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Posts tagged ‘exhibit’

An interview with Clare Olsen (part two)

This is the second installment of an email interview between Renee Jain, a 5th year Cal Poly architecture student who is working on her thesis, and Clare Olsen, an assistant professor in architecture, who is working on a winter quarter installation in Kennedy Library. You can read the first part of their interview in an earlier post, which includes a short video on how Clare is approaching color in this sculpture.

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Architecture time machine!

Second year architecture students are stepping into the past with the help of Kennedy Library’s Special Collections. The upcoming exhibit, Atelier Morgan, features an inspiring collection of Julia Morgan’s sketches and drawings. As part of the exhibit, every second year architecture student at Cal Poly participated in the Julia Morgan Symposium, where they had a chance to look through the Morgan Papers to draw inspiration.

Architecture instructors rarely choose the same projects for their students, so this is an opportunity for the students to work on the same subject and explore Cal Poly’s Special Collections, architecture professor Robert Arens said.

“Students will take this opportunity to see the Special Collections and also see this great exhibit,” Arens said. The exhibit opens at Kennedy Library on November 9, 2012.

Faculty selected one of three Morgan projects to focus on for the quarter, having students design structures or create drawings that are inspired by, but not necessarily derivative of, Morgan’s iconic work.

Photo of Cal Poly architecure students review Julia Morgan papers“Everyone’s taking kind of a different approach to it,” Arens said. He described the challenge for students: “How do you fit into an existing context and kind of a revered one? How do you respond to that without imitation?”

And the students’ experience with these revered works has inspired them too.

For architecture student Karin Bjorkman, who is working on a sketch inspired by Morgan’s work at Hearst Castle, access to the Morgan Papers is a special privilege, she said. “It was really touching that they brought it down to us,” Bjorkman said.

For architecture student Eli Beckman, that privilege is also an incredible way to study something first-hand. “It’s a great sort of primary source as to what Julia Morgan’s work looked like,” Beckman said.

The Atelier Morgan exhibit is November 9, 2012 – January 11, 2013, with an opening on November 9 from 3-4pm in the second floor Gallery at the Commons. The opening is followed by The College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s 2012 Hearst Lecture Series featuring Victoria Kastner, historian for Hearst Castle and author of two books: “Hearst Castle: The Biography of a Country House” and “Hearst’s San Simeon: The Gardens and the Land.” The lecture will be from 4-5pm in the Business Rotunda at Cal Poly.

The architecture students’ Morgan-inspired projects will go on display in the Gallery at the Commons on the second floor of Kennedy Library, January 14 – February 1, 2013.

UPDATE: See photos from the exhibit opening on our Flickr.

Learn more about Kennedy Library’s Special Collections.

More information about the Julia Morgan exhibit is available at Atelier Morgan.

– Victoria Billings

Business librarian hand-stitches six colleges

Mark Bieraugel, Cal Poly’s new business librarian, stitched six funny, insightful and detailed pieces inspired by the six colleges at Cal Poly. Look closely at the fabric and thread – there is a lot of humor, content and meaning stitched into each one on display in the nook near Julian’s on the second floor. I’ve been over a few times and keep discovering something new and clever with each visit. There is Lady Gaga in a Twitter stream with Plato (who was just re-tweeting Socrates anyway). Then there’s the electroluminescent wire which blinks and flashes like a petite neon sign (admittedly I noticed that on my first time). Mark found inspiration for his needlework in his new professional reality at Cal Poly and in unexpected places…

Mark with exhibit

What inspired you to do this project and how did your first few months here inform your work?
I was so happy to work at Kennedy Library I wanted to do something for Cal Poly. I created one piece of artwork for each of the six colleges. To get ideas for the pieces I visited Kennedy Library’s Special Collections and looked at vintage pictures of Cal Poly. Seeing photos from the 1930s accounting classes inspired the Orfalea College of Business piece (top photo). The piece “Big Data” is based on accountants still doing much of the same thing today, crunching numbers, although they don’t use big adding machines with paper spewing out of them.

How did you dream up the ideas you depicted? Twitter stitching detail
Creating art can sometimes be seen as solving a problem. Creating a single piece of art to represent a whole college, say liberal studies, was a real problem but a fun challenge. For liberal studies I love the idea of a conversation across time, how great minds respond to earlier voices, and talk back to them. I toyed with a bunch of ideas, but none seemed to catch fire. After months of working on it off and on I was very frustrated. Then I had an idea: what is Twitter but a massive conversation? And this led to me think, what if there was Twitter over the past 2,700 years? And who would tweet? (see above detail)

College of Engineering Baby QuiltFor engineering (left) I wanted to represent all of the different types of engineering here at Cal Poly, but in a light-hearted way, so why not a baby quilt? But a baby quilt with a stitched Jarvik artificial heart, a fullerene, and Ohm’s Law done all in baby eye friendly red, blue, and silver thread.

I love the Twitter feed! What are a few of your favorite elements of that piece?
I love putting subtle and almost hidden things in my pieces. Sappho has traditionally been associated with violets, so her icon is that flower. Shakepeare’s icon is an ambigram of ‘short shift’ from artist Mike Wallace, it looks like one word but is actually both words. Faith Ringgold is a wonderful contemporary artist who works in textiles and creates amazing painted story quilts. And Lady Gaga, the person currently with the most Twitter followers, had to have a voice in my piece.

The piece for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design reflects an understanding of the natural world that strikes me as close to your heart. Can you say more about what’s going on there?
For this college (below) I really tapped into my own personal interests. I love paper, and it seemed right to create a sort of blueprint. The Fibonacci sequence, which is a series of numbers added to itself, fascinates me, and is related to the golden spiral and the rectangles for each ‘room’ in my dream house. Lazarus taxa, which are plants and animals thought extinct then rediscovered comprise the landscape surrounding my dream home. The idea that something is lost, such as a tree species, than found again, strikes me as amazing.College of Architecture stitched

What do you like best about stitching?

I like that the combination of fabric and thread, or paper and thread, have dimension – the thread raises off of the surface. And that we all know fabric, we wear it every day, it is familiar and we feel it against our skin.

How is this series different than what you’ve done in the past?
For each of the six pieces I forced myself to create pieces which were bold and almost sculptural. The pieces are huge for hand embroidered pieces, some are two feet wide and a foot tall. And one used very cool technology. For the science and mathematics piece (detail below) I used electroluminescent wire to show the bioluminescence of the creatures, the piece glows and blinks. For business it was the use of ribbons, cascading “paper” streaming down to the floor. For agriculture I used wooden embroidery hoops masquerading as pig, rabbits, and chicken eggs. The Twitter piece is like a scroll, but on linen instead of papyrus or paper. And for architecture the piece is hand stitched entirely on dark blue paper with white thread.

Detail of Science and Math Stitching

What are you currently working on?
I really want to hand embroider a life-sized coelacanth, a six foot long deep-water fish with a fascinating history. Actually, I want to embroider two of these fish as there are two species of coelacanths, a blue one and a glorious gold one. So one coelacanth in various blue threads and one in all in metallic gold threads.

Anything else we should know?

For the agriculture piece in the show look closely around the pig for a series of letters. There is a clue to what is spelled in the title of this artwork (click below for full image).
You have to see Mark’s work in person to appreciate the detail and thoughtfulness. Check it out on the second floor of the library by June 8!

See more images of the six colleges on Kennedy Library’s Flickr.
Check out Mark’s art on his Flickr.
College of Agriculture stitching

– Karen Lauritsen

Hurry! Enter our Book Collection Competition!

Do you love books? So do we! As part of our very exciting spring exhibit, Pressing Forward: The Book Club of California at 100 we’re holding a Book Collection Competition.You’re invited to enter!

UPDATE: The 2012 winners have been announced!

First, do you know about the Book Club of California? They are awesome! Founded in 1912 they are a “a non-profit organization of book lovers and collectors who have a special interest in Pacific Coast history, literature, and fine printing.” You can learn more about them on the BCC website, which includes photos of warm and inviting reading spaces and libraries that can be found at their San Francisco location.

Second, as a potential winner of the Book Collection Competition, you may receive a one-year membership to the venerable Book Club of California, as well as the chance to have your loved books included in our exhibit at Cal Poly.

What’s involved? A photo of at least seven of your thematically related books and a short write-up. And a simple form for our records. So, if you’re like my uncle who was totally into collecting anything by or about Jack London, get out your camera and snap a photo. Or maybe you’re a music lover with a dozen books on jazz? Ponies? The solar system?

Read more about how to enter at Kennedy Library. The deadline is February 23.

Oh! Also, as part of the exhibit extravaganza, mark your calendars for April 5. That’s when we’ll host the opening reception and talk with a very special guest (stay tuned) as well as an interactive Science Cafe on Japanese Bookbinding with expert bookbinder Erin Zamrzla.