Exhibition enhances gallery space, provides students opportunities to work on installation

January 10, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 9)
Article by Peg West

A new exhibition in the Calder Arts Center is showcasing inflatable painted structures while also enhancing use of space in the Padnos Student Gallery.

"Distant Viridian Crush" by Chicago-based guest artist Claire Ashley "mines the language of painterly abstraction, monumental sculpture, slapstick humor, and Pop Art to transform ordinary materials into inflatable painted sculptures," according to a description of the artwork.

The show runs from January 12-February 2, with an opening reception on January 12 from 5-7 p.m.

The exhibition also represents an opportunity to differently utilize the space that is generally reserved for student show proposals and coursework-related projects. Because those works naturally culminate later in the semester, the gallery space is usually empty at the beginning of the semester, said Dulcee Boehm, gallery director and curator of visual resources for the Visual and Media Arts Department.

Bringing in a professional artist who can also interact with students on different aspects of the exhibition provides a new learning opportunity while also staying true to the gallery's student-centered focus, Boehm said.

"During Claire's visit, students will have the opportunity to see her work unfold in the gallery in real time, plus students have been invited to help her in the installation process; larger-scale work like hers simply requires help from others," Boehm said. "Working directly with a professional artist is a unique opportunity for students, and provides them with a new professional connection."

Boehm noted Ashley's work relates to multiple areas of VMA as well as the university. For instance, Ashley has incorporated soundscapes within her installation-based works.

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This article was last edited on January 9, 2023 at 1:50 p.m.

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