‘This is a Portrait’ Exhibition Described as ‘Witty, Ironic and Excellent’ (Portland Press Herald)

(L. to r.) Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), One Portrait of One Woman, 1916, oil on composition board. Collection of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota; Byron Kim (born 1961), Emmett at Twelve Months #3, 1994, egg tempera on panel. Collection of the Artist; Eleanor Antin, Yvonne Rainer, 1971, exercise bike, mirror, roses, sweatshirt, horn, Collection of the artist, San Diego, California.

(L. to r.) Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), One Portrait of One Woman, 1916, oil on composition board.
Collection of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota; Byron Kim (born 1961), Emmett at Twelve Months #3, 1994, egg tempera on panel. Collection of the Artist; Eleanor Antin, Yvonne Rainer, 1971, exercise bike, mirror, roses, sweatshirt, horn, Collection of the artist, San
Diego, California.

Freelance writer and art historian Daniel Kany described the Bowdoin College Museum of Art exhibition, This Is a Portrait If I Say So: Identity in American Art, 1912 to Today, as “an excellent launching point for thinking about how art works.” Writing in the Portland Press Herald, he also described the show as “informative, entertaining and challenging.” The exhibition, which runs until October 23, 2016, features more than sixty abstract, symbolic, and conceptual portraits. It is, said Kany, “premised on the idea that people may be represented by qualities other than physical likeness.”

Taxidermy: The Virtual Reality of the Past (Smithsonian)

Polar Bear in Buck Center

Taxidermy makes a comeback, but The Bowdoin Bear in The Peter S. Buck Center for Health and Fitness, has always been in style.

Natural history museums around the world seek to revamp their reputations and technologies, reconsidering taxidermy displays. Once seen as revolutionary, the dioramas are now sometimes considered “charming throwbacks” or “dated anachronisms.”

Some museums hope to replace the displays with modern exhibits—for example, 3D glasses projecting digital displays of habitats. Yet, taxidermy is experiencing a small resurgence, particularly among young women.

Instant Coffee, Soy Sauce, Prints: Visiting Artist Teaches Non-toxic Printmaking

Visiting artist Liz Chalfin teaches artists how to work with non-toxic materials

In a recent printmaking class, visiting artist Liz Chalfin taught students how to prepare plates with a solution of instant coffee and water. Later, the students cleaned their plates with soy sauce instead of the typical ammonia.

The use of non-toxic materials is central to Chalfin’s work at the Zea Mays Printmaking studio she founded in Florence, Mass. Invited to Bowdoin as the fall 2016 visiting artist for the Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project, Chalfin offered demonstrations to Bowdoin printmaking students on safer printmaking practices, and also spoke about her art and artistic process. Some of her works are currently on display in the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance.

Read more about Liz Chalfin’s work with Bowdoin students.

Video: Symmetry Works! Where Math Meets Art

Symmetry is the buzzword on campus this week, as Santa Clara University mathematics professor Frank Farris showcases his unique style of digital art in a major, interdisciplinary, multi-event project called Symmetry Works! A lecture September 12 in Kresge Auditorium kicked off three days of events, including a workshop and a seminar, which are all open to the public. Meanwhile a selection of Farris’s work will be on display in the Main Gallery of the Edwards Center for Art and Dance until Sept. 23.

In his book Creating Symmetry: The Artful Mathematics of Wallpaper Patterns, published in 2015 by Princeton University Press, Farris explained a new process for creating art via computational technology based on the mathematical theory of symmetry. During the summer of 2016, two Bowdoin computer science students helped develop open-source software to make the Farris design process accessible to a wider artistic community.