“School’s In”— a new exhibit showcasing work by undergraduate art majors and participants of the Yale/Norfolk and Auvillar summer art programs — is intended to give the young artists a glimpse into the art profession as they enter their last year at Yale.
The show, which opened on Friday and is on display at the School of Art’s Green Hall Gallery, demonstrates the wide range of artistic experiences students were able to gather over the summer, according to Andrew Wagner ’15, whose work is included in the show. Sam Messer, assistant dean of the School of Art, explained that the exhibit gives students a chance to engage in academic and artistic self-reflection as they put their independent summer work in the context of the art produced by their peers. The show also allows students to gain insight into the life of an artist outside of the classroom, Messer added.
“What they are putting up consists of sources close to their own interests, and that is not from New Haven,” Messer said. “They are going outside of where they are to make work and in a sense bring it back.”
The show aims to highlight the experiences of Yale’s art undergraduates at various summer art programs, organizers said. Wagner, who attended the Norfolk program organized by the Yale School of Art, noted that such programs allow students to exclusively focus on their art; they are given their own studios and typically concentrate on nothing but the artistic expression of their ideas. The Norfolk Program, which takes place on an estate in northern Connecticut, allows students to take classes in a variety of disciplines, including printmaking, photography and painting. The intensive program enables participants to employ their creativity without any distractions.
“You don’t do much else besides eat, sleep and make art on the estate,” Wagner said.
The result, Wagner noted, is that participants engage in artistic experimentation and produce high-quality art. Wagner explained that his summer pieces are interdisciplinary in nature, consisting of interactive elements which explore the relationship between artist and audience. One example, he said, is a sleeping bag-shaped object made up of two life-sized photographs of Wagner stitched together and lined with pink fabric, which audience members can slip into. Yonadav Greenwood ’15, who also has work on display at the show, noted that while some of the showcased pieces are indicative of the exhibit’s exploratory nature, the show is largely heterogeneous and has “no overriding theme.”
Messer also said that an important aspect of being an artist is finding your own audience rather than creating work for a preconceived group of spectators as is often done in the classroom. The exhibit encourages young artists to do this while also allowing them to bring novel ideas and concepts into their academic environment, he said.
“Having the show is a nice way to be able to take a moment to look back on the work you’ve made, to think about what’s best, and to reflect on what has already happened, for the future,” Wagner said.
The show will run until Oct. 6.