Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Dordt College campus event—student graphic design

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—Dordt College Event Graphics (vinyl banners)
This banner series was initially designed in fall 2012 and continues to be used each year.
Kuyper Apartments (the stage area)
Each banner is w 42 inches x 130 inches

The MLK banners graphic design group for 2012:
Andrew Steendam, Darin Lammers, Mandy Faber, Cait Vaags, Ashley Viet, Nathan Morehead.

Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. 

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Objects for Collective Inquiry: Sara Alsum-Wassenaar presents art exhibit at Dordt College

Sara Alsum-Wassenaar, artist. Top photograph is a gallery installation and above is a Salad Foraging Bowl (detail) being used in the process of gathering a weed salad.

Traditionally, the newest member of Dordt’s art faculty is invited to have a solo exhibition.  As a result the community is invited to attend the solo art exhibition by Sara Alsum-Wassenaar, assistant professor of art at Dordt College. The show is on display in the college’s Campus Center Art Gallery until February 1.

Alsum-Wassenaar has created an exhibit that showcases how “built and natural environments interrupt one another, the spaces where human intervention interacts with creation.” Her artwork includes objects such as sewing, ceramics, and bike building, to name a few.

“The work explores basic human needs and fulfills them within a regional environment through a process of labor,” says Alsum-Wassenaar. “They invite foraging and object making, reveal relationships between bodies and land, and compress the space between humans and their habitat by using a mediated form, like clay or a bicycle. Through this mediation the handmade landscape is domesticated.” In a statement about her show Alsum-Wassenaar writes the following:

These objects cultivate alternative modes of occupying spaces where the built and natural environment interrupt one another, the spaces where human intervention interacts with creation. These objects facilitate a relationship between the handmade and the land by utilizing traditional craft methods including metalworking, pottery, woodworking, and sewing -processes that can be produced on an individual level. Objects are designed, made or hybridized on an individual scale in response to specific land-use requirements. The work explores basic human needs and fulfills them within a regional environment through a process of labor. They invite foraging and object making, reveal relationships between bodies and land, and compress the space between humans and their habitat by using a mediated form, like clay or a bicycle. Through this mediation the handmade landscape is domesticated.
Alsum-Wassenaar has a B.S. in psychology and art from Hope College, an M.Ed. in secondary education from Grand Valley State University, and an M.F.A. in new media from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 Dordt Northwestern Student Juried Art Show.

Copy is from Dordt College publicity:

The annual Dordt/Northwestern Student Art Exhibit is an opportunity for students from both schools to share their best artwork of the year in a combined exhibit. This student-selected and juried exhibit will be on display in the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery this past December. 
This joint exhibit by Dordt College and Northwestern College art students has been an annual tradition since 1999. The colleges alternate hosting the exhibit, with Dordt students selecting the Northwestern art that will be shown and Northwestern students selecting the Dordt art that is shown.
Below is a Dordt Diamond interview with David Versluis gallery coordinator.

Q. Can you explain a little about how this show works? I know the students from each college choose pieces from the other college to be shown, but how much of a role do the professors play?

A. The works selected for recognition showcase the imagination and technical abilities of Dordt/NWC students. The pieces featured in the show are produced mainly in art studio classes. Every year the show is initially organized independently by the art faculties from both colleges who then develop a schedule. The art gallery coordinators administer calls for artwork from each school and student jurors are asked to serve.

The fact that the jurors are students evaluating the artwork from the other school is very unique. This year with the show being hosted by Dordt, members of the Art Senior Seminar class were asked to curate the installation. The design and layout of the artwork in the gallery space is sensitive and thoughtful — Rebekah Dykhuizen, Melissa Brantsen, Bridget Rowe, Hayley Dahl, and Aubrey Pasker were attentive to the details and did a very fine job. I, along with Kit Drennon did the installation.

What do you think students (the students who will have their work shown) can learn from this exhibition or how can they benefit from it?

This is an experience for students from both schools to gather in community to review the artwork of their peers, which has great value. Viewers can discover the variety of visual art being generated by our students and see how the art has the technical skill and conceptual capacity that speaks to them.

Q. Why do you think Dordt students should care about this exhibition? Why should they know about it?

A. While this show is interestingly competitive it’s also indicative of the relational attitudes between two Christian colleges that are in fairly close proximity to one other. As a result this show helps build community by mixing artwork from both schools; it is more community service-focused and less about self-centric art-making, which seems paradoxical.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Harold Sikkema: Curiosity as strange, but also as inquisitive

Dordt College recently completed the run of “I am curious” art exhibition by Canadian artist/designer Harold Sikkema. The following are notes from one of Harold's presentations when he was visiting the College.

By Matt Van Rys—
My Notes on Harold Sikkema, Visiting Artist/Designer
Dordt College Senior Seminar Class Visit / Presentation—21 October 2014.
  • From Caledonia Ontario.
  • Working Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Fine Artist
  • Showed exhibition design, to scale, pillars, wall layouts with templates provided by David [Versluis] (see illustration above).
  • Freelance, Self-Employed.
  • Spoke of the importance of curating as part of the art making process
  • Conversation within a specific space
  • Think about the installation as it reflects with the work
  • Harold is also currently using Google’s Open Gallery to show digital versions of what the “i am curious Show might look like.
  • Expressed habit of being on the lookout for traces of humanity all around, think footprints, scratches, paths, trails and the like.
  1. Borrowing as a way of respecting the people around you (collaboration, making marks in the world together)
  2. Photoshop can be a very lonely place, just you and the screen
  3. It can make you move to get more active engagement
  4. How to connect the dots between art and religion (Reformed as a form of minimalism)
  • Community as performance artwork – committed to a confession
  • Community world service Asia (example of branding and website)
  • Commercial work can enrich your personal art
  • Journaling and writing as a secondary outlet and resource (good and helpful for building and shaping perspective)
  • Curiosity as strange, but also as inquisitive
  • “Otherverse” as nature, the other form of revelation

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Harold Sikkema: i am curious — an art exhibition

Opening reception at Dordt College on 23 October with gallery talk by Harold Sikkema

Somnium in Offertore ©2014 Harold Sikkema

Dordt College presents “i am curious: awe and oddity in the otherverse,” an art exhibit by Harold Sikkema of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His collection of 40 pieces will be on display October 23 to November 30 in the Dordt College Art Gallery in the Campus Center.

The exhibition is an exceptional visual banquet celebrating the myriad of images from the digital curios of artist Harold Sikkema. Most of Harold’s artwork for this exhibition was produced this year especially for the Dordt College community. As Harold says, “These Digital Tapestries or Adobe Photoshop montages have more than a hundred layers. The artistry is revealed through manipulating images on layers that lay beneath the surface.

David Versluis the art gallery coordinator states, “In essence Sikkema’s show subtitled, ‘awe and oddity in the otherverse,’ is responding in a very lyrical manner to the second article of the Belgic Confession, which is one of the three confessions of the Reformed Church tradition. Harold mentions that, ‘The Bible reveals God's revelation of salvation but ‘the otherverse’ reveals the revelation of God through the unfolding of His creation.’”

In one of his pieces called Confluence, (42 in. x 42 in.) Harold suggests that, “You can stay safely in your hive but that's not where the action is…. ‘Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven’”

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dordt College presents “Beauty Given by Grace”

Sadao Watanabe
Adam and Eve
hand colored kappazuri dyed stencil print on washi paper

The following is from a Dordt College news release:

Dordt College presents “Beauty Given by Grace,” a Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) traveling exhibition of Japanese printmaker Sadao Watanabe. The collection of 50 original stencil prints, calendars, and Christmas cards is now on display in the Dordt College Art Gallery, located in the Campus Center, through October 16. The gallery is open free of charge to the public every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Department of Art and Design will host a reception Wednesday, September 17, from 6:45 to 8 p.m., with a program at 7. Refreshments will be provided and all are invited.  Journalist, essayist, and collector Mr. John A. Kohan (The Sacred Art Pilgrim) will be present to discuss the work of Sadao Watanabe.

Watanabe (1913-1996) converted from Buddhism to Christianity at 17 years old. He desired to express his new faith while preserving the traditional Japanese folk art of stencil dying, or katazome. “I have always aspired to portray stories and episodes from the Bible,” said Watanabe. “In this disturbed world, I would like to be able to heed the voice of heaven.”

His work is highly regarded throughout the world and has been displayed at the British Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Vatican Museum. Watanabe’s desire was to create art that could be enjoyed by everyone and displayed in ordinary settings.

Installation view

Installation view

The following is from an interview with David Versluis. Art Gallery Coordinator by Meagan DeGraaf of the Dordt Diamond:

MDG: Why do you think Dordt students should take time to look at this art?

DV: Beauty Given by Grace: The Biblical Prints of Sadao Watanabe is a special CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) traveling exhibition that brings together the striking and vibrantly colorful original prints produced by Japanese printmaker, Sadao Watanabe. A key aspect for viewers, particularly art and design students, is to see this show as the work of a professional artist who took his Christian faith seriously and was able to convincingly convey his faith in his artwork. Watanabe’s faith is apparent by using the genre of biblical themes as inspiration for developing his images. Watanabe’s prints are truly visual celebrations and accessible while enchanting our hearts and enlightening our minds. In addition, Watanabe’s body of work suggests to us a profound hope in the midst of our divided… troubled times. In this way Watanabe is a reformative artist who serves humanity by encouraging the viewer.

MDG: What does this show bring to the campus? (culture-wise)

DV: Watanabe is a twentieth-century example of how his Christian faith played an important role in his artwork. Artist and writer, Makoto Fujimura mentions that Watanabe is a “trans-modern” artist, which means that Watanabe's artwork is a "synthesis of tradition and innovation.”   A Christian artist in Japan is a great rarity and Watanabe’s perseverance as an artist is inspirational. Fujimura also states: “Wanatabe’s prints lead both a familiar and isolated existence, both publicly known and a novelty of sorts, navigating among the world of mingei (folk art), the Bible, and contemporary art.”

MDG: And why are you excited about it?

DV: I have been attracted to Sadao Watanabe’s distinctive style of biblical narratives since first seeing his work as a college student and when this exhibition came together I wanted it for the Dordt College community. The predominance of Watanabe’s rich autumnal colors found in his prints seem fitting as we move into this fall season. It’s the first time I’ve seen this many of his pieces—there’s nothing like seeing the actual work rather than reproductions. We need to thank CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) for supporting this exhibition. Special acknowledgment goes to Sandra Bowden and John Kohan for their generosity of loaning their collection to the exhibition. The show will be on view until October 19 before heading on to the next venue in Berkley, California.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

“The lilies of the field”: a Dordt College Art Commission

Lilies of the field: Matthew 6:28
David Versluis / Photography
ATS Digital Glass Printing by Skyline Design
Each panel is 24 inches x 24 inches
Commissioned by Dordt College
Science Building Addition, 2014
Dordt College Permanent Art Collection

Artist Statement:

Inspired by the Dordt College prairie, this collection of 12 images shows the Dordt College prairie flora from spring to winter. The series exudes the welcoming effects of nature and offers the viewer a wide array of imaginative possibilities for perception, pattern, scale, texture, color, and transparency.

Northwest Iowa was once covered by tall grass prairie. Today, however, native grassland is one of the most endangered ecosystems on earth and most people would have a hard time recognizing a natural prairie.

This collection, highlighting some of the 80 species of grasses and wildflowers in Dordt’s restored prairie, helps us celebrate the diverse and beautiful original ecosystem known as tall grass prairie.

Ox-Eye Daisy©2014 David Versluis

Butterfly Milkweed©2014 David Versluis

Common Milkweed©2014 David Versluis

Blue Vervain©2014 David Versluis

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