Thursday, March 31, 2011

What are they teaching kids these days?

"What are they teaching kids these days?"  This is usually a derogatory question, but after visiting the Senior Art Exhibition of Megan Prosper at Belhaven University I ask this question with a little envy and a lot of excitement.  The sheer ambition of the work I have seen coming out of Belhaven students lately is impressive enough, but it isn't limited to that.  There is a remarkable development of concept being shown, along with that long forgotten aspect of technical skill.  For years, art schools have stopped stressing the importance of traditional drawing, painting and sculpting, or have put such an emphasis on these traditions that concept and creativity suffer for it.  From what I have seen, few schools have successfully integrated the two to the degree that Belhaven has.  But beyond the training lies the true secret to their success.  They are providing students with the two things that an artist most needs to create work... time and space.  Typically, students are overloaded with projects that they must complete in their dorm rooms.  Belhaven students are given their own, though modest in size, studio just up stairs from their classes.  This seems to be a real source of pride for the students.  In Megan's exhibition she actually allowed her studio to be absorbed into her artwork.  The studio space was physically reinstalled in the gallery space.  The show is made up of a series of installations inspired by the world travels of the artist put together with exquisite detail.  The show is at the same time worldly and religious, broad and intimate, inviting  and personal.  Unfortunately, Friday may be the last day to see it in its current state, but try to go if you can.  It can open up new worlds to you. 


detail of Vessel

detail of Vessel


detail of Nomad

detail of Gathering


detail of Altar


East Wall

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