Jessica Ferrer is a senior Studio Art and English Double Major from Bartlett, Illinois.
Her Medium of Choice
Jessica first got involved in Studio Art in Ellen Sheffield’s Book Arts class. Her love of literature (and her English major) fueled her interest in books and paper. However, as she gained experience in the department, Jess has branched out, especially enjoying her video classes. Now, she enjoys manipulating textiles and window screens. Her current project involves manipulating a window screen to resemble lace.
Studio Art at Kenyon
At Kenyon, Jessica values the small size of the classes and the department. She notes that,“this year especially there has been a great sense of community among the studio art majors. And, of course, we get spoiled with studio space.” She enjoys the privacy of her studio; she finds that she is productive when left “to her own devices.” But she also likes having other studio art majors share the space, bouncing ideas off of one another as they work.
Jessica’s interest in fabric and other materials which “manipulate the body” has led her to explore Filipino styles of textile making. She explains: “I hadn’t really intended to explore and discuss my Filipino heritage and my background. That’s something that grew out of my interest in fabric and textiles first.” Her favorite contemporary artists include Ruth Asawa, whose wire sculptures inform her work with window screens, and Julie Mehretu, whose paintings display a frenetic and “architectural” quality which Jessica enjoys.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Bifurcation (2012) includes a small branch suspended from the ceiling. Behind the branch is a projection of the entire tree from where the branch came. Viewers are welcome to blow on the branch; as it moves, the projection of the tree orients itself in the same manner.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Bifurcation, 2012, computer, kinect, projector, metal, motor, arduino processor, fumigated wood
Amy Shirer ’18
It all started in 2005, when I picked up a copy of Chasing Vermeer, a young adult novel about three sleuthing teens trying to find a missing Vermeer painting. I quickly became obsessed – not just with the novel, but with the art – and devoured the sequel, The Wright 3 (about Frank Lloyd Wright), and the third (and final) in the series: The Calder Game. This, of course, focused on the late contemporary artist Alexander Calder. The 40th anniversary of his death recently passed, but his art is still known around the world as remarkably unique.
Born in 1898 to a portrait artist mother and a sculptor father, Calder quickly found a knack for sculpture, both in the media of wire, mobiles, and outdoor works, despite his parents’ urging to study mechanical engineering. This would help him with his larger works – some, like one hanging in the new East Building of the National Gallery of Art, weighs 920 pounds and is 76 feet long. Despite his early death in 1976, his wire sculptures (resembling Picasso’s drawings), mobiles (perfectly balanced!), and monuments (including a opera house ceiling) remain ingrained in today’s world.
The cover of The Calder Game by Blue Balliett, which features Calder’s The Eagle, 1971.
Untitled, Alexander Calder, 1976, National Gallery of Art.
‘Hi! (Two Acrobats) by Alexander Calder, c. 1928, brass wire and wood.
A collection of Calder’s works in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
De tre vingarna, Alexander Calder
Brady Furlich ’19
Airborne Projection – Relational Architecture 20 (2013) by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer includes two floor-mounted projectors that cast current news articles onto the gallery wall. News sources vary between local and international outlets, such as AP, AlterNet, and Notimex. When viewers walk in front of the projectors, their figure is displayed on the wall. Around them, the letters in the articles begin to swirl, and shadows that look like plumes of smoke emanate from the viewer’s body. As the action of the participant determines how the work reacts, Lozano-Hemmer suggests that we shape the news every day with our individual actions.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Airborne Projection – Relational Architecture 20, 2013, projectors, computers, surveillance cameras, custom-made software running Navier-Stokes equations
Amy Shirer ’18
In Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pan-Anthem (2014), hundreds of speakers are mounted on the gallery wall. Each speaker is labeled with a country, and the speakers can be arranged according to GDP, population, national military spending per capita, and the number of women in parliament, to name a few. When a viewer stands in front of a certain speaker, the national anthem of that country plays. At the Gund Gallery, the speakers are organized according to the number of guns per 100 residents; Timor-Leste has the least number of firearms, and the United States has the most. On an adjacent wall, more speakers are displayed, that represent countries that no longer exist, or might exist in the future.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pan-Anthem – Subsculpture 16 (Pan-Himno), 2014, speakers with built-in micro-sd card sound playback and amplification, power distribution battens, ultrasonic proximity sensors, LED screens
Amy Shirer ’18
My favorite artist is Colin Davidson, an Irish portrait painter who lives and works near Belfast, Northern Ireland. His unique style blends elements of impressionism and realism to create captivating works of art. I discovered Colin Davidson after seeing his portrait of Angela Merkel, commissioned by Time Magazine for a cover of one of their recent issues. This was a great introduction to Davidson because it perfectly encapsulated his signature use of his talent to portray politically significant figures. My favorite part of each work is his signature combination of blurred, low contrast outlines with sharply defined and clear eyes. Davidson’s work is all done fairly large scale, upwards of 120 x 110 cm, something that pushed me personally to work on larger and larger canvas as I began to paint portraits.
Lucy Irwin ’20