Sunday, May 26, 2019

Out of the Grey exhibit teaches students the many facets of art

April 3, 2019 by Adam Marsh, student editor

There’s a lot of work to do around reconciliation, and sometimes that comes through in Camosun College students’ artwork. First-year Visual Arts student Weezie Black is currently working on her submissions for Out of the Grey, an exhibit of first-year students’ work that will be on display at the Lansdowne campus. Black, who is from Tsawout First Nation—one of five bands that make up the W̱SÁNEĆ nation—hopes her work will challenge people’s mindsets. 

“To a degree, there are certain things in regard to my work that I’ve wanted to do, but I’ve been hesitant to… because it’s difficult to manifest; it’s kind of an emotional challenge in itself to bring those things into a literal, visual, tangible being,” she says.

Black says that social-justice, human-rights, and cultural issues facing people today all have a strong influence over her work; her end goal is to make those hardships processable. 

“We can all see it, and think about it, and talk about it,” she says. “And they’re not nice things to talk about, but sometimes it’s important to talk about.”

Camosun Visual Arts student Weezie Black and instructor John Boehme (photo by Adam Marsh/Nexus).

Camosun Visual Arts instructor John Boehme says the show is an opportunity for students to experience the professional aspects of being an artist: dealing with rejections and transforming the space where the artwork is shown into a gallery. He says students learn technical aspects like what makes proper lighting for a show and how far apart the art should be hung. 

“The 2,225 people that are employed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art aren’t all people who make art,” he says. “Same with the 35 people who are full-time employees at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria… They write about work and they install work.”

Then, of course, there is the judicial process for Out of the Grey; Boehme is judging student submissions alongside Visual Arts chair Brad Muir. Black says she feels the judging process—which may result in rejection of a piece from the exhibit—is fair. 

“We’re in a position where we need to be applying our thinking to that next level,” she says. “I find a challenge in it. I want my work to be accepted—or maybe not accepted, but to be regarded as professional level… I want to reach that level.” 

However, Black acknowledges that reaching that objective level is “a strange thought.”

“What is professionalism?” she asks. “I definitely feel that it’s beneficial to us as students to learn about, and to push ourselves to that point.” 

Black says she is getting to that level but is not quite there yet. But, she says, that doesn’t mean it’s not achievable. 

“I’m aware of where I feel like I need improvements and that at other points I’m like, ‘No, I’m being hard on myself.’ We all have that tendency to do so in art. It’s so important to be satisfied by it. It’s hard to be satisfied with something that’s subjective—I think it’s good, but is it good? I don’t know,” she says. “Let them decide.”

Out of the Grey
Opening reception 6 pm Friday, April 5
Continues Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7
Young 111, Young 117, Visual Arts Annex in pottery building
camosun.ca

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