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In the past months the Department of Art and Design has been excited with the preparation of the students’ exhibition at the QCC Art Gallery. Professors and students alike have been working hard to present to the college and the community the fruits of our artistic ideas, our searching, and our day to day developments. As an art professor few things beat the satisfaction one feels when observing the smiles on students’ faces when told that their work is going to be framed, or put on a pedestal, and exhibited in an art gallery. Few things beat that excitement; one of them is hearing the students whose work was not selected say “that they will continue doing what they love and there is always next time.” This exhibition is a celebration for all professors and staff members of the Art and Photography Department, but above all is a celebration of all of our students.
Department of Art and Design
Liaison to the QCC Art Gallery
It is with great pleasure that the Department of Art and Design in conjunction with the QCC Art Gallery and with the support of the Queensborough Student Association presents the 2009 Student Exhibition.
Queensborough has had a long tradition of supporting excellence in the arts and congratulates the students whose work was selected to be represented in this exhibition. Some of the best examples of the skill and creativity of advanced students in the various disciplines are represented: drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, as well as commercial and computer-based design media.
The program in visual arts at Queensborough has always stressed the importance of a foundation in the basic visual language of the arts and the skills used in creative expression whether that be traditional modalities or the contemporary computer–based forms.
Javier Cambre notes that in his Two-Dimensional Design classes students work within an extensive sequence of exercises that deal with abstract principles of design, such as figure-ground relationships, repetition, variation, the grid, etc., always building up in terms of complexity and experience from previous assignments. “Design as a process of discovery and development is an important component of the class and this is emphasized within the manual experience of collage, sketching and drafting. At the end of the semester students experiment with compositions applying those design principles in a creative way, for example, the creation of an abstract drawing that explores value, line and shape, the (de)construction of a cubist portrait of Picasso by slicing into a collage a photograph of the artist, and the invention through drafting of an architectural abstraction.”
In Professor Cambre’s Drawing classes, students engage in a variety of exercises that build upon observation of still-life set-ups that deal with contour, texture and volume. “After an experience is gained with graphite drawings, at the middle of the semester students switch to drawing from sources, doing studies from master drawers from different art periods such as Surrealism, Expressionism or Japanese Art, therefore inviting the students to interplay craftsmanship with content and also to experiment with other techniques and mediums such as cross-hatching with felt tip pens, and ink and brush drawings. The semester culminates with a return to drawing from real life, usually drawing portraits.”
In her painting and drawing classes Liz Di Giorgio endeavors to “encourage, coax and empower” her students to work in a way that best expresses their most urgent artistic concerns and instincts. “In my practice as a teacher, I expose my students to a wide variety of past and contemporary art. I often focus on artists whose personal vision exceeded or defied the constraints of their time. When teaching drawing I discuss the various elements that comprise drawing (line, tone, scale, composition, and perspective.) I show my students a range of drawings by old and modern masters. Some of these drawings (by Matisse, for example) utilize line alone, while others (such as those by Seurat) nearly eliminate line in favor of tone. Students’ very first steps toward artistic expression are as important to me as the work of a more advanced student and I strive to create a safe and respectful learning environment for them. When that atmosphere prevails, progress and authenticity invariably follow.” Queensborough offers a broad range of Photography courses directed both to the needs of students seeking a professional career as well as those who will transfer to advanced degree programs in the fine arts. The teaching of photography, too, is based on an underlying visual language comprised of light, the moment, and the design principles shared with and common to the other 2-dimensional arts. Photography students are encouraged to see this visual language both a tool for self-expression as well as self-discovery.
Jules Allen teaches a range of photography courses from introductory to advanced. He believes that teaching is a multifaceted commitment. “Not only does the teacher have to be engaged in his own work, but he also has to be committed to his students. I have found it is invaluable that I share as much of what I do with the students as possible. This is not just a way of informing and engaging them but often provides a way of clarifying and defining my own work.
In teaching photography, a primary stimulation and motivation lies in the idea that light is a source of aesthetic substance as well as our daily bread. Once students find out the endless possibilities in capturing and using light for their own reference, it creates an excitement and a desire to explore and create. In addition to the ‘delight’ of capturing ‘the light’, this discovery is often nurtured by the challenge of learning to use manual tools for the first time.
In Photojournalism students are forced to engage with strangers and often find within them a depth of feeling that they can learn to transfer to the images that they create. For many this is an exciting new activity and a no-lose situation. My role is to always be there to help insure that within this effort is always progress.”
In Anissa Mack’s Digital Art and Three-Dimensional courses experimentation and self-critique are stressed, as well as technical mastery across all areas. "Students at QCC are incredibly excited to see professional examples of contemporary art and design. I believe the more they see, not only do they become more educated consumers of visual knowledge, but they are able to see themselves as contributing members of the larger creative community—which drives them to work harder in classes."
Ken Golden teaches Digital Arts. “History, theory, practice (practice as craft, talent), vision, voice, identity are aspects of my teaching philosophy. My students are members of the many groups that comprise the enrollment of today’s Queensborough Community College; this convergence of diverse backgrounds, genders, ages and races is a welcome challenge to an approach where education is a process in which the teacher and the students learn from each other. The teacher must enrich, encourage and educate, providing the technical knowledge necessary for the expression of creativity and contributing to intellectual growth with history and critical theory.
I, as a teacher, benefit from the enthusiasm of my students, which enlivens, informs and keeps me current. I am an artist, active in the community, and I bring my experiences to the classroom. The meaning of work and how it is communicated are important skills we develop together. In turn, knowledge of our audience(s) is an essential part of understanding what and how our messages are created and received.
Drawing on my background as a fine artist, teacher and a commercial artist I am able to encourage my students to master technical skills, not as an end in itself, but as a means to creative expression.” He quotes Dorothea Lange, “Ours is a time of the machine and ours is a need to know that the machine can be put to creative effort.”
Greg Pitts teaches Ceramics. “As a student and now, teacher, I find that some of the most valuable elements of my education conveyed to me by mentors and teachers were resourcefulness, curiosity, rule-breaking, problem solving, vision and self-esteem. My mission as a teacher is to motivate and nurture these qualities in each of my students, bring hands and brain together, and to help cultivate tools that address the fundamental way one approaches art-making, work and life.”
Michael Ritchie who teaches Three-Dimensional Design and Illustration often assigns his students projects that use familiar themes that must be contextualized and rearranged. “This forces students into new visual territories. They begin to recognize their favorite subject matter is composed of shapes and colors that they can control visually.”
Phil Listengart teaches Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Design. He recalls an observation about the profession of teaching by the noted violinist, Jascha Heifetz. “Violin playing is a perishable art…it must be passed on as a personal skill; otherwise, it is lost…” Like those who teach English, Swahili or Sanskrit, Professor Listengart believes “that those who inform students on the fine arts are also the teachers of language; spoken language has structure, content and style, all of which provide meaning and character; the pictorial and dimensional arts are equally constructed.”
As a teacher of the three-dimensional arts it has been Professor Listengart’s intent to enlighten in a manner which moves from the elemental to the complex; “after all,” he notes, “we consider the cell to understand the organism; we investigate the sentence to illuminate the page; we listen to notes to anticipate chords and harmonies; and equally, we study form to envision the complexity of structure.” In conclusion Phil Listengart asks: “What is the purpose of art? How does it communicate? How does it cleanse? These are only some of the spokes of the wheel that make for a class in three-dimensional media.”
Some of the students in this show have set out on a journey to become artists, others will have creativity and the arts as their own possession and traveling companions on whatever journey they chose to take, or wherever that journey takes them. We congratulate them all on their accomplishments at Queensborough and wish them the best for their continued success.
Chair, Department of Art and Design
"I have been teaching drawing and painting for the past 16 years. My teaching philosophy is simple: encourage students, make them work seriously and have fun at the same time. Students create their best work when they receive good, solid instruction and when they feel encouraged to explore and to "try their own way". They learn to trust their instincts and come up with incredible paintings and drawings. They feel I am on their side and are not afraid to try and experiment.
"I demand that they show up for every class and concentrate on their work in a serious way. My best indicator of their dedication is when I see them skipping their breaks because they are so involved in their painting or drawing."
"I believe in teaching students to have a broad knowledge of design and to be confident designers through developing visual communication skills, learning fundamental knowledge, conceptualization, understanding and utilizing information, and being exposed to up-to-date technology and software. I also try to convey the idea of producing high quality designs and emphasize that less can be more."