie then painted her interpretation of them. She said that she chose painting as her medium due to her long-standing love for it.

"I love how expressive [painting] can be, whether it is through brush stroke, color, composition or some combination of the three. Nothing is ever set in stone, either. For me, painting is all about building up layers and letting parts of it be transparent. I have always been inspired by human relationships and how we learn about ourselves through others," Vaughan said.

Kate Biel '15 is a studio art major and winner of the Renee Vandewater Award for her photograph entitled Lillian. She said she prefers photography as a medium for her own expression.

"Photography is exciting because it holds a reality effect that's powerful through manipulation," Biel said. "The medium itself holds a complex dichotomy between artistic influence and representation of life. [The winning photograph] came from a series of six that stemmed from my interest in dolls and how they represent our ideals and expectations of femininity - taken from a sinister standpoint."

Juror Sanford Mirling said that he did not understand the narrative put forward in her work, yet he kept attempting to and loved that.

"[I'm inspired by] reading, meditation, hiking, snippets of conversations with friends, the news, as well as artists themselves," Biel said.

 Another studio art major that was featured in the reception, Joe Klockowski '14, uses his art to focus on digital technology and the media age. Both of his pieces featured in the show, one oil painting and one digital media piece, centered on this idea.

"Both of these pieces were influenced by the same idea: interaction and experience, how digital technology is transforming the way we interact with and experience the world," Klockowski said. "I find the juxtaposition of these two experiences, the digital and the natural world, to be extremely interesting."

In particular, his painting interface combines these two inspirations by digitally interfering with a scene of nature.

"My goal is to create a visualization of the contemporary landscape, a landscape where people no longer intimately interact with nature but rather they interact with it through a digital interface such as digital photography or online images," Klockowski said, further stating that his work addresses the question, "What does it mean to interact in a digital culture?"   

One of the featured ceramic artists is studio art major Madeline Johnson '14. She stated that she prefers ceramics as her way of expressing herself.

"There is an immediacy and tactility to this medium which is so instantly satisfying and pleasing to work with," Johnson said. "I drew inspiration for my piece, Spheres, from all over the place - sea urchins, coral, microbes, architecture, aliens, fruits and Pac-Man."

Her art is, Johnson said, more often than not, unplanned in its beginning stages.

"That's the fun part, starting with an idea and then winding up with something completely different and discovering how unpredictable, unexpected, yet welcome these changes can be. Starting with Pac-Man and winding up with a ball of spikes is not something I could have predicted," Johnson said.

The gallery will remain up through March 16, open for the public to explore the works of these talented Skidmore students. 

The Left

Committee to Assess General Education Requirements