H.G. Wells may have envisioned time travel, but it is Fort Lewis College students who are turning fiction into fact with their annual senior art show. Weapons of Mass Expression will open Monday in the FLC Art Gallery, giving Durangoans a glimpse of the future of art in America.
Come see what is possible for art tomorrow, gallery director Elizabeth Gand said.
We know what art is today and yesterday, but what is it going to look like tomorrow? she asked.
Gand, formerly a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, acted as an adviser to the seniors but had no role in the selection or hanging of artwork.
Instead, the 17 seniors produced the entire show from concept to consummation. Forming committees, they selected a theme, Weapons of Mass Expression, and picked artworks that best represented their goals for the final show.
Its been interesting to see some of the work thats been picked, said Paul Booth, a graphic design professor at FLC, supervised the seniors during a once-a-week class. Its a variety of all kinds of different stuff. Its going to be a fun show.
Its not just about (learning) how to produce art. (Its) about how they can learn to design and produce art that has a meaning for them and their voice.
Weapons of Mass Expression will showcase a variety of mediums and is described by Gand as adventurous. From graphic design to photography to mixed-media installation pieces, the seniors saw experimentation as their virtue.
Norman Duhon, a graphic design student, forsook his major and comfort zone. Instead, he will be showing an interactive installation piece.
Hes at that point where he just wants to create something different that has meaning to him, Booth said of Duhon.
Speaking of forsaking comfort zones, photographer Sydney Akagi traveled to Vietnam for her photo project. One of her images features a 16-year-old Hmong woman dressed in vibrant greens, reds and pinks, carrying her baby on the street.
When I first came to the school, I was mostly into the stuff I learned in high school a lot of drawing and painting, Akagi said.
But after four years at FLC and an internship at Open Shutter Gallery downtown, Akagi definitely expanded on my photography.
Ive definitely grown a lot as a person, and my art has grown with me, she said.
Its a very important piece of fashioning yourself into an artist, Gand said of the show. Theres an opportunity for students to be reflective of their practices in a bigger way. Its asking them to think about how they fit into the art world.
The small, close-knit art program at FLC attracts students from across the country. Akagi, originally from Alaska, chose the program for its small classes and one-on-one interaction with the professors. In a community with such a strong and well-defined art scene, Weapons of Mass Expression hopes to be a provocative change of pace.
We have amazing artists, Akagi said. I think people will really be impressed by what you can learn at a smaller school.
Food and beverages will be served at Mondays opening reception for Weapons of Mass Expression, but the students added a less-traditional twist to this gathering. Attendees bringing blank T-shirts can have the shows poster, designed by FLC senior Bryce Turner, silk-screened on them free.
Margaret Hedderman is a freelance writer based in Durango. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.