A picture and a thousand words

Newly-renovated Eli Marsh Gallery shows off art by 10 Five College faculty members

On display in the newly renovated Eli Marsh gallery in Fayerweather Hall, “Five by Ten” features the work of 10 five-college studio art professors.

Included in the display are works by Amherst’s own Professor of Fine Arts Robert Sweeney and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts DeWitt Godfrey, as well as Professors Thom Haxo and Mariangeles Soto-Diaz from Hampshire College, Marion Miller and Joe Smith from Mount Holyoke College, Roger Boyce and Katy Schneider from Smith College and Michael Coblyn and Trevor Richardson from UMass.

Each professor whose work is displayed teaches in the Five College advanced drawing seminar. “This seminar is designed to provide an intensive advanced-level experience,” said Sweeney. “Team-taught by studio faculty from each of the Five Colleges, classes are held on a rotating basis on all five campuses. Students are responsible for pursuing their work through individual thematic development in varied drawing media throughout the semester … I am told by Five Colleges, Inc. [the corporation which oversees the Five College consortium] that this is the only course of its kind that is taught in the country.”

The course is being coordinated by Miller of Mount Holyoke College. A display of student work from the class will open Dec. 5 in the Eli Marsh Gallery.

The majority of the works displayed are paintings, such as Miller’s “Red Scarf” and Schneider’s “Self Portrait with Olive and Mae and Patterned Shirt.” Two sculptures are also featured, as are a sketch and a work in “canvas and spices.”

“The faculty work in the Gallery represents a wide variety of approaches to constructing visual images,” said Sweeney. “The fact that the 20 students in the seminar work with all 10 of these artists provides a rich and challenging experience.”

“The pieces on the display in the exhibit are, as far as I know, a random sampling of the ways in which each of the participating faculty express their ideas visually-the choice of works was anything but systematic,” said Richardson, director of the Herter Gallery at UMass. “I chose to include a piece, ‘Portable History of the World,’ that embraced my principal concerns as an artist-drawing and object making.”

“Portable History of the World” is a yellow pine case, approximately 2 feet by 4 feet which features pencil drawings of natural forms and man-made objects in small windows, with a legend identifying each sketch on the outer case.

Also on display is Godfrey’s “Drawing of ‘Europos’ Sculpture,” a large systematic plan on graph paper for Godfrey’s project at the “2002 International Sculpture Symposium,” held this past summer at Europos Parkas in Vilnius, Latvia.

The exhibit is on display until Nov. 15.

Mead Art Museum exhibits feature twentieth century sculpture, photography

Mead Art Museum exhibits feature twentieth century sculpture, photography

Believe it or not, there’s more to the east side of the quad than James and Stearns. Tucked away behind the two infamous dorms is one of the College’s hidden treasures, the Mead Art Museum, which has an extensive standing collection as well and now features two impressive temporary exhibits.

The Mead’s latest exhibition, “Assembly/Line: Works by Twentieth-Century Sculptors” features a series of sculptures by Alexander “Sandy” Calder, an American sculptor, born into an artistic family, who was active in the mid- to late-20th century, as well as many other sculptors.

The works are drawn both from the museum’s permanent collection and from the private collection of Thomas P. Whitney ’37, a friend of Calder’s. The works by Calder span much of the artist’s career. Other artists displayed include Ilya Bolotowsky, Joseph Cornell, Henry Moore and Richard Stankiewicz and currently active sculptors Heide Fasnacht, Sol LeWitt, Helen Evans Ramsaran, Peter Reginato, Frank Stella and Timothy Woodman.

Two of Calder’s bronze sculptures, “The Snag” and “The Handstand,” display his adept ability in capturing motion in still works. Calder was also an early pioneer of mobiles, constructing them as early as 1930, before the term was coined. “Untitled (The Andi Shiltz Mobile)” hangs from the ceiling of the gallery. In contrast, “Shiva (Maquette),” one of Calder’s so-called “stables,” cut sheet metal fused into animal or natural forms and shows Calder’s range as an artist.

The showpiece of the exhibition is “Nine Part Modular Cube,” from Sol LeWitt’s series “Cube Structures Based in Nine Modules,” part of the Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition explains some of LeWitt’s inspiration for the nine-by-nine-by-nine balsa wood cube citing LeWitt’s notes on the series.

“The most interesting characteristic of the cube is that it is relatively uninteresting,” he wrote. “Compared to any other three dimensional form, the cube lacks any aggressive force, implies no motion and is least emotive. Therefore, it is the best form to use as a basic unit for any more elaborate function, the grammatical device from with the work may proceed.”

Also on display at the Mead is “An American in Europe: The Photography Collection of the Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim,” a traveling exhibition produced by the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The exhibit features prints of photographs by Lucia Moholy, Kattina Both, Lotte Jacobi, Sigmar Polke Bernd and Hilla Becher, and other French and German photographers.

Both exhibits are on display until Dec. 18.