Living Art is a visiting artist series supported by the Art Department at the University of Puget Sound and funded by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Living Art provides our students, staff, faculty, and the Tacoma community with deep exposure to the art world today through opportunities to learn from and develop professional relationships with nationally and internationally renowned artists, art critics, and curators of modern and contemporary art. Artists who are invited to participate in the Living Art program visit Puget Sound for seven to ten days, interacting closely with our art majors in the classroom via lectures, demonstrations of technique, individual meetings with students, and constructive critiques of student artwork. Artists also interact with the community at large through public events including lectures, town hall style meetings, and exhibitions of their work in the Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound. This fall, the Art Department is proud to welcome two artists to campus as part of the Living Art program: Jeanne van Heeswijk and Randy Bolton. Van Heeswijk will be in residence at the University of Puget Sound October 21 through October 28, 2013 and Bolton will be in residence November 3 through November 8, 2013.
Jeanne van Heeswijk is a visual artist who facilitates the creation of lively and diversified public spaces, typically from abandoned or derelict sites. Her socially engaged art practice generates new forms of encounter while challenging bureaucratic conventions and acquired rules. Van Heeswijk trained at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht and the Academie voor Beeldende Vorming in Tilburg in the Netherlands. She had her first solo exhibition in 1991 and has since exhibited at venues worldwide, including numerous biennials. Van Heeswijk’s projects distinguish themselves through their strong social involvement, often among hundreds of participants and over an extended period of time. She sees herself as a mediator who generates “interspaces,” contexts and crossovers within which new relations are established between groups of people and institutions. These connections lead to public improvements, self-organization of local groups, self-sustaining enterprises, and a stronger community identity.
Randy Bolton, a printmaker, teaches at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, where he has been head of the print media department since 2002. Bolton’s work is characterized by an exploration of images that seem familiar and comforting on first glance, but become strange and disturbing on further consideration. His prints borrow from and adapt the nostalgia-evolving illustrations of early children’s books and science texts. In their original contexts these pictures served as visual tools to help educate young minds about acceptable morals and beliefs. In his work, however, Bolton has reclaimed these illustrations with a more subversive intent. By digitally altering and recombining fragments of these old illustrations, new meanings are suggested in which an undercurrent of uncertainty or apprehension undermines the initial flash of familiarity and comfort. Images originally intended to reflect childhood security and innocence become ironic metaphors of a chaotic world that is threatened by forces beyond our true comprehension and control. Bolton’s work is about the power these illustrations have in shaping our view of the world as children, following by the disillusionment that occurs when these images fail us as adults. Despite the seemingly amusing quality of the images he employs, there is an element of concern in Bolton’s work and a vague feeling that the valuable things in life are in jeopardy. Prior to his time at Cranbook, Bolton was professor of art at the University of Delaware. He received his B.F.A. from University of North Texas and his M.F.A. from The Ohio State University. He has taught at institutions across the country, including four years at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.