There’s a thriving art community at Boston College, built up of students composing and experimenting in a diverse range of mediums.The BC Arts Club puts on a couple shows a year in the libraries and academic buildings to display the spectrum of artwork that students put forth. BC faculty members, on the other hand, rarely get the chance to show work in such a holistic format. The BC Arts Club presented an impressive display of faculty artwork on the first floor of Carney that demonstrates the faculty’s capabilities, interests, and artistic ingenuity.
On Thursday evening, the Arts Club unveiled the display with a reception and performances from members of the Music Guild. The atmosphere was rather casual, as members of the Guild would take turns providing background music for the showcase in the other room. Sean Seaver, MCAS ’16, as well as Katie, CSOM ’18, and Meghan Kelleher, LSOE ’16, were among those to perform for attendees of the showcase’s reception.
BC’s art department professors and faculty were not the only BC faculty to present pieces for the collection. Professors and faculty from the law, biology, and Romance languages departments also made pieces for exhibit. Carol Halpern, a part time faculty member for the biology department, put her paintings Trees and Dancers on display.
Trees depicts a variety of trees on a yellow field in the foreground surrounding a path that leads to a home in the background. The trees are spotted and smeared with complementary blues and purples that jump off the canvas at the viewer. Dancers shows several stylized figures gracefully jumping. These figures are speckled with the same purples and blues as in Trees as well with some orange and yellow spots as well. Speaking on her two pieces, Halpern notes, “The paintings were in part a spontaneous movement resulting from my desire to ‘play’ with colors. I hope that these creations may evoke joy, a smile, playfulness, and dare I say a connection to the divinity of earthly life.”
Michael Mulhern, a studio art professor who has taught at BC for over forty years, presented Soon I Was Merely Wandering Without Any Aim of Plan in Mind for the gallery. The title, a quote from a W. G. Sebald novel, refers to Prof. Mulhern’s aspirations after his retirement from BC at the end of this academic year. Mulhern’s piece combines a reworked photograph with observational drawings. In the work, two men stand facing each other, there shadows coming together in between them. They stand next to a puddle figure, spotted with an array of vibrant colors and contrasting black splotches.
Mulhern enjoys playing with the dynamic between realism and abstraction and asks his students to do the same, noting that he doesn’t believe a clear distinction exists between the two. “As an instructor I try to explain observation in a very rational and scientific manner,” Mulhern said. “But I also teach my students to know the rule so they can break the rule. I find this in all good work and it drives my work.”
Icarus, a collaborative needlepoint piece between Sammy Chong and Walter Conlan, is probably the most visually captivating piece of the entire collection. In it, a hulking Minotaur embraces Icarus. The Minotaur is composed of radiant blues and deep purples. It’s almost hard to notice Icarus enveloped in such a mesmerizing color scheme. To the left of the two figures is a maze structure that is reminiscent of a Greek meander. To the right, stylized plumes of smoke threaten to overtake the whole background.
Exceptional photography is also showcased in the gallery. Greer Muldowney’s Providence Wastewater Treatment is a strikingly noticeable feature in the exhibit. The photo shows a pristine road curving off into the background, which also features a waterfront and windmills. In his piece, Reverential Moment, Verona, Daniel Kirschner captures two nuns in a Roman basilica staring down the length of the structure. A cross and altar in the background of the photo can be seen above the nuns shoulders. The image exudes a tranquility that photos are rarely able to capture of an instance.
The BC faculty hold a tremendous amount of talent that deserves a proper exhibition. The recently unveiled display on the first floor of Carney Hall gives students the chance to see what professors and faculty members put their time and creativity into when they aren’t working in the classroom. The Arts Club Faculty Gallery displays an absorbing array of faculty works ranging from a broad scope of departments.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor