Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Art Event: Department of Art and Art History SMP Show 2013

Michael Bargamian, Chance Hazelton and Amanda Schmeltz are currently exhibited in Boyden Gallery.  Seeing as they are all seniors here at St. Mary's they are showing their St. Mary's Projects as well as speaking on them.  The exhibit opened Monday, April 15th and will be open until Saturday, April 20th.

Michael Bargamian, know to many as Mikey-B, is addressing mankind's dependency on written word.  He states that "words are controlling us constantly and we often become dependent on this manipulation in order to function in our modern world".  In order for the audience to question their perception of written word Mikey-B has left the second half of sentences scrawled into his work illegible.  Because of this the viewer can never fully grasp what he has written, and instead has to ponder potential phrases and interpretations.  In my opinion this makes the piece partially the viewer's; the artistic projection and the viewer's interpretation become an interactive art piece.

I am a huge fan of Mikey as both a being and an artist.  I believe the concept and aesthetic he is aiming for is achieved and even surpassed.  The simple color palettes and somewhat messy mediums used in producing his art contrast the complex and ordered state of language.  Upon viewing the exhibit I did question what many of the pieces said and turned it over in my mind for a while.  When I found out that was the point I kind of laughed a bit; his work was definitely effective.

Overflow, Amanda Schmeltz's installation, is a site-specific installation formed from circle cutouts and painted circles.  Her aim is to express the comfort, relief and awe she experiences in relation to her Christian faith.  She hopes to have the audience "reflect upon their own sense of self in relation to their surrounding world, just as Christianity beckons [her] into a reflection about [herself] in [her] environment."  I would say that Amanda is both aesthetically and conceptually successful in her installation.  The blue circles are calming as well as overwhelming; from what I know of her efforts behind this piece her relationship with God is quite similar.  Viewing this installation was humbling because of it's size.  Personally, when anything is large enough to walk through and under I feel a greater connection due to physically interacting with the piece.

Chance Hazelton's aim is to "remind people to stop speeding through life and finding shortcuts and instead reinvigorate your relationship with the world around you."  Today we are flooded with images and symbols that are synonymous with words and phrases.  Rather than appreciating our surroundings strictly for their visual value, we speed past them and have quantitative, not qualitative, interactions.  Chance constructed three images using a variety of multi-media tools.  Her goal was to breakdown ordinary landscapes into something unfamiliar through "removing color, inducing an extreme linear perspective and including collaged reproductions of the images."  I believe Chance was successful in unfamiliarizing a landscape, causing the viewer to linger and appreciate their surroundings rather than pass them by.

Overall this exhibit was awesome to attend and it was great to see friends exhilarated by their final project.
Hopefully I will have the pleasure of viewing some of their future work.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chris Coyier: Web Designer

Chris Coyier, a web designer from Verona, Wisconsin, is the founder of the site CSS-Tricks.  In middle school he identified himself as a nerd.  The combination of his love for computers and passion for art is perfect for web design; he thinks "of design as the perfect compromise between art and computer nerdery."  Since getting into the field he has worked for multiple agencies including SurveyMonkey and Wufoo, stating that a motivating factor in his work is "encouragement from the community on all the things [he does]. That gets addictive."

Outside of web design and developing Chris enjoys playing a variety of acoustic instruments.  He is relieved to finally be at the point of competence where playing music is relaxing, and no longer frustrating.  Other than that he likes "a lot of normal people things like live music, good TV, good movies, sporting events, good food etc."

Coyier's current website, CSS-Tricks, is all about how to make functionalaesthetically pleasing websites.  CSS-Tricks includes everything from demo videos to forums and also has a gallery of web pages and digital art.  Under the snippets tab, viewers can find coding for html, CSS, htaccess, PHP. javascript, jQuery and Wordpress.  A tab that I personally consider incredibly useful is the Almanac.  It contains an A to Z list of CSS selectors and properties.  This seems like a helpful tool for individuals like myself who need to navigate the unfamiliar waters of web design.

Visually I think that Coyier's site is wonderful but I have no idea what any of the posts are about.  I assume that his goal of assisting in the design and development of web pages is being achieved, seeing as there are countless tutorials and posts that I don't understand a lick of.  The primary and secondary colors he uses throughout the site make certain areas pop and draw the eye.  The site is also easily navigable and user-friendly.  However, for someone unfamiliar with web design, the blocks of confusing text are a bit unsettling.  I think breaking posts up with images or filler color would be a nice addition.  Other than that Chris Coyier's site is quite lovely.