100 Proof Exhibits Student Art

By Brooke Schultz

News Editor

When 100 Proof, the student-focused art gallery, came back for its annual show, it did so with a twist. The show, based on the mo- tif of “work,” was curated in partnership with the C.V. Starr Center for the American

Composed Chaos—New Orleans
Megan Dulin’s piece, entitled “Composed Chaos—New Orleans.”

Expe- rience’s Museums on Main Street project.“For this show, I inherited the basic prem- ise, which I guess you had all been doing for a few years at least, but this year, Jean Wort- man over at the Starr Center, had approached me over the summer and asked if there was any way that we could do something in con- junction with that. My thought was that we could frame the show, thematically, about the notions of work so that we could hook it into what was happening in the Starr Center and Chestertown more broadly,” Dr. Katherine Markoski, director of the Kohl Gallery, said.Dr. Markoski wrote the call for works that welcomed all students from any discipline to submit artworks that, “were grappling in one way or another with work,” she said. After the submissions had been compiled, she sent them to Betsy Johnson, curatorial assistant at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gar- den, who then acted as juror and selected all the participating artists.“The artists included in 100 Proof have ambitiously sought to visualize the complex- ities surrounding work and the labor force today,” Johnson said, written on the wall of text that hangs at the entrance of the gallery. “Often deeply personal, they challenge us to think more broadly about how we define work and how it, in turn, defines us.”

The theme of work appeared through a variety of different mediums and through diverse interpretation. “It’s hugely varied,” Dr. Markoski said.

“We had students who were thinking about the work of making artwork, work as manual or physical labor, preparation of work – psychological work – using all different types of techniques, so there’s sculpture, there’s installation work, photography, collage. There real- ly is a huge range, which I think is very great.”

Senior Megan Dulin is one of the artists in this year’s show. She has participated in the exhibit in the years past, and appreciates the added nuance of this theme.

“I think having this year’s 100 Proof in conjunction with the Museum on Main Street exhibition was a great way to bring the town and WC together,” she said. ‘The Way We Worked’ theme brought about an amazing dialogue between each artist even though most of us have never met face to face. I’ve also noticed this theme functioning as an escalator of sort, allowing visitors to more easily grip the conceptual meanings behind each artwork.”

Dulin considers herself an environmental artist, who works with “trashed or unwanted material.”

“As a child, I was interested in the odd notion of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,’” she said. “I always thought to my- self: How could these things possibly be considered trash if they are treasure at the same time? So I began finding this so-called ‘trash’ everywhere I went. It’s funny how old habits die hard, because I haven’t stopped, however,

now, instead of just collecting these discard- ed objects, I use them to make sculptures and installations.”

Dulin’s piece, “Composed Chaos – New Orleans”, is made of completely recycled, found material and is her first experience working with collage.

“This piece was originally made for my Death Perception exhibition last fall, and demonstrates the work of an artist,” she said. “The art on view includes that of musicians, chefs, storytellers, illustrators, painters, street poets, news writers, prostitutes, con artists— all from New Orleans–and finally myself: the amalgamator, imposer or curator of sort. Each piece was collected in the City of the Dead where the arts are indefinitely celebrated. “Composed Chaos –New Orleans” was made in admiration and remembrance of the bustling art community I witnessed during my first visit.”

Dulin’s work hangs in the gallery’s entry- way and combines newspaper cut outs, card- board, rosary beads, and photographs in a varied composition.

Sophomore Madi Shenk is the gallery in- tern at Kohl Gallery and, on top of submitting to the show, she is giving a gallery talk on the exhibition on April 9.

The 100 Proof sign in the Kohl Gallery, which can be seen from the entrance of the exhibit

“I’m basically just going to be talking about what we do here, what the exhibition is about,” she said. “Explain to the audience what the show is about and the ways in which people have interpreted it. As you move about the room, it’s kind of different interpretations of what the word means.”

Shenk has also participated in the show, and interpreted the theme as process of psyching one’s self up for work.
Her rendition, a small, colored pencil and

chalk pastel piece, depicts a woman in a bath- tub, a mug on a stand next to her, a cat resting below.

“It [the theme] definitely changed it up. It was a little specific for me,” she said. “This year, I had a couple friends over and we all just got out art supplies and I was like, ‘I’m going to make something to put in the show,’ so I basically just took the theme and just made something one night, just for one. I approached it differently.”

Shenk usually works with oil paint and does a lot of portraiture, which she did try to incorporate into the piece originally before deciding to depict something different.

“I get bored with myself sometimes. I specifically like to paint people, but I do try to get out of the box, which is one of the reasons that having a theme for a show that I’m looking forward to submitting something for is a good exercise for artists as well,” she said.

Madi Shenk
Madi Shenk with her piece

The show does bring in work from students who aren’t necessarily pursuing an art major or minor, and adds an interesting element to the work present.

“I do know a lot of people who don’t take art classes here and are still really creative, so I definitely think it’s awesome that the show is open to those other people,” Shenk said.

100 Proof: Art Works is open through April 9 in the Kohl Gallery, Wednesday-Fri- day, 1-6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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