Finding My Way Through My Through Line

I wish I could say that when I posted all of my blog posts in one day this semester (including a few several days past the deadline), it was the first time. I wish I could say with confidence that I know I will improve if I am given the same assignment next semester. Normally, I would say these things, but I said these things last semester and look where we are now. Last fall, in a different course I took with Dr. McCoy, we were given an almost identical assignment, except that there was not a mandatory deadline for the first blog post. Last semester, I managed to get only one blog post up in October, which was not followed until November when a group of my peers and I posted the traditional collaborative blog post. The last eight went up on the day of the deadline. This semester, I had told myself I would know what to expect—same professor, same classroom, similar assignment. Because of the mandatory first blog post deadline, I was able to get my first post of the semester up in February on the day of the deadline, I believe. Then, I mapped out the rest of my blog posts on Google Tasks to give myself concrete deadlines even though they were based on a floating one. I also opened drafts on the actual website rather than in a private Word document on my computer, which I do think helped somewhat. But evidently, something was still missing because for the second semester in a row, I did not post my final eight until the due date, and even then, I posted two of them past the deadline. This is quite unlike me. Continue reading “Finding My Way Through My Through Line”

Overcoming Symbolism

During Dr. Kim Vaz-Deville’s lecture last month, and during the breakfast myself and my colleagues shared with her the morning after her talk, we spoke a lot about the Baby Dolls, including their origins, and addressed a lot of issues that center around racism and injustices that continue to happen today. One thing Dr. Vaz-Deville said that I found especially interesting is that the fleur-de-lis was a brand used to mark runaway slaves, a Louisiana symbol of Black Oppression. Upon learning this, I immediately made a connection to a few of the pieces of art I had seen in my Renaissance English course with Dr. Samuel Fallon on world-making. Continue reading “Overcoming Symbolism”

Show, Don’t Tell

Towards the beginning of the semester, Dr. Joe Cope began our class period by passing out small pieces of fairly thick paper, and told us we should use them to create art cards. More formally known as artist trading cards (ATCs), this project helps us to realize the significance of creativity and the way we can use it to relate to and understand each other on a deeper level.

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Combining Communities

During one class this semester, we were given directions to ask each other about a term or a concept on which we would like some clarification. Within my small group, I asked about the term “both/and” since I feel like I hear it in class all the time, but it is said in so many different contexts that I hadn’t been able to pin down the meaning. Claire Corbeaux and Brittney Bennett helped me get some clarification on this term, telling me that it is generally used to describe something that can be labeled as either/or as well as both. While this definition initially seemed a bit too similar to the word itself, I used it to venture a guess that almost anything can be seen as a both/and because almost anything can be seen in any context. Continue reading “Combining Communities”

The Permanent Collection

A few months ago, our class had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Cynthia Hawkins-Owen in the Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery where she was able to give us a more comprehensive description and deeper understanding of everything that goes into running a gallery. I would venture that quite a few of us, including myself, were surprised at how much Dr. Hawkins-Owen does on a daily basis to bring together new and exciting exhibits!

In addition to teaching college classes, I believe Dr. Hawkins-Owen said that her job entails five primary responsibilities (each with a vast subset of other tasks), just a few of which are administration, curation, and maintaining the permanent collection. Getting out announcements, making and distributing posters, maintaining public relations, and keeping up with the online representations of the gallery and everything to do with it are all part of her administrative duties. In terms of curating, Dr. Hawkins-Owen must look for unique art and artists whose work she would like to display, she must communicate with the artists to gauge which of their pieces they actually want to show, attend meetings with the artists, their representatives, and others, help move art to and from the Gallery, go through each piece and record any damage or lack thereof, install each piece and take them down at the end of the exhibit, etc. The list goes on! I was simply shocked listening to Dr. Hawkins-Owen speak of the work she does, because so little of it is visible to us, the viewers, when we attend a gallery opening or go to admire these works. Continue reading “The Permanent Collection”

The Significance of Language

In early April, Dr. Catherine Adams led our class discussion with a dialogue grounded in the current local news at the time, most notably the blackface incident, the many ensuing letters published by the Lamron, and several other less discussed bias-related incidents that occurred all around campus at the time. She spoke of what we choose to see versus what we choose not to see versus what we are in a position to see. The most important takeaway I gathered from this conversation as well as the conversations that stemmed from a message from another professor that Dr. McCoy passed on to us after the fire at Notre Dame is that now, more than ever, we need to be especially conscientious of the language we use and how it may be perceived. Continue reading “The Significance of Language”

Living in Precarity

One of the courses I am taking this semester is entitled Precarity: The Deplorable and Invisible, taught by Dr. Elaine Cleeton and Dr. Michael Restivo (in Dr. Cleeton’s absence). A main focus of the course is how American Capitalism has been taken to such an extreme that it marginalizes many different groups of people, including Native Americans as well as the black community, to name just a few.

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Perspective and Light Rays

Weeks ago, during a fit of furious note taking, I quickly jotted down the phrases “sun trail” and “light rays” in the margin of my physics notebook, accompanied by a terrible sketch of a moon (I don’t know why it wasn’t of a sun given my note) and its reflection on a lake. If you’re wondering, yes, the sketch simply oozes the feeling of boredom, but that’s how it is when you’re hitting your head against a desk trying to understand reflection, refraction, mirrors, and lenses at 8:30 in the morning. When I finally looked back at this note, I was kicking myself for not making my drunken-in-a-sleep-deprived-kind-of-way-self more clear, but I suppose looking back, reflecting (no pun intended), and putting in a little work to find my way is what this class is all about. Continue reading “Perspective and Light Rays”

The Both/And of Expression Through Face and Body Language

During one of our class periods back in March (I know, it’s a throwback) led by Teaching Assistants Sabrina, Anderson, and Katie, my peers and I participated in the Sculptor/Clay exercise. As Katie led our reflection period towards the end of class, as memory serves me, she mentioned something about the importance of facial expressions in the exercise. Katie said that when she and Sabrina attended a conference over the summer, they participated in the Scuptor/Clay exercise with a small group of about twelve people, and Katie noticed that one of the “sculptors” in particular paid special attention to the facial expressions he had his “clay” wear. I found this especially interesting and I began to think about some of the other mediums in which the presence or the absence of facial expression is significant, such as Willow Tree® figurines, American Sign Language, the Baby Dolls, and, of course, Steve Prince’s art.

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ThinkING Aloud

Last week, Dr. Beth McCoy asked our class to share our first impressions of the course in small groups. I said that initially, I was just astounded that Steve Prince was coming to Geneseo at all, because I didn’t think that an up-and-comer artist would have the time to come to our school or the interest in teaching us. I suppose I wondered what our school, one that doesn’t even specialize in art, had to offer someone as talented as Steve Prince. I was very pleasantly surprised when I met Steve! I didn’t expect him to be so down-to-earth. He was so passionate about his art and involving all of us students in the process. I was really nervous about contributing to the Urban Garden, but the way Steve talked about the project to all of the students, he made us feel like no contribution to the project would be a “mistake” (in his words, “there is no such thing”), and his general attitude gave me and my peers the confidence to join in on the project! Continue reading “ThinkING Aloud”