Tag Archive for Art and Art History Department

Shinohara Speaks about Contemporary Japanese Prints

In this video, Artist-in-Residence Keiji Shinohara introduces “A Late Christmas Gift: Contemporary Prints from Japan” at the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies on Feb. 1. The 46 prints in this exhibition represent a wide range of contemporary Japanese printmakers, from established artists to graduate students and includes works in all print media. Shinohara is an internationally known woodblock printer who has been at Wesleyan for almost 20 years.

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Gifts in Honor of Faculty Support Renovated Building Project

An anonymous donor provided the lead gift to name the new College of Letters library in honor of all COL faculty—those who taught in the past, those now teaching presently, and those who will join the COL faculty in the future.

The former Squash Courts Building located at 41 Wyllys Ave. on Wesleyan’s historic College Row has opened as the renovated home for Art History, the College of Letters and the Career Center.

Notably, several College of Letters and Art History alumni have provided gifts for the project to honor faculty members from their undergraduate days.

David Resnick ’81, P’13, joined by his wife Cathy Klema P’13, contributed the lead gift to name the Art History Wing in honor of John Paoletti, the William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus of the Humanities and Art History.

Resnick, now chairman of global financing advisory for the investment baking firm Rothschild Inc., was a European history major at Wesleyan, who earned an M.B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago. It was his Introduction to Art History course with Paoletti, he says “that really opened my eyes to art from a historical and sociological perspective.”

He recalls Paoletti as “passionate, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable,” and took further courses with him—20th Century Art History and Early Italian Renaissance Art. Later, he served as Paoletti’s teaching assistant for Introduction to Art History.

“The exposure to art and the ways to think about art

Telfair’s “Imaginary Landscapes” Debuts in New York Gallery

Tula Telfair's oil on canvas, "Built Exclusively for Delight," (2011) was one of 15 paintings featured in Telfair's Imaginary Landscapes exhibit.

Tula Telfair's oil on canvas, "Built Exclusively for Delight," (2011) was one of 15 paintings featured in Telfair's Out of Sight: Imaginary Landscapes exhibit.

Professor of Art Tula Telfair’s latest exhibition, Out of Sight: Imaginary Landscapes, opened at the Forum Gallery in New York, N.Y. on Jan. 5 to a packed crowd. The 15 large panoptic paintings shown in the exhibition, which ran through Feb. 11, depict majestic mountainous landscapes dominated by dramatic skies that reflect a broad range of locations and weather patterns.

As with Telfair’s past work, her landscapes are derived from memory and imagination. Telfair, director of Wesleyan’s Arts Studio Program, finds it fascinating when people tell her they can identify a particular location, since none actually exist.

“Since I have no idea when I begin what the final image will be, it feels like I’m exploring new territory when I start a painting, and that’s very exciting. Because I can easily copy images, I tended to lose interest in the process when I worked from observation,” she explains. But by painting from her imagination and memory, she is challenged intellectually, technically and emotionally. “Successfully painting an image that was not observed, but that viewers are convinced exists, is gratifying.”

Telfair works on many canvases simultaneously. She begins by mixing colors for the skies and starts painting each one intuitively.

Schorr to Exhibit Apothecary Bottle Paintings at Davison Art Center

Old Flames - Handle with Care (2010) by David Schorr.

The most recent work by Professor of Art David Schorr will be shown in February and March 2012 in the exhibition APOTHECARY (storehouse) at Davison Art Center. The show features more than 75 paintings of antique apothecary bottles that have been meticulously executed by Schorr in gouache and silverpoint on luxurious, colored Fabriano Roma papers.

The exhibit opens at noon, Feb. 3. Schorr will speak at 5:30 p.m. and the gallery will be open until 7 p.m. that day. Schorr also will speak at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Center for the Arts Hall.

A 160-page full-color catalog accompanies the exhibition.

The bottles in these paintings float curiously in space, a mysterious, bright light glistening on their curves and bevels, sometimes shimmering through but not revealing their contents. Some of the objects seem empty. The bottles are meant to contain not chemicals and unguents but stuff such as Bad Intentions, Furtive Glances, Old Flames, Lazy Afternoons,

5 Questions With . . . Joe Siry on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Religious Architecture

Joe Siry, professor of art.

This issue, we ask 5 Questions of Joseph Siry, chair and professor of art and art history. Professor Siry teaches classes about modern and American architectural and urban history. His book, Beth Sholom Synagogue: Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture, was published by the University of Chicago Press in December 2011.

Q: In your newly-published book, you provide an in-depth look at architect/designer Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Penn., which was constructed in 1959 and is considered one of his greatest masterpieces. What prompted you to write a book about this structure in particular?

A: I first saw Beth Sholom in 1980 and was hugely impressed with its main auditorium as a space for worship. Its design and construction toward the end of Wright’s long life was formally and technically unprecedented. It also represented a culmination of his involvement with religious architecture, so the book includes chapters on a number of his earlier related church and theater designs, going back to his original participation in the design of Chicago synagogues in the 1880s.

Q: The synagogue was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007. What makes this building unique and how does it compare or contrast to other Frank Lloyd Wright designs?

A: Beth Sholom is unique in its tetrahedral steel structure that creates a large main auditorium whose dome is almost entirely of translucent glass.  Wright had experimented with such an idea in earlier unbuilt projects, but Beth Sholom was his only synagogue and the largest free span that he ever realized, yet its seats on floors sloping toward the frontal platform create a communal space that developed from his earlier buildings for assembly.

Q: When did you begin writing this book, and how did you research the synagogue’s background? Also, who would find this book valuable?

A: I began research and writing for this book in 2003, and worked with materials in the synagogue’s archive, in Wright’s archive, and those of churches that he designed in Lakeland, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri,

Squash Building Renovation Nearly Complete

Wesleyan contractors put the finishing touches on the remodeled squash building and faculty are moving in. The new building will re-open as the Career Center, Art History Department and College of Letters. A grand opening ceremony will be held Feb. 24. Read more about the squash renovation in this October 2011 Wesleyan Connection story.

New windows on the exterior.

A new entrance, facing the Usdan University Center.

New classroom.

The Career Center lounge on Jan. 6.

Room 203 with an exposed beam.

The central stairwell.

The central stairwell, leading out towards Usdan.

A new hallway. Restrooms on the left. Offices on the right.

Room 302 is the future office of Professor of Art Joe Siry. It shares a window arch with Room 304 and faces North College.

The new Visual Resource Center on Jan. 9.

Faculty office on Jan. 23.

Classroom, Room 114.

Classroom, Room 115.

Room 111, a conference room on Jan. 6.

(Photos by Olivia Drake and Bill Tyner ’13)

Mark Authors Book on Jewish Communities in West Africa

Book by Peter Mark.

Peter Mark, professor of art history, is the co-author of the book The Forgotten Diaspora: Jewish Communities in West Africa and the Making of the Atlantic World, published by Cambridge University Press, 2011.

This study traces the history of early 17th-century Portuguese Sephardic traders who settled in two communities on Senegal’s Petite Côte. There, they lived as public Jews, under the spiritual guidance of a rabbi sent to them by the newly established Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. In Senegal, the Jews were protected from agents of the Inquisition by local Muslim rulers. The Petite Côte communities included several Jews of mixed Portuguese-African heritage as well as African wives, offspring, and servants. The blade weapons trade was an important part of their commercial activities. These merchants participated marginally in the slave trade but fully in the arms trade, illegally supplying West African markets with swords. The book not only discovers previously unknown Jewish communities but by doing so offers a reinterpretation of the dynamics and processes of identity construction throughout the Atlantic world.

More information on the book is online here.

“Artful Lunch” Offers Lecture, Gathering

Elizabeth Milroy, professor of art history, professor of American studies, professor of environmental studies, speaks about a lithograph created by Helen Frankenthaler. The piece is part of the Davison Art Center's collection and was the topic of an "Artful Lunch" Sept. 28.

For 15 minutes, Elizabeth Milroy, professor of art history, describes the life, artistic techniques and style of abstract expressionist painter and printmaker Helen Frankenthaler.

“Here, we see her thinking about framing and edging,” Milroy says, pointing at a lithograph in the Davison Art Center. “She emulates Chinese characters in this print. She bring out lusciousness in lithography.”

Friends of the Davison Art Center member Jean Shaw HON '11 enjoys the "Artful Lunch." Shaw is a former director of the Center for the Arts.

As part of the new series, “Artful Lunch,” faculty briefly speak about an artist, and display one example of the artist’s work from the Davison Art Center’s collection. The series is sponsored and hosted by the Friends of the Davison Art Center as part of the FDAC’s 50th Anniversary. Talks are open to FDAC members, Wesleyan students, staff and faculty.

Milroy presented Frankenthaler’s print titled A Slice of the Stone Itself on Sept. 28. The image was printed from two stones on French handmade paper at Universal Limited Art Editions in West Islip, N.Y. in 1969. The Davison Art Center purchased the print in 1980 with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and matching funds from the Friends of the Davison Art Center.

Milroy explained how Frankenthaler became known in the 1950s with her “stained” paintings on unprimed canvas. She later moved to lithography and ultimately woodcuts. Milroy visited Frankenthaler’s studio

With Bird Blind, Architecture Students Help Nature Lovers See

Wesleyan's faculty-student design collaborative North Studio created a bird-viewing structure inside a 700-acre nature preserve. The bird blind serves as a viewing platform, a resting station and shelter for visitors.

Lots of people like watching birds. Understandably, birds don’t always like people watching them.

For the Audubon Center at Bent of the River, a 700-acre nature preserve in Southbury, Conn., this presented a problem: the swallows and kingfishers along a popular trail were perpetually startled by human visitors. Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge and the 11 students in his Architecture II class devised a solution – a chic bird blind they designed and built from scratch.

The structure represents the third major design-build project for North Studio, a faculty-student design collaborative Huge founded in 2006 that is cultivating a niche in architectural design for nature preserves.

Previously, Huge and his North Studio students, who are as likely to major in sociology or German studies as in studio art, conceived and built an award-winning multi-level bird-viewing platform for an Audubon Society sanctuary in Portland, Conn. A subsequent iteration of the class designed and built a Sukkah, or temporary Jewish ritual structure, at Wesleyan.

Nature preserves work well as clients for North Studio, which tries to balance three objectives – producing design research,

Budding Architects Design Wildlife Viewing Station Under Huge’s Wing

Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art

Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge and 11 of his students have designed four proposals for a bird-viewing observatory for a 700-acre nature preserve in Southbury, Conn., and plan to build one by the end of April.

It is the third major design-build project for North Studio, the faculty-student design collaborative Huge established in 2006. The students are all members of his Architecture II class.

Previous North Studio projects have included a bird-viewing platform for an Audubon Society sanctuary in Portland, Conn., and a Sukkah, or temporary Jewish ritual structure, at Wesleyan.

Audubon wildlife sanctuary Bent of the River is expected to pick one of the four designs by the end of March to allow for April construction.

“Everyone involved in the studio – the students, the teaching apprentice, the instructor, the clients – are all working together to leverage individual talents and creativity,” says Huge, who returned to Wesleyan this semester from a sabbatical at The University of California-Berkeley. “The studio offers students an opportunity to engage a ‘real-world’ architectural project.”

Schiff Featured on “Where We Live”

A discussion with Jeffrey Schiff, professor of art, on his new art installation, “Double Vision: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society,” was recently featured on WNPR’s ‘Where We Live.‘ “Double Vision” is on view in Wesleyan’s Zilkha Gallery through Sunday, Feb. 27.

Schiff speaks about his exhibit, inspired by the writings of the American Philosophical Society -a group which included Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and other early American luminaries.

5 Questions With . . . Elijah Huge on Architecture

Assistant Professor of Art Elijah Huge is teaching architecture design studios, which are part of the Studio Arts Program curriculum.

This issue, we ask “5 Questions” of Elijah Huge, assistant professor of art. Huge returned to Wesleyan this fall after a sabbatical spent at the University of California-Berkeley. He teaches architecture.

Q: What’s your favorite building, or group of buildings, at Wesleyan, and why?

A: There are a number of outstanding buildings on campus, but my favorite group of buildings is the Center for the Arts, without question. The CFA is invested with a highly refined and clearly articulated architectural identity and reflects an amazing level of cultural ambition on the part of the university.  On the one hand, the buildings are of their moment within American 20th architectural history, but their unusual, even primitive use of solid, monolithic limestone blocks – a decidedly un-modern building material – is simply amazing.