The Reed family Student Art Gallery on the first floor of the Hess Center opened on October 8th in the hopes of promoting the arts program. Ms. Permelia Pryor Reed specifically gave this space in memory of her husband, Mr. Joseph Verner Reed and in honor of their sons: Adrian, Nathaniel, Samuel, and Joseph. This is the first time that Deerfield has ever had a space devoted specifically to student artwork. It is open to students from the studio art, architecture and photography program to display their pieces.
Art Teacher Mr. David Dickinson hopes that it will eventually “highlight all of the work of the many students who continue their study of visual arts past the AP level, as having work displayed in this space is intended as a destination.”
The first works being exhibited in this student space are those of Mr. Dickinson’s Topics Tutorial: Studio Art class — Ines Bu ’18, Adeliza Grace ’18, Hannah Kang ’18, Sofia Novak ’18, Julian O’Donnell ’18, and Maxime Pitchon ’19 — the largest tutorial class Mr. Dickinson can recall.
There are two different projects on display at the moment, both of which are focused around the theme of “no eyes,” a product of Mr. Dickinson’s and Dr. Manning Curtis’s collaboration. The concept of “no eyes” came about from Mr. Dickinson’s “attempt to try and get [his] students to be as single-minded as possible when working on an assignment, to try and block out external noise.”
Dr. Curtis explained his involvement in the project: “Mr. Dickinson approached me because of my work in teaching trance visualization to both patients and students. We discussed ways of deepening the blind experience.”
The first project Mr. Dickinson and Dr. Curtis created, Monoideism: Path to Blind Insight, involved the Tutorial students being blindfolded and placed into a trance by Dr. Curtis, in order to approach their canvas with the unconscious, creative part of their mind, ready to create art. By completely engaging themselves in the activity, the students were able to enter a transitive state of mind at any time, using the trigger word “pencil.” Mr. Dickinson also expanded the project’s scope by including a conscious portion to the project where students added white paint to their work in order to accentuate different parts of their compositions.
Maxime Pitchon ’19 noted, “The artwork I produced in a transitive state was definitely a departure from what I normally produce.” According to Pitchon, it was an eye-opening experience for the Tutorial students, and seeing the finished products was exciting. He continued, “Focusing entirely on the feeling of the charcoal on the page was a very different experience, yet I surprised myself with the final result; being directly engaged in the activity of drawing without sight, I had an unexpectedly pleasing product.”
The second project also employed the “no eyes” theme. Students had a photo of their face, and then drew themselves from the nose down, with their drawing instrument of choice grit between their teeth. This project taught the students patience and focus, which was Mr. Dickinson’s goal in assigning it.
According to Ines Bu ’18, “The piece was one of the largest that we’ve worked on so far, so it was challenging in many aspects. Mr. Dickinson has told us throughout the years to always be patient in doing our art, but I never really figured out what that meant until this assignment came around.” She believes that the assignment allowed her to improve her technique and skills by working solely with a pencil, but most importantly, Bu learned “that sometimes taking a break, stepping away, and reevaluating the piece later is the most efficient way to make progress.”
Regarding the new gallery space, Sofia Novak ’18 stated, “In the past, we only had the von Auersperg Gallery, which was mostly limited to professional artists. We are proud of our work, and we are glad to have this wonderful venue to share our artwork with the community.”