Foster Art Gallery hosts ‘Color’ exhibit

Students from the art and science departments showcase their artwork

More stories from Casey Ryan

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December 13, 2017

Photo by Sam Farley

UW-Eau Claire Foster Gallery presents “Color,” an exhibit highlighting artwork between artists and scientists.

The UW-Eau Claire art and science departments kicked off the start of the new semester with their exhibition entitled “Color.”

This exhibition brings together the art and science departments with the final product of an art creation. In the gallery, visitors will be able to interact with color readers, to read the color of their hair, shirt or skin. They can also interact with color maps that read every color in the frame.

The art and science programs, now in their fourth year of collaboration, celebrate the common driving force behind the sciences and the arts, Susan O’Brien, a professor of ceramics and sculpture at UW-Eau Claire, said. In an effort to increase engagement, the program’s steering committee plans events for the science and art departments to come together.

O’Brien has multiple pieces featured in the exhibition.

“For my practice in ceramics, color is an important element,” O’Brien said. “One way to introduce color is in the application of glazes.”

In ceramics, silica, alumina and clay are used to make pieces. After the mold is created, a glaze similar to liquid glass is then applied on the surface of the pottery. O’Brien said her classroom contains various jars of different chemical powders to create glazes, although pre-mixed glazes are also available to use.

One of her current students, Milena Wiesman, a sophomore art and design student, said she has to experiment with various glazes before she chooses which one to use.

“You are able to layer and create so many different types of colors,” Wiesman said. “Each powder reacts differently with another.”

O’Brien teaches her students how to mix glazes. She shows them how to layer each glaze for a different reaction from every color used. She also uses this technique in her exhibition in the Foster Gallery.

“Included in my exhibition are tubes with the oxides used to produce the colors in both of my teapots,” O’Brien said. “The color of the raw oxide could be different once mixed and fired. Different colors can also result in using the same oxide or stain depending on the makeup of the base ingredients of the glaze.”

The gallery offers many different types of art. There is abstraction and a large coloring wall for adults and children to partake in.

Guenter Schwoerer, a sophomore chemistry student, checked out the gallery and said he enjoys the collaboration of both departments.

“This is a really neat idea to put art and science together,” Schwoerer said. “They both go along when mixing colors. I think more students should come check it out.”

In the gallery, multiple explanations describe each piece of artwork.

For a segment titled “Calendar Paintings,” the artist’s statement by Tilt Raid states, “But to an artist when we’ve said the word “red” for example, we don’t really know anything yet. Because what do we mean by it? Do we mean red like roses? Like peppers? Like rust or apples or ruby slippers or flame?”

In painting for example, one can mix an endless amount of paint to create an infinite amount of colors. The exhibition is about taking two sides of the brain and meshing them together in an interactive art exhibit.

The Foster Gallery is also hosting a few events with their exhibition of “Color.” For more information, check out the gallery’s website for full details and times of events. The gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Haas Fine Arts Center.

Casey Ryan is studying to receive a minor in art and her studies within the program aided her during the writing of this article.