For the first time, the von Auersperg Gallery is hosting a student art exhibition, comprised of work from students both inside and out of the arts program. “Interpretations: Student Exhibition” opened for display on April 2, and will remain open until May 1.
The common thread for the students creating works for this gallery display was to build off of Deerfield’s permanent art collection and to derive inspiration from the architecture around Deerfield’s campus. The exhibit was curated by Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair Ms. Lydia Hemphill and Studio Art teacher Mrs. Mercedes Taylor. For years, Ms. Hemphill and Mrs. Taylor have devoted themselves to the von Auersperg Gallery, significantly contributing to the gallery’s success.
Ms. Hemphill and Mrs. Taylor elected to defer the selection of an artistic theme for this student exhibit to the Visual and Performing Arts Department (VPA); the department chose to focus on exhibiting artwork created in response to Deerfield’s permanent art collection.
Studio Art teacher Mr. David Dickinson explained how he incorporated the exhibit’s theme into his assignments and noted that he decided to “add some humor to the phrase: ‘Art is for the Birds!’ … given the seriousness of the exhibit.” Mr. Dickinson gave his students the task of recreating Pop Art images, in the spirit of the Russell Collection’s Andy Warhol paintings on display, and turning them into 3D birds. The 3D recreation is something he enjoys teaching, as it pushes students to think outside the box. In giving this Pop Art bird assignment, Mr. Dickinson’s primary goal was for students to recognize that there is a wide range of imagery, intent, and technique in professional, as well as student work.
Ines Bu ’18, a Post-AP Topics art student, recalled that she became “better acquainted with more people in [her] class,” as a result of the partnerships formed, and that the assignment itself, “was a worthwhile experience due to the learning process it involved.”
According to Ms. Hemphill, the idea for a spring showcase of student artwork came about as a result of “several requests for a student art exhibition.” She stated , “Initially, the VPA department didn’t work it into the cycle in the von Auersperg gallery, but since there aren’t [any] other Hess Center gallery spaces at the moment that can display student artwork, it made sense to include an annual student show beginning this spring.”
Since the student art exposition will now be an annual event, Ms. Hemphill noted that she, as well as the rest of the VPA Department “are already thinking about ideas for next year and will be sharing it with students in the fall so they have time to work on pieces that might be considered for the exhibition next March.” This exhibit is a sample of the talent among the Deerfield student body, especially with the considerable range of mediums used and technique displayed among students from various classes. The creative connection Mr. Dickinson encouraged in combining Warhol’s works and the 3D birds was particularly appealing to students. Due to the influence of these annual student art exhibits, Deerfield is hopeful that more students will pursue their artistic passions with the art department in the future.