Students keep it in their own perspectives

By Katelyn Montero

USD takes the idea of collaborative art to a whole new level as artists across campus participate in a series called “Beyond the book: Fresh Perspectives on the Print Collection.” Senior Kat Ayd is the mastermind and curator of the exhibition, which features 28 pieces in total. Of those 28 pieces, 14 are from the USD’s permanent print collection and 14 are student-made responses.

Recently donated by the Hoehn family, USD’s print collection features pieces from artists all over the world including Goya, Callot and Rembrandt. As an intern with the permanent collection, Ayd was exposed to these works and wanted to make them available for the USD community to enjoy.

“This exhibition came about as I was thinking about how to make the print collection accessible to the USD community and those who might not have a background in art,” Ayd said. “You can see their work and their inspiration behind it, and maybe that will change their experience with the piece as well.”

In order to achieve that goal, Ayd invited students to create artistic responses to these pieces. Those responses ranged from written word, paintings, drawings, sculptures, structures and even a piñata. A gallery talk was hosted on March 7 in the exhibition, where Ayd as well as some participating audiences gathered to explain their reactions to the original prints as well as the inspiration for their own work.

One of these responses was a photo taken by Olivia Igoe. Her photo was a response to an 18th century etching by William Hogarth.

“It made me think about how we scrutinize not just art, but the world around us,” Igoe said of Hogarth’s piece. “I wanted to challenge that idea.”

This challenge came in the form of a photographed stranger, which hung right next to Hogarth’s original print.

However, other pieces were much more interpretational. Senior Noe Olivas created a colorful piñata-like column that hung from the ceiling by a yellow labor rope. Olivas explained that the inspiration for his work began in his childhood.

“My father used to work here as a gardener and he used to tie the trees with this yellow rope to grow them into these beautiful lines.”

For Olivas, this rope represents the fusion of low art culture and high art culture, an idea which became the inspiration for his colorful column.

Olivas’ piece was displayed in the corner of the small gallery in Founders, which had been repainted with stripes of bright lime green. As the curator of the exhibition, Ayd wanted both the pieces as well as the room itself to span across different periods of time.

Ayd explained that each of the walls was painted with a different number of stripes that corresponds to different periods of art history. For example, a wall with three stripes of color would resemble that of Renaissance art, while a wall with no stripes would be more common in a contemporary art galleries. Additionally, the prints from the collection spanned from the 16th to the 21st century and portrayed a wide variety of subjects.

“This is really about perspective,” Ayd said. “It’s about our own perspective and the perspective imposed upon us by our environmental pressures. In the end, when you see this exhibition all together you can really see how other people think.”