Tag Archives: Art
While everyone stayed busy during the last few weeks of school studying for finals, four seniors dedicated their time and effort into keeping a Linfield tradition alive.
Although about 10 seniors signed up to help paint the bench, seniors Beth Turner, Katelyn Tamashiro, Brittani Drost and Nora Burnfield were the only students who showed up to paint the bench and represent the Class of ’13.
The four seniors spent three days painting Linfield’s senior bench through the rain and wind.
The seniors originally wanted to design the bench around the slogan “It’s your Linfield. Welcome home,” which was a prominent slogan their freshmen year at Linfield.
They decided to combine that idea together with an idea that Tamashiro had, which was to paint a quilt made up of the flags of all the countries students are from on the bench to represent how diverse Linfield is.
“I was really glad that everyone worked their ideas together and cooperated,” Turner said.
Dan Fergueson, director of college activities, asked Turner to lead the project after she attended one of the first meetings about painting the senior bench. Turner accepted the request, and is pleased with how the bench turned out.
“Just as we were painting it a lot of people would walk by and [give] a lot of positive feedback,” Turner said. “We’ve gotten nothing but positive comments.”
Samantha Sigler / Editor-in-chief
Samantha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes you have to look deeper to see the message behind a work of art, even with 3D glasses. Modou Dieng and Devon VanHouten-Maldonado challenge viewers to find a more complex meaning from the works displayed in their exhibit “An Interactive Installation,” which will be open for viewing until March 16 in the Linfield Gallery.
Cristopher Moss, the Linfield Gallery director and curator, invited artists Dieng and VanHouten-Maldonado to campus. Their work features Senegalese and Mexican figures from the past and explores the way today’s digital revolution embodies history.
“I was excited to do a show that was more academic, meaning that I am not trying to sell a product,” Dieng said. “I am trying to sort of create a conversation and an idea.”
The artists encourage visitors to wear 3D glasses while viewing the art. The glasses enhance the colors of the artwork, but are mainly included as an opportunity to use modern-day tools to analyze ethnicity and cultural history.
Dieng and VanHouten-Maldonado hope to inspire onlookers to alter their preconceived ideas about history.
“Specifically to this show, I think what we’re interested in is pointing out how uncertain reality is,” VanHouten-Maldonado said. “The way that we understand history, and in particular we are talking about our own cultural history, is so skewed by the way that we manipulate information.”
Junior art major Alyssa Dykgraaf commended the artists’ inclusion of the glasses.
“I think the 3D glasses were incredibly innovative,” Dykgraaf said in an email. “I’ve never seen them integrated into a gallery show before.”
When considering Linfield’s attributes, cultural diversity is one of the first things that comes to mind.
Dieng is Senegalese and VanHouten-Maldonado has Mexican heritage, and both cultural backgrounds are significant influences on their pieces.
“We wanted to do a show that talked about stuff that was actually important to us. And most importantly it talks about our culture,” VanHouten-Maldonado said. “And knowing that Oregon is sort of an insulated place, I think we felt like it was important to talk about.”
VanHouten-Maldonado resides in Portland, where he continues to develop his relatively new artist career.
Despite his young age, he has exhibited a considerable amount of work, of which he concentrates on showing in atypical spaces and promoting community involvement.
He has contributed to important local projects, such as “These Prison Walls,” as well as international projects like “Global Studios” in Dakar, Senegal. VanHouten-Maldonado created an alternative workspace to harbor experimental exhibits called The Bunker.
Dieng also lives and works in Portland, and he has presented his work in major cities, such as Paris, Madrid, New York and Los Angeles.
He is originally from Senegal, where he acquired a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He holds a master’s in fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and is an assistant professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. He also founded a laboratory for creative experimentation in Portland.
Dieng uses his art to speak about larger issues, such as race, gender, social status and urban history. He uses mixed media, photography, painting and installation to create his work. He embraces today’s technology and uses it to fuel his art.
“I think we have to reinvent authenticity, and technology is creating a new conversation about what’s authentic and what’s not,” Dieng said. “It changes our perception of authenticity.”
Dieng and VanHouten-Maldonado painted their work on wallpaper-like material. When the exhibit closes, all of the pieces will be torn off the walls and ruined. As tragic as it may seem, it’s actually what the artists intended to happen. It contributes to the exhibit’s theme that all moments in history are fleeting.
“We should feel very honored to the small population of people who will get to see these wonderful images in person,” Dykgraaf said. “And that, in and of itself, should be enough to get every student into the gallery to view the art.”
Carrie Skuzeski/Culture Editor
Carrie Skuzeski can be reached at email@example.com.
The Studio Gallery in the Miller Fine Arts Center displays a series of paintings called “Blind Corners, Portals, and Turning Points” by Ronald Mills de Pinyas, associate professor of art.
Mills started the paintings in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2010 and completed them in Oregon in 2011.
Mills was inspired by mixtures of ancient and colonial architecture, patterned folk art and the weavings of Zapotec, Mexico.
He also sought to instill the distinct mysticism, romance and worldview inherent in mestizo culture.
More personally, he said he worked through what sometimes seemed to be mysterious mazes of shifting pathways, unexpected events and miraculous opportunities in life—hence the title of the exhibit.
Each painting draws in the viewer’s attention with its unique blend of colors and abstract shapes.
While the paintings don’t actually contain distinct shapes, they produce a feeling of what Mills intended them to be.
“I have been painting since I was in high school, making art all of my life,” Mills said.
He said that his motivations have evolved over the years.
“I first started out of the sheer pleasure of making things and manipulating paint to make illusions,” Mills said.
He said that his motives later became more intellectual and were tied to cultural issues.
Eventually, he said that his art evolved to be more personal, aesthetic and original.
He now combines all these motivations to create complete pieces of art.
“I decided to ‘get serious’ as an undergraduate, thanks in part to having had mentors who convinced me, by example, that the pursuit of art was worth my greatest intellectual effort, emotional commitment and spiritual engagement,” Mills said. “The rest has required steady work and intense dedication.”
Mills has seven permanent murals on display in various universities: two in Linfield; one at the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro; one at the University of Costa Rica, San Ramon; one at a university in Cuernavaca, Mexico; one in Santa Ana, Costa Rica; and one at Oregon State University.
On top of all his murals, Mills has had his art displayed in various galleries, located everywhere from New York to Mexico.
“I love working and find the adventure is open-ended and though often difficult, always rewarding,” Mills said. “Being an artist frequently involves enduring and even thriving in solitude; acting in an open field of possibility without exterior direction or certainty. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Breanna Bittick/Staff writer
Breanna Bittick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students and professors gathered for a presentation about the worldwide art exhibit, CowParade, on Oct. 16 in TJ Day Hall.
CowParade is an art exhibit that consists of a group of life-size fiberglass cow statues.
Corporations sponsor local artists to paint these statues. The finished statues range from cow-shaped advertising space to symbolic representations of pastoral history or references to local legends.
CowParade began in Zurich, Switzerland, to promote business in 1998 and quickly spread to Chicago in 1999 and New York City in 2000.
CowParade events have been hosted in more than 50 cities worldwide.
Dr. Sarah Wagner-McCoy, an assistant professor at Reed College, linked CowParade to Irish national pride, the Great Chicago Fire and Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” and explores connections between these seemingly bland, inoffensive cow statues to the deeper cultural meanings that sit behind the public’s opinion of the statues.
The vandalism of the statues in Dublin was one of the topics that Wagner-McCoy focused on.
“The vandalism was surprising,” Wagner-McCoy said. “In other cities, the public loved the cows so much that they would defend them if anyone tried to vandalize them, but in Dublin, the cows were smashed, stolen, beheaded and covered in graffiti, even after the exhibit was officially over and the cows were moved to less public places.”
Wagner-McCoy’s explanation of this phenomenon went back to the British colonization of Ireland and the destruction of statues that Irish rebels saw as symbols of British rule.
She contrasted the vandalism in Dublin with the popularity of cows in Chicago, where the legend of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow is celebrated in songs, reenactments and even a movie.
Wagner-McCoy said that her interest in CowParade first came from working with children in New York.
“It was the summer that CowParade came to New York City, and the kids just loved them,” Wagner-McCoy said. “We took field trips to see them and had activities based around them. There was one activity where the kids made their own little cows out of paper.”
The second time she encountered CowParade, Wagner-McCoy said she was in Dublin when the exhibit returned to the city.
“The teenagers got to paint one of the cows as a group, but they just were not interested,” Wagner-McCoy said. “It was basically a ‘No’ cow. They had these stickers with the red circles with diagonal slashes through them, saying no to drugs, marijuana, guns, all these things that they thought the kids would do, and the kids were supposed to paste these stickers onto this cow statue. It was incredibly insulting.”
The weird contrast between the children’s reactions to the cows in New York City and in Dublin intrigued Wagner-McCoy, she said.
“Pastoral images are everywhere,” Wagner-McCoy said. “It seems like a shallow hype, but it’s also very complex.”
The event was sponsored by the English Department.
Sharon Gollery/Culture editor
Sharon Gollery can be reached at email@example.com.
Transformed from an Iranian girl, suffering from restrictions of religion and gender injustice, to a “free” man who was recently granted asylum by the U.S. government, senior Shayne Oanes shared his entire 24-year-old life story, except for his real name.
Difficulty of being a woman in Iran
“I always felt I was a different person among my peers. It was hard to be a woman in Iran because of the way [people in Iran] treat women,” Oanes said.
Coming from a poor family in South Iran, Oanes’ mom had 20 siblings. The highest education she received was through fifth grade elementary school, because she was told it was enough for a woman to survive in the household. She married Oanes’ father when she was 15 years old.
“My dad forced my mom to marry him. My mom’s family also wanted to get away from her,” Oanes said.
Born into an extremely religious family with Islamic values, Oanes said he never felt comfortable with who he was because he didn’t even believe in God. He attempted his first suicide when he was 18 years old.
On the way to finding himself
When Oanes was 10 years old, he took a 20-day trip to India. Oanes said he was totally lost in India because he couldn’t speak English, and he realized that learning English is the way to communicate with people around the world. He started to learn English and made connections with relatives who lived in the United States.
In May 2006, he came to the United States with his father, who is a well-known filmmaker in Iran. As an assistant producer for a documentary on the role of the United Nations in mediating the debates over Iran’s development of nuclear programs, Oanes got a Media Visa (I-visa), a nonimmigrant visa for temporary travel.
When he came to Oregon to visit his uncle, he talked with Floyd Schrock, assistant director for International Admission, who promised to give him financial aid for studying at Linfield.
In February 2007, Oanes started at Linfield and decided to study psychology.
Oanes said that before he came to America, he watched Disney and Hollywood movies and thought that he knew America pretty well, but he still felt uncomfortable about the values in U.S. culture. He said that even though America is still a religious society, it was a great move for him from Iranian culture.
“I would never say that the U.S. has a big problem with religion, but you can definitely see the influences of religion on cultures. Religion plays a big role here,” Oanes said.
After he heard that women in America were unable to vote until the 1920s, he said that he realized women’s rights as a universal issue women in every culture still need to fight for.
“Once we try to make laws for a whole set of people, we get injustice,” Oanes said.
In gender theory class, he met Brenda Marshall, chairwoman of the Theater & Communication Arts Department, who taught him the politics of power distribution.
“She opened my eyes to the reality of why women’s progress is still hindered in the Middle East,” he said. “[The class] helped me put my experiences back home into perspective, because I come from a patriarchal society where men dominate all arenas.”
Changes coming from inside
However, positive influences from his outside environment didn’t stop his second suicide attempt after three years of being in the United States.
Fortunately, at the moment of having the pills, he said he realized that he was just born in the wrong body, wrong time and wrong society; so, he went to the hospital alone.
“The change I needed had to come from the inside, not the outside world,” Oanes said. “Transgender was the missing piece that completed the picture for me.”
Since then, he said the depression has been lifted and everything makes sense for the first time. However, he also got some criticism from feminists who thought he became a man because he wanted dominant power.
In summer 2009, he went to a homosexual community in San Francisco, where he applied for asylum and made friends who were in the same situation as him.
He said homosexuality is not allowed in Iran. After being discovered once, homosexual people would suffer floggings and would be killed if found more than three times.
“My young generation in Iran wants to have more freedom. They are inspired by Western values — liberty and
individual expression,” Oanes said.
He also said many newspapers get closed every day and the editors go to jail because they point out the problems in the society that should be taken care of.
“The Middle East is getting ready to adjust to the society, moving away from religion that the government enforced,” Oanes said.
Free expression of art
Once the confusion of his gender lifted, he started to express himself freely starting with his art piece exhibit in Portland.
Oanes’ Islam & Homosexuality gallery, which features a projector installation with 40 photos, runs April 8 through May 28 in Mile Post 5.
“I never thought my life was relevant to others. This semester is the most wonderful time for me, because I became an artist and even wrote my artist statement,” he said.
In his artist statement, he said: “Everyone has a story worth telling, but some of us have been told otherwise. Islam & Homosexuality is one of those stories deemed too unnatural, perhaps possessive of a counter-cultural quality, a dangerous blend of a frustrated generation of Iranian youth aching for the freedom to tell their stories and the harsh reality of everyday oppression. Islam & Homosexuality lies in the narrow line between a frustration for expression and the outright brutal oppression of the voice of a generation in need.”
The art piece includes 40 photo shots of two girls wearing loose-fitting chadors and rusaris that cover the hair. They hug, kiss and take off each other’s clothes. At the end, both girls are naked, only wearing thongs.
Junior Emily Shults was a model in the photos.
“Body is a good thing; no one should be ashamed about it,” she said.
As a graduating student of Linfield, Oanes has his proposed plan for the future. He said he is planning on making a documentary on transgender experiences in the United States this summer.
Through the Department of Psychology, he said he designed a study to test if viewing a realistic image of the transgender community, where they share their own life stories and engage in perspective-taking, would change the negativity in American society toward people who don’t conform to the binary definitions of gender.
He said the findings allow him to believe that viewing the transgender community in a realistic human light and attempting to take their perspectives could reduce negative attitudes toward this minority group. His effort could be effective in the future.
His plan includes more than the transgender or homosexual population.
“In this narrow-minded society, why don’t we let men cry? Why is homosexuality a gender disorder when I am healthier than I have ever been? The most basic thing for human beings is emotion, [my effort] is not just for homosexuality, but humanity,” Oanes said.
Jaffy Xiao/Online editor
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