MORRISTOWN, NJ - The annual Artist’s Cafe at Unity is about showcasing the creative work of all of the students and in “normal” times, we would be able to fill the Common Room and the hallways with the work the students have made over the course of this whole year. We would go on a Gallery walk throughout the school with our young artists to see their work and to hear them talk about each piece, about the different art processes and mediums they engaged in, about the choices they made and about their own thought processes as they made each piece.
But these are not “normal” times and we don’t get to talk to all of them in-person. So I find myself in the position of sharing my own thoughts with you about the collective process that has transpired over these past twelve weeks...
I love and teach Art because it’s a language that extends our ability to understand and interpret the world we live in and our own experiences, oftentimes, beyond what words can do. Sometimes there just aren’t words enough and sometimes words are just too tricky….Certainly this time is one of those times for a lot of us. Teaching organic, process-based art making at a distance presented the challenge of finding ways to ensure that all students would have access to full-on creative processes with whatever range of materials they might have in their own homes. We worked a lot of found objects, with cardboard, paper and tape and glue and nature- made materials and paint and sometimes even lipstick or nail polish, if paint was not available.
The journey has been wild and wooly and wonderful. I taught LIVE classes grounded in Art History and art appreciation, each including a “making” component. I taught: Sustainable Printmaking using recycled materials; 3D Sculpture using found objects, inspired by the work of Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, and Joseph Cornell; Surrealism; Book Arts and Artists Books as objects; Mosaics, using eggshells and found objects.
In addition to work that emerged from the Live Art Classes, our on-line gallery represents the work students made inspired by Canadian sculptor, Angela Bulloch, American multi-media artist Shinique Smith, the self-portraits of American artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, the fashion of Dutch designer, Iris van Herpen, the Nature art of Andy Goldsworthy, the paper cut-outs of Matisse, the Pop Art movement, the Picsart ToonMe Challenge, the Getty Museum Art Challenge...There have been explorations in 2D art with light, shadow, shading, line, texture, perspective, with secondary and tertiary colors, complimentary colors, with character development, and collage story-telling and on the list goes.
And this: Despite whatever physical limitations, Unity students have been experiencing with regard to moving freely through the world around them over these past few months, the artwork they have made is a resounding testament to their unbounded imaginations and creativity.
All of this work is borne out of the deep intelligence, beauty, humor, and resilience that each of these young emerging artists embody --- out of their unique ways of seeing and interpreting the world. All of this work demonstrates the power of these young voices and we, in turn, have them to thank for giving us such necessary inspiration right now.
Please join in this amazing celebration!