“The Crossing Over of Art & Science”

asf-2-magentaThe Oglethorpe University Museum of Art opens two new exhibitions this weekend: OPTIC CHIASM: The Crossing Over of Art & Science, presented in partnership with the inaugural Atlanta Science Festival, and BLIND/SIGHT: Conversations with the Visually Inspired.

OPTIC CHIASM - Irene K. Miller, Blink Again, 2013, monotype collage, framed 36x22

Irene K. Miller, Blink Again, 2013

OPTIC CHIASM explores the art of vision and science of sight, and includes art by Irene K. Miller, Kenn Kotara, Allan Eddy, Marcia R. Cohen, and Lisa Solomon, contemporary artists working in a variety of media, all of whom are inspired, influenced, driven and focused by and about issues of vision. Also on exhibit are the results of research in vision and optics by scientists affiliated with area institutions, including the Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center, Emory University, Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Regents University and Medical Center, and the Medical College of Georgia. Visitors also will have a chance to use a Camera Obscura and handheld pinhole cameras to learn more.

OPTIC CHIASM was organized by Nancy Lowe, director of Symbiosis Art + Science Alliance; Nicole Gerardo, assistant professor at Emory University, Department of Biology; and Elizabeth Peterson, director of OUMA.

Annie Maxwell, 60, blind from birth with no known cause. Photo by Billy Howard.

Annie Maxwell, 60, blind from birth with no known cause. Photo by Billy Howard.

BLIND/SIGHT, an exhibition created and organized by photographer Billy Howard and illustrator Laurie Shock, presents a collection of photographs of people with vision loss, a biography of each person including a description of their vision, and an interpretative illustration of what they see. This exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Center for the Visually Impaired and is made possible in part by CVI, VSA Arts Georgia, the Fulton County Arts Council, and Georgia Council for the Arts and the Grassroots Arts Program.

In partnership with the festival, OUMA will host three free events open to all:

  • Saturday, March 22, 12 noon-5 p.m. – Open House, with an introduction to the exhibition OPTIC CHIASM by the three co-curators at 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 26, 5:00-7:00 p.m. – Public Reception, with an introduction to the exhibition OPTIC CHIASM by the three co-curators
  • Wednesday, March 26, 7:00 p.m. – Following the public reception, two lectures will be presented: “Visions: A Look at Creativity and Disability” by Elizabeth Peterson, director of OUMA, followed by “Art-Science in America: Building Up STEAM” by Nancy Lowe, director of Symbiosis Art+Science Alliance

A Wednesday Lecture Series will complement the exhibitions.  Both exhibitions run through May 4, 2014.

OU Museum of Art Now Hosting Three New Exhibitions

Fernand Léger: Fétes de la faim or Feast of Hunger lithograph on display in the Oglethorpe Museum of Art

Fernand Léger: Fétes de la faim or Feast of Hunger lithograph on display in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

Life-long learners, students and art lovers should be sure to check out the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art’s three new exhibitions, now on view through December 8, 2013:

The 20th Century Modern Masters exhibition features more than 80 works by three of the 20th century’s modernist leaders. The lithographs, etchings and aquatints on display were inspired by collaborations or interpretations of major literary works by post WWII writers and poets. Each work on display introduces visitors to rhythmic beauty in function and form and gives insight into the artist’s thought process concerning life and literature.

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An artist’s rendition of Victor Hugo.

The French political activist Victor Hugo is best known for his books Les Miserables and Notre Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). His literature and discourse has since inspired many an artist to celebrate the life and abilities of this literary master. This exhibition is on display in the Center Gallery and features drawings, prints and sculptures by a variety of artists.Most notable among these artists are Jean-François Raffaëlli and Frederick Hendrik Kaemmerer, who were both students of Jean-Léon Gerôme.

Christmas comes early this year at OUMA with Haddon Sundblom’s Santa Paintings. Sundblom is responsible for the quintessential look of The Coca-Cola Company‘s seasonal Santa style, inspired by Clement Clarke Moore 1822 poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas“. His paintings of the jolly and plump Santa we know today were created between the 1930s and 1950s. Sundblom also is known for creating the “Quaker Man” for Quaker Oats and did work for Maxwell House, Colgate, Palmolive and Nabisco.

The Coca-Cola Company presents Haddon Sundblom's art.

Haddon Sundblom’s Santa, now on exhibit courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company.

A Wednesday Lecture Series also accompanies the exhibitions:

  • September 25, 7 p.m. “’Crommelynck’s Le Cocu Magnifique (The Magnificent Cuckold)’ illustrated by Picasso and Robert Andrew Parker,” by Dr. Jay Lutz, Professor of French, Oglethorpe University
  • October 2, 7 p.m. “Victor Hugo and French Romanticism” by Mr. John Daniel Tilford, Collections Manager, OU Museum of Art.
  • October 16, 7 p.m. “Léger, Le Corbusier, Italian Futurists, Machines, and the Dynamic City” by Dr. Jeffrey Collins, Assistant Professor of Art History, Oglethorpe University.
  • November 6, 7 p.m. “Léger’s Modernist Take on Rimbaud’s Illuminations” by Dr. Jay Lutz, Professor of French, Oglethorpe University.
  • November 20, 7 p.m. “Georges Braque Paintings and Prints” by Ms. Renée Maurer, Assistant Curator, The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.
  • December 4, 7 p.m. “Keeping Christmas: From Pagan to Puritan to Popular Culture” by Ms. Elizabeth Peterson, Director, OU Museum of Art.

View the first lecture,”The Right and Left Bank of Parisian Artists: The Bateau Lavoir and the Ruche,” by OU Professor of French Jay Lutz:

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. and closed Mondays and university holidays. General admission is $5; free admission for OUMA members, children under 12 and with a Petrel Pass. For more information, visit museum.oglethorpe.edu or call 404-364-8555.

Study Abroad Offers Transformation

Sophomore Emily Prichard traveled to London and Paris during the summer of 2013 as part of a short-term study abroad trip, led by Dr. Jeffrey Collins and Professor Loehle. Students explored and studied these cities as the settings for artistic and architectural revolutions. Here are some of Emily’s experiences in her own words.

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Emily in the Sainte-Chapelle cathedral in Paris.

This trip to London and Paris compounded my passion for art; I can’t think of a career for myself that doesn’t involve art. This was partly inspired by the atmosphere of purity and wonder that art can offer; art, in all its forms seemed to transform its environment into a sacred, treasured space.

One of the best examples of this transformation was Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, France. The entire second story of the cathedral was floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows. Even though I had prepared a report on this cathedral, I was still incredibly blown away by the atmosphere, how the colors and light transformed a relatively tiny cathedral. With sunlight shining through the window panes, it felt as though the cathedral was a divine, living painting that the group had the privilege of experiencing from the inside: in a way, it felt like our tour group was literally inside the scene of a painting, only to realize it for a living organism. To personally see the mastery of detail involved to create each tiny scene was the equivalent to standing next to an expansive ocean: it gave one the feeling of not only being extremely small in comparison, but being somehow connected just by recognizing the true beauty and purity of the object. Sainte-Chapelle held beauty, purity, and color that can only be truly understood if experienced; even all of the research prior to Paris had not quite prepared me (or the rest of the group) for the atmosphere of the cathedral.

Emily Prichard 4

Dr. Collins (right) talks to students about Cezanne at the Courtauld Gallery in London.

One of my most favorite museums out of the entire trip was the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, France. Focusing entirely on ancient and oceanic artifacts, this museum invoked a sense of wonder and mystery in the same way that Sainte-Chapelle invoked beauty and purity. My favorite aspect of the museum is the fact that these artifacts are so appreciated, even though archeologists still don’t know the meaning or purpose behind several of the objects. Therefore, the objects give off an air of mystery, inviting the viewer to wonder, to imagine themselves several thousand years ago, crafting what they see in the present. I was personally struck by the eerie feeling of a few; it felt as though these pieces were intended for rituals, or for people (or spirits) of great power, that we were somehow intruding. This museum felt like a giant time capsule, the modern design failing to exhaust a feeling of stepping back into a lost era. While Sainte-Chapelle helped me to rediscover the purity of art, Quai Branly helped to create the idea of art sometimes becoming a separate entity all its own, significance defined by the synesthesia of the viewer.

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A scene from the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.

Another important impact of this trip was realizing the general appreciation that Europe and the United Kingdom seem to have for art. The crowds in each museum and cathedral were VERY different than American museums/historic places. The average American seems to care less about the meaning or purpose of the piece; unless somewhat studied in art, they see museums as places for their amusement on rainy days. In Paris and London, the people treated museums as places of learning and interest, and were generally somewhat knowledgeable about what they were looking at. For example, nearly every museum had a group of schoolchildren touring; they were not rowdy, but actually listened to and absorbed the lectures. I loved this culture shock because it showcased the idea of using free museums as a means of education, for schoolchildren and adults alike. The museums were treated with respect, and the viewers seemed to have actually learned something by the time they left. This cultural difference gave me hope, that fine art can be appreciated and valued even in an age of technology and digital media.

Not coincidentally, Emily just recently changed her major to Studio Art, with a minor in Art History.

Part III: Study Abroad Creates ‘Momentum’

This summer’s short term, for-credit trip to Greece made an enormous impact on the students who participated. Following up on the original post by Dr. Jeffrey Collins, we now hear from three of those students, in their own words. [Read Part II: An Odyssey of Learning, Part IV: An Oglethorpe Journey.]

After seven hotels, five ferry ridKatherine Law 2es, four chartered buses, a few terrifying cab rides, a couple donkey rides up some cliffs, and a cable car to the highest point in Athens—I was back home in Atlanta.

After this trip to Greece, my biggest fear was losing momentum. It blows my mind how much we moved, literally from the mainland to the islands and back again. I knew I would be okay with coming back home because I know it’s a totally different feeling after these trips. You come back motivated and inspired, determined to not slow down. The longing I felt was for full days, long tiring days of seeing and doing everything I possible can. Time spent exploring the landscape, the people, and myself.

Greece was not an escape, a break from reality, or a vacation. I can say now, it’s an experience I can always look back on and carry with me. I made it to Greece this summer with Dr. Collins and Professor Loehle because of the incredible journey we took to Italy last summer. I feel alive and determined when I get back from these trips—an absolutely priceless souvenir, if you ask me.Katherine Law 3

Greece is the center, the cradle of western civilization, and my two feet got to walk all over it. The sea, the land, the people, the food, the ruins, the aromas, the aesthetics…we soaked it all up. I was discovering new parts of myself in this Grecian context, and based on my experience last summer after Italy, I could trust myself to bring these new self realizations back home with me.

I am so in love with my time spent in Italy and now Greece. As a May ’13 grad, I head into an unknown future with my time in Greece fresh on my sleeve. Being part of such a positive collection of professors, students and mentors was comforting, inspiring and irreplaceable. We were being led but also pushed—pushed to take steps out of our comfort zones and embrace the unfamiliar. Professor Loehle and Dr. Collins pushed us, led us, and questioned us for ouKatherine Law 1r own opinions. We need more people like them in the world. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel the world with those two and build foundations for our life-long friendships.

And with my undergrad education now at an end, I can confidently say my OU short term study abroad trips are now the backbone of my liberal arts education from Oglethorpe University. Everything I learned in the classroom and abroad have come full circle. And I feel I have truly earned the right to march into my future confident and humbled, determined and centered. I have so much to give and now, after Greece, even more to share.

A studio art major, Katherine Law graduated in May 2013.