Department of Art and Art History Graduate Students

John L. Warfield Center presents exhibition curated by Phillip Townsend

Wed. February 17, 2016

black and white photograph of alter with palm tree in background
Image courtesy.

The John L. Warfield Center for African & African American Studies presents an exhibition curated by Phillip A. Townsend (M.A. candidate in Art History). The exhibition, Light and Life: St. Louis Cemetery No.1 through the Lens of John Pinderhughes, will be on view through May 2016.

Adriana Corral (M.F.A. in Studio Art, 2013) selected as Artpace International Artist-in-Residence

Fri. January 29, 2016

woman in black top stands in front of greenery for photo
Photo by Vincent Valdez. Image courtesy.

Adriana Corral (M.F.A. in Studio Art, 2013) selected as one of Artpace's International Artists-in-Residence. The residency will take place January 18 – March 21, 2016 and the culminating exhibition will be on view March 17 – May 15.

Ryan Hawk (M.F.A. candidate in Studio Art) studies the Pitch Lake in La Brea, Trinidad

Thu. January 28, 2016

Ryan Hawk (M.F.A. candidate in Studio Art) received a traveling fellowship from his B.F.A. alma mater. Hawk discusses his practice in an interview in Big Red and Shiny and shares his experience during the trip below.


I am currently a 2016 Traveling Fellow which is an award given to alumni from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to support travel and research for the production of new work. For my Traveling Fellowship I am studying the Pitch Lake in La Brea, Trinidad of Trinidad and Tobago. I was originally interested in traveling to the Pitch Lake because I found that the natural pitch from the lake struck a direct visual resemblance to GAK Polymer, a material that I have been using in my studio for several years. After visiting the lake for the first time, my fascination has now grown to include the labor practices and industrialization of the asphalt from the lake as well as the mythology as prescribed by locals who live near the lake. Moving forward, I plan to engage the unique aesthetic and physical properties of the lake in my studio for the production of a new body of work that will include drawing, sculpture and a performance-based video installation. Below are some images from my first trip to the lake:

photograph of pump house in field by pitch lake
Image courtesy of Ryan Hawk.

Overview of Pitch Lake and a pump house. Water collects on the surface of the Pitch Lake during the rainy season and can get as deep as six feet in places. The pump house is necessary to remove water so that the plant can collect the dry pitch (asphalt).

image of foamy substance and gas coming off pitch lake
Image courtesy of Ryan Hawk.

This foam is some kind separation of natural gases which seems to be intensified by the running water—a geological process I am unfamiliar with at this time. It smelled very much like methane.

tar-like gooey substance moving over dry tar
Image courtesy of Ryan Hawk.

Wet pitch slowly moving across the 'dry' surface of the lake.

dark wet matter running over dark ground
Image courtesy of Ryan Hawk.

Locals describe the wet pitch moving under the dry surface much like 'veins' in a body. Here, a vein has surfaced and is 'gooping' out.

yellow and orange minerals mixing wiht black tar
Image courtesy of Ryan Hawk.

Another strange geological process—the pitch is made of several natural gases, minerals and oils. When it separates, gold-like residue forms. I imagine this is why the first Western colonialists referred to the pitch as "Black Gold".

woman floating in black water
Image courtesy of Ryan Hawk.

In the cracks and crevices of the lake, water pools are common during the rainy season. Because the lake is constantly moving underneath and off-gassing various natural gases, minerals, and oils, some water pools are good for bathing. This image shows a sulfur pool with amazing neon-green colored water. Locals prescribe healing properties to these pools and some bath on a daily basis!

ryanhawk.info

Article by Hannah Wong published in Fall 2015 issue of American Art Journal

Thu. January 7, 2016

white hexagonal and cube outline on green background
 

Hannah Wong, Ph.D. candidate in Art History, published her article, "Powering Portraiture: Francis Picabia's 291 Mechanomorphs Revived," in the fall 2015 issue of American Art Journal.

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