Artists take an organic approach to art in “New Residue” exhibit

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By: Kolton Gammie

Between hosting numerous galleries and arranging the many art experiences they provide, Boise State’s Department of Art is always diligently looking for ways to bring attention to student, local and other artists. So when the opportunity arose to have two traveling artists organize an installation at Boise State, Kirsten Furlong, gallery director, jumped at the chance.

The “New Residue” exhibit held its opening reception the evening of  Jan. 26. With only one week to build the installation, artists Jon Swindler and Michael McFalls enlisted the assistance of students from ART 473, Studio in Interdisciplinary Practice. With the visiting artists’ guidance, the group worked diligently to create the experience that currently stands in room 170 of the Liberal Arts building.

The artists approached the creation of this piece a little differently than one may expect. Rather than attempt to convey a specific message, they attempted to use new or repurposed materials and allow the natural formation of the installation determine its suggestions.

“It’s not that novel, but I think compared to what students are sometimes trained to do in art school, it’s a little novel,” Mcfalls said. “The academic setting is asking for intentionality—we are asking for the opposite.”

Students were asked to perform various tasks, such as painting large wooden posts or taping together repurposed prints to make a sort of paper quilt. They were told to do so without worrying too much about the end result.

“I think the best part of it is how free all the actions are,” said senior interdisciplinary art major Breann Urlaub. “In a lot of my classes we have to think every action through very strategically, whereas with this project, we really have an open rein.”

Although parts of the installation are recycled works from generous donors—including the visiting artists—they have been gently altered to create an entirely new piece. Old prints and paintings are torn and formed into lovely colored fencing. Other works are similarly repurposed to fit the overall presentation while new materials were gathered by the visiting artists upon their arrival in Boise.

“This will never be recreated,” Swindler said. “The traditional academic model is that you make something, it goes into a museum or collection and it lives forever. Neither Mike nor I, at least in our collaborations, are interested in that.”

After the installation’s viewing period has ended, the pieces that were borrowed will be returned to their respective owners, even in their newly-taken forms. Once the installation has been taken down, the experience will come to a total end.

The installation will remain open for public viewing until March 16, with open hours Monday through Thursday at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, and Friday, 10 2 p.m.


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