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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Creative Space Gallery relocates to benefit IC students

Blue, red and magenta spirals coat the walls, windows and pipes. The translucent spirals melt into squiggly shapes under windows and on tables. On a white wall, several black and white sketches of household objects are planted. The colored objects stand out on the wall: a teal toaster. A yellow toilet. A red iron.

The new location for the college’s Creative Space Gallery, now on the South Hill Business Campus, will be the home for many future student-made, student-run art exhibits. The two experimental exhibits currently in the Creative Space Gallery belong to two Ithaca College art majors, seniors Cat Tompkins and Geneva Bielenberg.

The space previously housed art installations from the classes of two assistant professors from the art department: assistant professor Sarah Sutton’s intermediate and advanced drawing classes and assistant professor Bill Hastings’ Introduction to Sculpture class. The space featured life-size sculptures, and Sutton’s class used them as models for their drawings.

Work from senior Cat Tompkins will be in the newly relocated Creative Space Gallery until April 6. Fernando Ferraz/The Ithacan

“We installed [our drawings] all around the sculptures and talked about how installing art really affects the meaning,” Sutton said.

The gallery, originally located on The Commons, is now directly across from the main entrance of the college’s campus. Hastings said this relocation will increase opportunities for students’ professional development and will foster more collaboration between classes in different departments at the college.

Carla Stetson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art, said the gallery’s prior location at 215 E. State St. was mainly beneficial for visibility within the Ithaca community and not as much for student education.

“Downtown was really interesting if you wanted to be a gallery owner or curator because they had to have a different show every month to be a part of the downtown gallery scene,” Stetson said. “But that is a lot to ask. … Instead, [the space] will be owned by students.”

The flexible, less demanding schedule for the gallery will primarily serve the needs of the students and their classes, Stetson said.

The new gallery location will also provide more space for installations, Sutton said. Sutton said that since there is minimal room in the Ceracche Center, most art shows had been installed in the Office of the Provost. The office is remote, which Sutton said inhibited students’ ability to collaborate or install large art projects.

“We can talk about collaboration all we want, but there has to be an actual physical space,” Sutton said. “For the art department, the gallery’s space facilitates this partnership within and between disciplines.”

The gallery’s next event, opening at 6 p.m. April 6, is a collaboration between Sutton and Luke Keller, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Students from the intermediate and advanced drawing classes and the Modern Physics class will show their visual representations of space-time.

Keller said his students in Modern Physics are learning physics concepts through art, concepts that are not as intuitive when portrayed in two-dimensional diagrams in textbooks.

“They’re not things that we consciously experience every day, even though they happen all around us,” Keller said. “So they’re trying to figure out how to visualize these concepts.”

Keller said the process of visualizing concepts will hopefully provide the students with a more in-depth understanding of physics.

Sutton said she shared the art history behind this topic with the physics class before the start of the project. She said she specifically discussed how many artists intuited the things that were going to happen with Einstein and his theory of relativity.

“Overload,” an experimental exhibit from senior Geneva Bielenberg, is currently in the Creative Space Gallery. Fernando Ferraz/The Ithacan

“[Past artists] were moving away from really strict perspective drawing to paintings that had more than one perspective in the same painting,” Keller said. “And that is exactly what Einstein was saying in his theory of relativity: Whatever you experience physically depends on your point of view.”

Keller said he is excited about the educational potential of the space and already has ideas for future science and art collaborations.

The following gallery show from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 28 will feature an exhibit curated entirely by Hastings’ Theories of Art Practice class.

“They get a chance to design a show, name a show, curate it, invite other artists to join them [and] install it professionally,” Hastings said.

The process of troubleshooting while designing and planning a show will ready them for life after college, Hastings said. The tentative theme of the exhibit is identifying the self and looking introspectively. The exhibit will remain open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. April 5–29.

In honor of Earth Day, which is April 22, the Ithaca College Art Club is creating a large-scale plastic installation to bring attention to the overuse of plastics. The club started collecting plastic Feb. 27 and is accepting donations until April 3 to show how much plastic is used within only one month. The plastic can be deposited in the collection bin in the lobby of the Ceracche Art Building. The final sculpture will be presented in the gallery April 22, along with a presentation by the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences about strategies for a more sustainable future. The gallery also hosts monthly nude figure drawing events and is currently being used as studio space for senior thesis projects.

Stetson said the gallery will be the destination of many more exciting events open to the college community and surrounding areas, but primarily will provide the college’s art students a space for education and innovation.
“The ultimate goal is for [the gallery] to support the students in their ability to become successful artists after graduation,” Stetson said. “We’re supporting our students by giving them this opportunity to experiment … to be professional artists.”