Students studying Honors Ceramics and Honors Studio recently collaborated to present a new exhibit in the Warner Gallery, Within Nature. The exhibit details the students’ simultaneous but different explorations of the relationship between art and its environment.
The concept of the exhibit was inspired by Bill Hardy’s honors studio course. Students participating in this course began their studies in September through watching the film Rivers and Tides
, which outlines artist Andy Goldsworthy and his ephemeral sculptures made from elements of nature. This inspired them, as it reminded them that humanity is one with nature, and thus, they began exploring the intimate relationship with nature through art.
They embarked on their artistic journey by going into nature to listen and observe, and they captured this experience through a series of journal entries, which included drawings and written responses. What they realized through this observation process is that nature is every-changing, and that one has to be truly present to appreciate the abundance of detail that it has to offer.
Once their journal entries were complete, they engaged in a conversation about installing their own artworks within nature. Mr. Hardy designated a specific land plot for students to create and install their pieces, and after completion, the class returned to study and record the effects of time, weather, and shifting light on their art installations. The compilation of their works and observations is what is presented in the Within Nature exhibit.
Simultaneously to these exercises, students studying Honors Ceramics ventured to the Storm King Art Center, where they studied multiple artists’ works and how these pieces interacted with the environment in which they were installed. They also reflected on how the artworks engaged viewers, as well as why specific installation sites were chosen by the artists.
Students brought what they learned at the Storm King Art Center back to Millbrook, where they were then tasked with creating their own site-specific installations, which could be anywhere on campus, including indoors and outdoors. Students created detailed proposals outlining their thought process behind their installation area of choice and then created pieces that they felt would connect both physically and conceptually with their chosen site.
While there were differences between how each class studied art and its relationship with its installation environment, what Mr. Hardy, Mrs. Harris, and their students realized is that many of their reflections and final works had commonalities; and therefore, it was a natural progression for them to collaborate to present the Within Nature
The final product is a dynamic exhibit, which includes video, sound, photographs of the ceramic pieces, journal entries, and more. It tells the story of how these two classes, who focus on different mediums for artistic expression, realized the same deep connection between nature and themselves through an art-centered perspective. We invite you to join us at the Warner Gallery to enjoy the exhibit in-person or to view it via our online photo gallery