PIECES and PARTS

Art History Student Exhibit on Display at Mark O. Hatfield Library December 4, 2015 through February 12, 2016

This exhibit – partly sponsored by a 2015 Mellon Grant Learning by Creating – is the result of a highly collaborative project that has involved all students from the course ARTH 121W-Art Historical Inquiry: What is Art About? taught by Professor Ricardo De Mambro Santos in fall 2015.

Throughout the semester, students have explored themes, concepts and examples related to the study of art in the attempt to better understand the cultural implications as well as the historical conditions that may have led to the emergence of different definitions and functions of art.

As a symbiotic complement to these intellectual explorations, students were also invited to reflect upon this set of concepts and categories through the elaboration of their “own” image-based work. In other words: “Hands on!”

Such a creative and critical process was pursued according to the following working plan:

  1. Students were asked to choose one image that could be either an artwork or any “visual construction” taken from the mass media or even from their daily lives.
  2. Students were then invited to analyze the stylistic features, the semantic implications and the potential discursive practices embedded in these images, or “pieces."
  3. Finally, they were requested to elaborate on their own reinterpretation, with a “visual critique,” of their selected images and write a critical commentary on the interpretive tools and goals that they have intentionally adopted, thus stressing the “parts” students have consciously performed in this hermeneutic and creative process.

Accordingly, the title of the exhibition plays with the concepts of “pieces” and “participation” to underline how a historically-conducted study of the “arts” can significantly improve – and further stimulate – one’s critical understanding of image-related phenomena.

The Curators: Fall 2015 Students from ARTH 121-W: Art Historical Inquiry: What is Art About? and Prof. Ricardo De Mambro Santos (Department of Art History)