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Paper + People is a blog about the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection of over 18,000 prints, drawings, and photographs. Here you will find a diverse array of posts written by museum staff, students, scholars, and other paper enthusiasts about anything pertaining to the collection.

Any works you see featured here are available to view by appointment.

  • Thursday, November 3, 2016

    STUDENT PICKS: Surreal Reality

    Student Picks is a SCMA program in which Smith students organize their own one-day art show using our collection of works on paper. This month’s student curator and guest blogger Sifan Jiang '18 discusses her show "Surreal Reality: The Eye of the Beholder " which will be on view FRIDAY, November 4 from 12-4 PM in the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. We hope to see you there!

    Guillermo Kuitca. Argentine, born 1951. Doble Teatro, 1997. Lithograph and etching printed in black on paper. Gift of Angela K. Westwater, class of 1964.

    What is a tree? What do you see when look at the moon? How are the buildings arranged? You may observe these mundane phenomena every day, perhaps when you gaze from your window or perhaps on your way to class, but you might not think much about them. You have probably developed a standard way of perceiving these commonplace objects, and that standard is rarely challenged. However, are these perceptions a genuine depiction of the reality?

    What might seem like an ordinary tree to one can be an illusion made up of hundreds of human minds. The perception of one can appear very peculiar to another, while the true reality can be something else altogether – perhaps something that appears surreal. Where then should one draw the line between reality and illusion?

    Pete Turner. American, born 1934.  Ibiza Woman, from the portfolio Selected Color Images, 1960 negative; 2003 print. C-Print. Gift of Nicole Shearman, class of 1987, and Nicholas Fluehr.

    In this exhibition, a variety of art is selected without restriction to any historic periods, styles, techniques, or cultures, but with the common motif of breaking down reality into pieces to manifest a new and surreal space from the fragments. These art works represent the artists’ attempts to construct reality in their distinctive flavors and find beauty in the seemingly illogical chaos of the surreal space. They seek to explore the connection and the boundary between reality and illusion.

    Sekino Jun'ichiro. Japanese, 1912-1988. Karadera, 1972. Woodcut printed in eight colors on medium thick, moderately textured, cream-colored paper. Gift of Lucio and Joan Noto.

    These artworks are not completely abstracted, but neither are they fully realistic visual representations of the world. They are of a distinct kind: locally, each component has its own canonical meaning and is easy to connect to perceived reality, but holistically, these works are an unrealistic portrayal of fragmented reality. Their contents and meanings can be challenging to define – to some perhaps the only possible interpretation is from their visceral reaction or subconscious feeling. Like the local component, everyone has his or her own way of interpreting the reality. Piece together these individual perceptions and the result is a surreal chaotic reality. However, like each artist represented in this exhibition has done, one can find beauty in this pieced-together world. The beauty of this world, then, truly lies in the eyes of the beholders.

     

    Nancy Goldring. American, born 1945. Untitled (Photo Projection/Ocular Proof), 2000. Cibachrome. Bequest of Leo Steinberg.

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  • Thursday, October 6, 2016

    STUDENT PICKS: Nearing the Tipping Point

    Student Picks is a SCMA program in which Smith students organize their own one-day art show using our collection of works on paper. This month’s student curator and guest blogger Ellen Sulser '18 discusses her show "Nearing the Tipping Point: Artistic Exploration of Environmental Issues" which will be on view FRIDAY, October 7 from 12-4 PM in the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. We hope to see you there!

    Mel Chin. American, born 1951. Revival Ramp, 1996. Hard-ground etching, soft-ground etching, engraving, photo etching and lithograph on cream-colored Asian paper. Purchased with the gift of the Fred Bergfors and Margaret Sandberg Foundation.

    T­­hroughout the 20th century, art and science have been considered at odds with each other, each trying to embody opposite ends of the human experience, object and subjectivity. This divide is, however, a harmful and false dichotomy. By separating facts from their original emotional context scientists rob their data and stories of a powerful narrative. I hope through this exhibit to better understand what artistic expression has to offer scientists in facilitating intuitive understanding of complex problems.

     

    Elizabeth Delson. American, 1932-2005. Blue Lagoon, 1982. Color viscosity etching on paper. Gift of Sidney L. Delson in memory of the artist, Elizabeth Delson, class of 1954.

    Art is a way of evoking an emotional response to a specific representation of reality. By depicting and critiquing the effects of human activity on the environment, and our futile attempts to cage and control nature, the pieces in this exhibit present a compelling argument for sustainability and environmental reconciliation.  By presenting environmental issues within a visual narrative, there artists break down the barriers between ecological disaster and aesthetic appreciation in a way that forces the viewer to confront their complacency in the pollution. Regardless if the image depicts nuclear fallout, algal blooms, food security or sea level rise, these pieces provide an instantaneous connection to the people and places directly impacted. 

    Patrick Nagatani. American, born 1945. Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Nuclear Crossroads, U.S. 285, 60, 54, Vaughn, New Mexico, 1989. Ilfocolor print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar.

    Huma Mulji. Pakistani, born 1970. Untitled with Goats from the series Sirf Tum, 2004. Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photorag paper. Gift of Friedman Benda LLC.

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  • Friday, September 30, 2016

    Announcing the Student Picks 2016-17 Winners!

    The Student Picks Sweepstakes ended last week, and we have our six winners!

    Student Picks gives students the chance to curate their own personal, individual art show using works from the Museum, on view for one day in the Cunningham Center for Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Six lucky students are chosen by lottery as part of a campus-wide sweepstakes that takes place each September.

    Photography by Jess Berube

    We picked three winners and an alternate each from the paper and online ballots. 

    This year’s Student Picks winners are ...

    Laura Grant '17

    Sophie Lei '20

    Sifan Jiang '18

    Annie Titan '20

    Julia Xu '19

    Chloe Hou '20

    Congratulations to the winners! And come see our first show (curated by Ellen Sulser '17, chosen last year) on October 7th!

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