Students impress with Conkling’s newest exhibits

Lidia Vassar
Staff Writer

The Conkling Gallery in Nelson Hall is currently showing a number of sculptures by students. Keep an eye out for it while in the area, it’s hard to miss! 

When you walk in you’re welcomed by some pieces that use wood as a medium. They have a very familiar feel to them, like you’d find them at your grandma’s. Some incorporate pieces of fabric textiles, which just add to the homely aesthetic.

The sculptures all play on space and perspective, with one angle giving you a much different picture than another. Walking around the room and looking at the pieces from a variety of directions is more rewarding than any still photograph of the sculptures could be. 

The variety between sculptures was really fantastic, with no two students making similar pieces. Contrasting the wooden sculptures were some three-dimensional multicolored foam pieces, displayed on the wall. The texture looked very touchable (don’t worry, I didn’t), and the pieces flowed with gravity, stretching down the wall. 

Taking advantage of the space you’re given and using it in ways that highlight your work are very important things to consider when creating art, especially if it’s going to inhabit a 3D space.

Space not only has to do with the materials and their volume, it has to do with the voids between the components. One of the sculptures, made of wood pieces cut to the shape of countries, showcased snapshots of the histories while using space in a way that alluded to the shape of a globe while maintaining a more two-dimensional puzzle form. 

Color and texture can alter the way shape and space are perceived. There were sculptures that used tires (presumably car tires) as a medium. The grooves in the rubber added a direction to the movement of the piece, despite it being static. The silhouette, too, was dynamic.

On the other side of the room is a piece that is very bright, but feels very set in place and stable in its environment. Constructed with textured white columns, it holds a variety of fantastically colored fixtures. A multicolored frozen ooze, maybe a plaster of sorts, held up by wire.

Rainbow watermelon forming a carefree arch. Vibrant strings with geode-looking suspensions. The variation within the sculptures in this exhibit makes it that much more fun. 

The process of constructing sculptures like these seems, to me at least, to be a fun exercise in additive (or maybe subtractive at times) art. Of course, stick a deadline on anything and it becomes that much more painful. If I had all the time in the world I’m sure this article would do the sculptures more justice. 

Seeing all these works of art really made me want to join the sculpture course. Executing creative ideas in a way that communicates with other people is no small feat, but when you’re moved by something I think you naturally want to try your hand at it.

Maybe in a future semester. If you’re someone who is similarly pulled to artwork, make sure to stop by the Conkling Gallery for a fun little journey into other people’s minds.

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