On Apr. 3, the von Auersperg Gallery opened its new studio arts exhibition, presenting drawings, paintings, and photographs created by Deerfield students in the art program. “Food for Thought” was the theme, inspired by the Dining Hall.
The von Auersperg Gallery has been home to several exhibits in the past year. From “In Rotation” by Robin Mendel and “Visions of a Fragmented Landscape, Part II” by Kim Carlino to Imo Nse Imeh’s “Forgotten Girls: Black Heroines on the Edge of Darkness and Hope,” Deerfield’s art gallery has invited the community to examine, explore, and enjoy the artwork of numerous guest artists. “Food for Thought,” however, is the most recent and entirely student-run.
In describing the process of choosing the new exhibition’s theme, Art Teacher Mercedes Taylor explained, “[The visual arts program] was trying to choose a topic that could be easily integrated into the curriculum, and also a topic that would be familiar to everyone. We thought about the dining hall and sit down meals together … It’s also an interpretation.”
Art Teacher David Dickinson claimed, “I am most proud about students that came here with little to no training. Deerfield is one of the few school in New England that truly develops an individual skillset and ability.”
The students enjoyed the process of producing pieces for the exhibition, and were playful with the theme. “I would go to the Dining Hall when first waiters were setting their table and to the kitchens when the kitchen staff was preparing the food in hopes of getting an action shot or an abstract and artistic shot,” Janis Chen ’20 said.
Jillian Carroll ’18, who has been involved in the art program for three years, commented, “Wrapping up my time at Deerfield with this art exhibit was a very rewarding experience. While some of the pieces were designed specifically for the exhibit, other pieces were created as a part of a class or just for fun and then used for the exhibit.”
With pieces ranging from the Intro to Studio art class to the AP Photography and Post-AP Art classes, the gallery shows a variety of artwork in different shapes and sizes. The students were challenged to go beyond their comfort zone, which included creating pieces in 3D material instead of 2D or painting in a proportion they were not accustomed to.
Benny Yang ‘21 was challenged to do a collaborative piece with Annemarie Fioroni ’20: a large scale painting of a person ingesting school materials. Yang described his experience to be challenging, but a valuable learning experience.
In regards to the significance of the exhibition, Carroll stated, “For the studio arts, it is rare that people get to see the amazing work the artists do if they aren’t walking through the student art gallery on a given day.”
The teachers of the visual arts program expressed how, in addition to the high levels of art students’ devotion commitment, community spirit was also a strong factor in dedicating an exhibition to student work.
“Why would you go to a concert or soccer game?” Mrs. Taylor said about the significance of the event. “You’re there to support the students.”
“I can’t think of a higher level of community spirit than something like sharing the final product of students’ effort. Hopefully it inspires students to come up to the art studio and experience the classes,” Mr. Dickinson remarked.
On behalf of the visual arts teachers, Mrs. Taylor said, “We thought that maybe through food and the dining hall, it could make us think of how art can interpret something that is familiar to us. We wanted something to bring us together but also allow us to experiment with things.