Hey guys. It’s me, Emily!

Hey guys, it’s Emily Hurley here, PC-G communications intern! I am a senior at Providence College studying English and minoring in Art History. I also work on campus as a Global Ambassador, president of Photography Club, and as a member of the team that runs the Facebook project Humans of Providence College (HOPC). My previous job as student gallery assistant working with PC-G curator Jamilee and my art history studies led me to pursue this gallery internship. My interest in Art History expanded while I was studying abroad in Auckland, NZ during Spring Semester 2016. Overseas I took an Art Crime course (!), which introduced me to some of the world’s most valuable artworks. This, along with my success in PC’s Art History Survey course, convinced me to go for the Art History minor. What I have learned so far has further inspired me to get more involved with gallery work, which led me to the internship that I hold today!

Though I do lots of things for the Galleries, I’m technically the communications intern. My primary responsibilities include contributing writing here, to PC-G’s WWWWH blog, managing social media for PC-G, interviewing artists and writing press releases. Of the many things that I do, I’d have to say that my favorite part of my internship is getting to work with visiting artists. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to form relationships with the artists and help them with their installations, events, and shows (among many other things).

In my own creative practice of making art works, including poetry and photography, I often utilize themes relating to family structures & relationships, mental illness, the spiritual relationship one has with nature, and issues of equality. I draw inspiration from works like Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and Sally Mann. I also think about and look to local artists, and as part of my art history minor and time in the gallery, I’m learning how to research artists’ influences and studio practices. Right now, I am excited that Providence College is in the process of commissioning and purchasing artwork from Providence artist and photographer Theresa Ganz. Her work reflects many of the themes central to my own work, ranging from Baroque architecture, epic landscapes and the Sublime, women’s work, the intersection of architecture and nature, environmentalism, the history of photography and photography in the digital era, spirituality in relation to the natural and built environment… and so much more. Below is a sneak peek of her past work, and as soon as we have it on campus, I’ll share images and further insights on Theresa’s work!

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Theresa Ganz, “Lazaro Galdiano 1,” 2015, inkjet print, 14 x 14 inches.

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Theresa Ganz, “Palazzo Madama 1,” 2015, inkjet print, 8 x 10 inches.

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Theresa Ganz, “Pillar,” 2006, hand-cut c-prints, collage, 120 x 36 inches.

Will Hutnick Talks Exhibitions, Installations and Paintings

Via email and on the occasion of his solo exhibition But We’re Getting Off the Subject in PC–G’s Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery, Will Hutnick talked with me, Emily Hurley, PC–G communications intern and PC English major/Art History minor. An alum of Providence College’s Studio Art program, Hutnick is an artist whose immersive installations act as room-sized versions of his collaged paintings. With a body of work that also includes drawing, printmaking, murals and more, Hutnick is an artist who enthusiastically celebrates color and the playful re-use of materials and abstractly personal histories.

Emily Hurley: You received your Bachelor of Arts at Providence College in 2007. What programs or classes influenced you most during your time here?

Will Hutnick: During my senior year at PC in a painting course I had a small studio all to myself to paint and work in, and that independent time and research really helped to shape my practice. I’ve always been pretty disciplined and focused, but that complete independence and space for experimentation was really refreshing and terrifying. That was probably the first time that my work started to delve away from representational still-lives into abstraction. I also think that the art history courses that I took at Providence, in particular contemporary art history classes led by Deborah Johnson, really helped me to expand my vocabulary and look at art and its context in a new way. It wasn’t just about seeing what was out there and what had been done before, but trying to understand certain decisions and perceptions.

Hurley: The first words that pop into my head when I see your exhibition at PC–G are playful and emotive. Would you use these words to describe your art?

I definitely think that there is something playful about the work and my exhibition at PC–G. I’m sure it has something to do with my interest in maps, mazes, puzzles and childhood games—Tetris floats around in my head constantly. I’m also a musician—I play the cello—so there is something “performative” about the exhibition as well, like it’s choreographed, which is a different sensibility than being “curated”. I think this playfulness that the exhibition exudes is a great way to engage with audiences, and it provides an entryway that isn’t intimidating but approachable and welcome. And then when folks spend a little more time after entering the exhibition, they can go to “wait, what exactly am I seeing anyways? Where am I? What’s happening?”

Hurley It’s my understanding that PC–G curator Jamilee Lacy invited you back on to do this exhibition not only for the College’s Centennial but on the 10th anniversary of your graduation from PC. How has it felt to be back on campus?

It feels great to be back at PC! It’s been a while. Yes, I graduated in 2007, but haven’t been back to PC since a reunion in 2009. It’s funny, there are some places on campus, particularly by the Art and Art History Department, that haven’t changed an inch; so it was a weird feeling to walk back into classrooms and hallways and instantly get transported to 10 years ago; kind of a surreal experience to immediately go back in time and have it appear like nothing has changed one bit. And to then remind yourself, wait a second, I’m not a current student, I’m 31, this isn’t real! It’s funny the tricks the mind plays with sensory-based memories.

On another note, I’m really grateful to Jamilee and the rest of the Art and Art History Department and Providence College. PC is such a supportive environment, and I feel really honored to have been given this amazing opportunity.

Hurley: Looking at your entire oeuvre, one notices bold color palettes. To your mind, what role does color play in the installation at PC–G?

Color is an important element in my work. I’m always trying to find and/or uncover different and unexpected color relationships. For a while the work was taking on a “camouflage-like vibe” with various shades of the same color within a single work, which I think contributes to the sense of the work being organically grown and conjured up with natural forces, almost like a cloud shifting, or finding the hidden image in one of those Magic-Eye posters.

I find it really exciting when another color that is incongruous to the rest of the work finds its way in – that dissonance, that discord is something I find necessary and weird and irking. As far as my exhibition at PC–G is concerned, each work on clear mylar, which are kind of like “mobiles,” are composed of pieces of painted tape from my studio walls, past paintings and installations. It was really important that once I got into the space to install the exhibition that I listened to what the works and the overall show wanted. I decided to draw on the walls with only black and gray and silver to not only echo some of the marks and shapes found throughout the hanging works, but to contrast the vibrant color inherent in the works.

Hurley: Can you explain the relationship between the different “mobiles”?

All of the hanging mobiles were created in the last few years as indirect works; by indirect I mean that they, for the most part, existed, and originated, as functional tools to transport tape from one project/installation/room to the next. When an installation was ready to take down, I simply needed a means to move the tape from one surface back to my studio, so that’s where this work stemmed from, from functional and practical concerns. Thus, a lot of the works are very similar in color and shape and composition because they are “from” the same projects/spaces. It was really nice to see them all in a single space, something I’ve never had the chance of doing before. It was really interesting because it also collapsed some notions of space and time; I felt like a time-traveler!

Hurley: You recently did another show, You’re a Ghost, with The Java Project in Brooklyn. This exhibition differs from But We’re Getting Off the Subject in medium, style, and subject matter, yet there are characteristics that would suggest an important relationship between the two exhibitions. Would you say that some of your art pieces connect with each other, and that there are parallels between past and current exhibitions?  

Most definitely. I think that all of the work relates to one another, that each work is a different iteration or skewed perspective from a past work. The other day I was in the studio and looked at a painting I was working on, which I had been working on for a few months, if not close to a year, and thought that it looked JUST like a painting I did a few years ago. And my first thought was: “Am I just making the same thing over and over again?”. It was a very Truman Show/Groundhog Day experience. But I think that conceptually all of the work is connected, even if some formal means have changed over the past few years and differ from work to work. There has always been a strong interest in topographical maps and spaces that are “in-between”, filled with potential yet might exist yet. I’ve been thinking more and more about the physicality of the paintings and how important that some of the shapes in the works read as natural elements, whether that is rocks, caves, forms of decay, artifacts, relics, etc.

Hurley: What is the most challenging part about being a mixed media artist?

I think it’s really exciting to not be limited to one material or medium, to have the freedom and to allow myself to explore and experiment and listen to a work to find out what it needs or wants to be. I (unsuccessfully) experimented with some video while I was getting my Master of Fine Arts at Pratt in 2011, and it would be great to have some videos or photos find their way into my practice at some point again in the future. I’m interested in different forms of documentation and ideas about documentation and archival means, especially when those archives are not secondary/tangential means but considerations throughout the process. So we’ll see what physical forms the next show will take on!

Hurley: Tell me about your background in art: what inspired you to become an artist and why did you choose to pursue art at Providence College. And specifically, why were you drawn to PC?

I remember always drawing and coloring as a kid; I always had this desire to create. I think those impulses to create and search for meaning in the world translates into a creative pursuit, that through my art I’m attempting to grapple with how I fit into the world and how I see things, and what that means. I was drawn to PC because of its strong community and friendly environment. I visited the campus when I was in high school (and my older cousin was a freshman) and immediately felt a sense of camaraderie and belonging. I’m also kind of a nerd and I knew that PC would be a challenge academic-wise. I was actually pumped for PC’s liberal arts education and multidisciplinary approach to learning.

Hurley: What’s next? Do you have any upcoming shows or projects?

I recently got accepted into the flat file program at Tiger Strikes Asteroid, a great artist-run gallery located in Brooklyn (and in Chicago, where PC–G curator Jamilee Lacy will send an exhibition of Providence artists’ work in December), so I will participate in an upcoming group exhibition at TSA. My current project is playing in the pit orchestra for the musical Dogfight at a local theater in Poughkeepsie, which opens this weekend! I’m also working on one or two curatorial proposals for potential exhibitions in early 2017, which I’m having a field day researching and collecting info. I started curating more in the past few years, and recently joined the art collective and gallery space Ortega y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn. OyG is a great group of folks and I’m lucky to be a part of it. I think it’s really important to be active and I really enjoy giving other artists a platform to show their work, and to challenge them to find something new in their own work. Besides that, I’m thrilled to get back into the studio and see what happens.

Will Hutnick: But We’re Getting Off the Subject is on view in PC-G’s Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery August 24 – October 10, 2016.

Will Hutnick is an artist and curator based in Wassaic, New York. His work has been exhibited in solo, two-person and group exhibitions at DEMO Project in Springfield, Illinois; SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York; Ground Floor Gallery, The Java Project, Momenta Art and TSA, all in Brooklyn; Grizzly Grizzly in Philadelphia; Circuit 12 Contemporary in Dallas; and The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, New Jersey. Hutnick has curated numerous exhibitions at Ortega y Gasset Projects, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, Trestle Projects, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Fire Proof, Loft 594 and LaunchPad, all in Brooklyn or New York City. His work has been featured in New American PaintingsMaake MagazineLVL3 MediaBeautiful/Decay and Whitehot Magazine’s “Best Artists List for 2013”. Hutnick has been an artist in residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York; The Wassaic Project in Wassaic, New York; Vermont Studio Center in Johnson; 4heads on Governors Island in New York; and he recently completed a year-long curatorial residency at Trestle Projects in Brooklyn. He is a member of Ortega y Gasset Projects, an artist-run curatorial collective and exhibition space in Brooklyn, and is currently the Residency Director at The Wassaic Project. Hutnick holds a Master of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and his Bachelor of Arts from Providence College, where he majored in Studio Art.

A conversation with PC–G Exhibiting Artist Erin Leland

Via email and on the occasion of her solo exhibition in PC-G’s Reilly Gallery, Erin Leland engaged in sprawling conversation with me, Emily Hurley, PC-G gallery intern and PC English major/Art History minor. A NYC-based artist who often works with what PC-G Director and Curator Jamilee Lacy refers to as the “theatre of memory,” Leland seems the perfect person to respond, on the occasion of the College’s Centennial, to a unique piece of PC history: The Thomas McGlynn Collection curated by Father Richard McAlister, OP. To learn and see more of Leland’s exhibition, visit this page on the PC-G website.

Emily Hurley: At the artist talk in conjunction with your exhibition “Catwalk Informed by a Priest” you told the audience that you have a fascination with images that have been removed from their owner or source, such as when images fall into the hands of other people. How does this pertain to your work on view at PC-G?

Erin Leland: In my current show, the idea of a conduit is present—the idea of a line of people who have spoken through one another. The exhibition references the recreated apartment room [in the Art Department’s Hunt-Cavanagh Hall] on campus that Father Richard McAlister built in almost exact replication of an apartment he had shared with the sculptor and priest Father Thomas McGlynn in Pietrasanta, Italy, and with whom he had established the Providence College Summer Studio Program, [a study abroad program that ran from the 1970s through the 90s]. One of McGlynn’s more famous liturgical sculptures is “Our Lady of Fatima”. This was sculpted in collaboration with a nun, Lucy, who had witnessed a reappearing apparition in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. Thomas McGlynn preserved Lucy’s touch in the molded clay and final marble version. Thomas McGlynn was a conduit for Lucy, giving voice to her sighting. Father McAlister is a conduit for Thomas McGlynn through the preservation of his voice within the recreated apartment, and I imagined that I could act as a conduit for Father McAlister, whose belongings are also intermingled in the apartment, and now visible in my exhibition.

Hurley: For the Watermill Center’s website described you as an artist who “treats the camera as a performative tool”. Do you feel that this observation is accurate?

Leland: The camera is a tool through which a subject can be seen, and most of all, through which the photographer can be seen, albeit while behind the lens. Taking a picture can be a performative action of deflected self-viewing. I believe that is the idea referenced in the quote on the Watermill site, and yes, I believe that is true.

Hurley: Your work does not reference religious missions; however, you took great care to be respectful and observant of Providence College’s history of religious affiliation. How did this inspire your approach to the subject matter?

Leland: I found that when I sat to talk with Father McAlister, the conversations were calming and carried wisdom. This tone of conversation carried into the tone of the exhibition, which was commented upon by viewers to be a reflective space.

Hurley: You also mentioned in the artist talk that people have commented that your exhibition is a very contemplative space, especially when looking at the art alone. Was this your intent, or do these comments come as a surprise to you?

Leland: It is always a surprise to me that a relatively minimal room could manifest from such a labor-intensive process, involving highly theatrical techniques such as decorative painting. In the end, those process techniques became much more subdued than anticipated.

Hurley: Earlier we talked about the contemplative yet decoratively made aspects of Thomas McGlynn’s reconstructed room on PC’s campus. How did this space influence your exhibition?

Leland: I drew inspiration for the lofted walkways and drop-down ceilings with skylights in my exhibition from architectural elements of Thomas McGlynn’s Pietrasanta studio. The studio in Italy was connected to McGlynn’s apartment, shared at times with Father McAlister, and it is this apartment that Father McAlister recreated on the Providence College campus. Ultimately, both the exhibition and the recreated apartment are quiet rooms.

Hurley: In the process of creating your exhibition, you utilized theatre and set design skills. How did you acquire such skills as an artist who makes exhibitions and how have these skills been important to your work?

Leland: Set design is not necessarily an important knowledge for any artist to have, but I do believe it is important for an artist to retain a certain amount of naivety towards their medium. For me, most recently this medium is theater. A lack of knowledge allows room for improvisation, and it is through this improvisation that an artist forms a voice. I only know a few fundamental methods of set building and theatrical deception. Mostly, I am developing my own working strategies with a lot of room to surprise myself.

Hurley: What role does photography play in your exhibition and what kind of camera did you use

Leland: I used 35 mm color film in a Nikkormat camera passed down through my family. The lens provided a close crop; I was in close proximity to objects in the apartment room. It was almost impossible to take a photograph of the entire room, as there was not enough distance provided in the lens.

Hurley: Reverend Richard McAlister, one of the founders of Providence College’s Department of Art and Art History, hosted a Providence in Europe summer art study in Pietrasanta, Italy from 1970-91. The program was based at the studio of Thomas McGlynn, whose apartment is recreated here at Providence College in Hunt-Cavanagh. What was it like working with Father McAlister? What did you learn and how did he influence how the exhibition came together?

Leland: I first had an idea that I wanted to make catwalks in the gallery, and I asked Father McAlister if anything came into his mind in reference to a catwalk. He passed on a photograph to me of the lofted walkway and resting area in Father McGlynn’s Pietrasanta studio, accessible by a drop-down ladder. In seeing this photograph, I confirmed that the catwalks would form an architectural stage for the photographs in reference to his snapshot. Father McAlister was incredibly open to me, a complete stranger, and showed me his life.

Hurley: What theme(s) does your exhibition explore? 

Leland: In addition to the idea of a conduit, and to the bringing forward of a female voice – that of the nun, Lucy, who had not previously written freely as a witness of the apparition – the exhibition also brings forward the idea of spending observational time in one place. Part of the appeal of photographing Father McAlister’s recreated apartment room was in the fact that I could spend many hours in the room, observing its interior. The camera reinforces the act of sitting still with the subject.

Hurley: Thank you so much for answering my questions and giving me a better look at your exhibition! Do you have any upcoming shows or projects that we can look forward to?

Leland: I am showing a piece in The Newest Romantics: Sculptors of Botanical Photography, a group exhibition at the New Art Center in Newton, Massachusetts opening in January 2017.

Erin Leland: Catwalk Informed by a Priest is on view in PC-G’s Reilly Gallery August 24 – October 10, 2016.

Erin Leland is an artist who lives in New York and works with photography, built installation and writing. Her projects have been exhibited in solo exhibitions including Everything Is Everything at Michael Strogoff Gallery in Marfa, Texas and Traces to Form Concrete Thoughts at Weltraum 26 in Munich, Germany. She has additionally exhibited artwork in group exhibitions at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Roots & Culture in Chicago, and Ewing Gallery at The University of Tennessee, among others. Her fictional writings have been published through Mercer Union and White Walls in the artist compendium Blast Counterblast and through contributions to the international art journal and podcast Bad at Sports. Erin is holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 

Introducing Zoe Cataldo, PC–G Graduate Assistant!

So, what does a recent finance undergrad and current MBA candidate want to do with a graduate assistantship in the art department? And no, the answer is not free tuition (although that part of the gig definitely is a plus). One day, I would like to own and run my own commercial art gallery, preferably in Cape Cod, in a building with an upstairs apartment. I may or may not already have a place picked out…

Hi, I’m Zoe Cataldo. I’m from Hingham, Massachusetts, and I graduated from Providence College with a bachelor of science in finance, just months ago in May 2016. I am currently pursuing my MBA within PC’s 4+1 MBA Program, and working as a graduate assistant for Director and Curator Jamilee Lacy at PC-G. I am excited to be working with the curator and the artists she’s invited to make exhibitions. I currently act as Jamilee’s right-hand woman, and I’m looking forward to applying my finance background where I can, likely in working with Jamilee as she develops and maintains budgets and accounts as part of fundraising, grant writing, and the moving parts of producing complex exhibitions and public problems. My goal is to take of this, and to really learn what it takes to operate a successful gallery.

Although my undergraduate studies were business focused, I have always had an interest in art. I have spent my summers in Wellfleet, Cape Cod ever since I was born, and when my parents were confident I could behave in public, I began accompanying them to Wellfleet’s gallery openings on Saturday nights. While at first these Saturday nights were just an excuse to dress up and sneak hors d’oeuvres from tables that my toddler hands could barely reach, as I grew older I actually began to look at and appreciate the art. Attending these openings has since gotten even more exciting, especially when my aunt, an artist from Virginia has her own showings. When I grew older, going to the openings wasn’t and still isn’t just about dressing up and raiding food tables, but about gaining an appreciation for different artists’ work, and making my way to the wine stand that I was once not legal to drink (just kidding).

When I was in high school I realized my passion for photography and was even lucky enough to host my own photography exhibit in my local library. I became the first high school student with a show at the Hingham Public Library. This year, I was able to keep that tradition of firsts alive by becoming PC–G’s first-ever graduate assistant.

Having a business background, and as I continue to study business in pursuit of an MBA, I am excited to see how running an art gallery is both similar and different to what I have learned in my classes at PC. I anticipate much of what I have learned as an undergraduate and continue to learn as a graduate will be helpful in my pursuit of running and owning my own art gallery, but I will be looking for ways in which I can use this knowledge to my advantage. For example, I suspect creating a sustainable business model, dealing with expenses such as rent, insurance, and salaries, developing relationships, or even getting an investment are different in a gallery setting than the context in which I studied these topics in class. I am looking forward to taking my existing knowledge and incorporating it in an entirely different business setting.

This blog will be an attempt to track what I am learning and hope to learn as a graduate assistant. I will be documenting the progress I make in my understanding of running an art gallery and be looking for connections between what I am studying in my classes and learning while I work in the galleries.

I am just at the beginning stages of my graduate assistantship, so I will end this blog post with some of the questions I have that are already piling up, and that I hope to learn the answers to along the way. I have no doubt, even more questions will arise, but for now I will leave it with these:

  • Does the owner or curator of a gallery carry artwork that only he or she is interested in? Or artwork they think others will be interested in? Or is it a combination of both?
  • How do you determine what kinds of work a gallery will show? And who decides the length of a show?
  • How do you develop a gallery with a solid reputation?
  • How often do you invite artists back to have a show? Do you invite artists back to have a second show? Do you invite artists back who might not have had a successful show the first time (for a commercial gallery, successful in terms of selling?)
  • How does one go about finding artists? Relationships? Advertisements? Both? Neither?

 

Talk soon,
Zoe Cataldo

 

PC-G’s New Website and Blog: WWWWH

Welcome to WWWWH, the new Providence College—Galleries (PC-G) blog! We’re thrilled you’re here. WWWWH is the spot to engage with PC-G in an up-close and digital way: Here you’ll find behind-the-scenes information like in-progress installation photos and videos, interviews with and essays by contemporary artists, curators, writers and other guests, and all kinds of original, gallery-related content generated by staff, students, visiting artists, scholars and more.

So, what has PC-G been up to since we closed the last of our 2015-2016 exhibitions? You may have read snippets here and on Facebook and Instagram. But I thought I’d give you a wider view. We’ve been doing loads or research, studio visits and general preparations for our upcoming season, which has been curated in conjunction with Providence College’s Centennial (Happy 100th to PC!). We’ve also been working on new initiatives, including some traveling and online exhibitions, collaborative public programs, and, of course, this beautiful new Google Brand Studio-designed website that we’ve slowly been rolling out since last spring.

But more than new programming initiatives, we’ve been discussing and debating the future of PC-G. How can we do what we’ve done well in the past, but in a more meaningful way? How can we better connect with people and connect them to each other, to PC students, to the artworld at-large? We’ll use WWWWH as a space to share with you some of the influences on this process. And let me tell you: WWWWH is crucial: not only is this blog is the pipeline to PC-G, it will demonstrate our commitment to educate, to de-mystify the work of living artists and arts professionals, and to debate contemporary art and its display.  In this regard, I’ll be back on this blog in the coming months to give you details on the inclusive, collaboratively participatory, interdisciplinary, experimental and super-fun PC-G we envision.

Yours,
Jamilee Lacy
Director and Curator of PC-G