Art-500 Students Furnish Sanctuary With Gold and Globes

In a remote corner of the Cochran Bird Sanctuary, red, yellow and green leaves cover two small globes suspended from a tree branch. Made of wooden strips, the piece allows viewers to attach paper ribbons covered with their handwritten wishes to the bottom of the globes. The sculpture was inspired by Rachel Hellmann and Jennifer Caine’s current installation at the Addison Gallery of American Art, and also the work of contemporary artist Andy Goldsworthy.

“I wanted to have these globes or spheres that let you look up into the sky and then the light shining through the leaves would look like stars in the daylight. And I wanted wishes to be a part of it, because that’s what I’m reminded of when I think of stars,” said Camilla Guo ’17, the artist behind the two sculptures.

Guo is one of the six students in the course Art-500: Advanced Studio Art who exhibited their work in the Sanctuary on Sunday. Rather than displaying two-dimensional art, the students utilized the Sanctuary’s natural elements to create installations and sculptures that interact with their natural surroundings. Therese Zemlin, Instructor of Art-500 and Chair in Art, said, “Out here [in the Sanctuary], the students can really work unconstrained. I think it’s also nice to get off-campus and get into a place that’s maybe a little more meditative, [into a place that] lends itself to a time of reflection.”

Adjacent to Guo’s work is a piece by Haley Tomaszewski ’16, which combines the natural world and modern technology. Her artwork is composed of a section of an uprooted tree impaled with man-made technological parts, such as wires and cords.

“[My piece is] a representation of how ecosystems and nature work,” said Tomaszewski. “I liked the idea of revealing something. I was looking for an uprooted tree on purpose, because you can use that to say there’s something in the ground that you can’t ordinarily see and [that] it’s being exposed.”

Situated in another area of the Sanctuary, Emma Kaufmann-LaDuc ’17 created an installation of a golden painted room. The room is outlined by beams and decorated with several golden objects, including a television, a blanket, a pillow, a stack of books and a pair of shoes. Interior design and architectural concepts inspired Kaufmann-LaDuc, helping her to blend outdoor and indoor characteristics into one cohesive space.

Kaufmann-LaDuc said, “The idea [for this piece] came pretty late in the game, but I am interested in architecture and interior design, so I used that idea to build an outdoor room. To make it not just a room, I decided to paint [everything in it] all one color [to make it] monochrome. Gold came to mind because it’s that in-between summer and fall time [color].”

Grace Limoncelli ’18, a visitor to the exhibit, said, “One of the things that I find most compelling about the exhibition is that you see the Sanctuary and its location out of context. Just like the artists were told to see a particular space or a particular tree out of context, now the visitor has to see everything around them out of context.”