‘Summa’ Exhibition Showcases Work of Visual Arts Faculty

Eight educator-artists share work and a look at their creative process
January 7th, 2019 by 

Michael Beatty shows students his hybrid sculptures during the "Summa" art exhibition
Michael Beatty shows students his hybrid sculptures during the "Summa" art exhibition. Photo by Tom Rettig

Students gather in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
Students gather in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery. Photo by Tom Rettig

Michael Beatty explains his artwork to a group of students
Michael Beatty explains his artwork to a group of students. Photo by Tom Rettig

A group gathered in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
A group gathered in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery for the "Summa" exhibition. Photo by Tom Rettig

Scattered across a table built using the golden ratio were a series of small-scale hybrid sculptures created by Associate Professor Michael Beatty. His work, a mix of handmade and digitally printed forms, was among the artwork featured in “Summa,” an Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery fall exhibition that showcased new work by the eight artists who make up Holy Cross’ visual arts faculty: Beatty, Rachelle Beaudoin, John Carney, Matthew Gamber, Victor Pacheco, Cristi Rinklin, Susan Schmidt and Leslie Schomp.

A quick scan of the gallery revealed the scope of the faculty’s mastery, represented through media that included photography, painting, digital media and printmaking. To augment the exhibition, each artist-educator led a demonstration inviting students and the wider community into their process of creation.

“I’m interested in the intersection of art and science — the two things that I loved when I was your age in school,” Beatty shared with students gathered around his work in the gallery. His sculptures, small enough to fit in one hand and resembling organic forms, heavily incorporate elements created using 3-D printing technology. In the ideation stage, Beatty draws his forms on the computer, often starting with mathematical figures.

“I’m in awe of the way that math can become this sort of window through which we can see the world, but I also realize that our lived experience is very different from the sort of rigid rules of mathematics. We see the world and there is pain and suffering; there is wonder and awe,” Beatty explained. “In a funny way, I’m trying to use this mathematical model to look at something very different — to give ideas physical form.”

Some of Beatty’s work in “Summa” — like one 3-D sculpture that was filled in with plaster rather than left open and porous like much of his work — was created during his recent sabbatical when, he explained, he had the rare opportunity and space to experiment.

“I think it was just playing in the studio, to be honest with you,” he shared about the solid form. “I got bored one day and started filling in the thing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that kind of time to devote to the studio. And it’s amazing, for those of you who are studio art students here, the idea of playing. Have time to play, make mistakes and throw things out.”

The exhibition — held every three years — gave students and the community a rare glimpse into the creative process of the practicing visual artists who serve as educators at Holy Cross.

 

Written by Evangelia Stefanakos ’14 for the Winter 2019 issue of Holy Cross Magazine.

About Holy Cross Magazine
Holy Cross Magazine (HCM) is the quarterly alumni publication of the College of the Holy Cross. The award-winning publication is mailed to alumni and friends of the College and includes intriguing profiles, make-you-think features, alumni news, exclusive photos and more. Visit magazine.holycross.edu/about to contact HCM, submit alumni class notes, milestones, or letters to the editor.

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